The OED defines character as ‘the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual’. For sure, some of these qualities we’re born with but we know from neuroscience that character is also something we can grow. There’s evidence to show that by teaching children how to collaborate, adapt, be curious and creative; to show initiative, persistence, flexibility and good judgement, etc, we are equipping them to learn and be successful in life. We’re also increasing their chances of social, emotional and physical wellbeing.
This Pocketbook focuses on intellectual character. It starts with attitudes, approaches, events and activities that create a ‘character culture’ in classrooms and schools. It suggests ways of incorporating character education into lessons: planning, framing and setting tasks that target specific dispositions. Grit – the desire and ability to persevere; rising to a challenge and showing stamina and persistence – has a chapter of its own. So does resilience: the magic ingredient that helps us cope with adversity, disappointment, shock and failure. The author concludes with how to reflect on, evaluate and celebrate personal and intellectual development.
C J Simister (National Association of Gifted Children’s ‘Inspiring Person of the Year’, 2011) has almost 20 years’ teaching experience. She regularly speaks at international conferences and works with schools around the world, advising on helping young people to develop the intellectual qualities and skills needed to thrive and succeed in school and beyond.