Seven Strategies for Character Development

Education

This article seeks to offer guidance for educators who aspire to develop character education programs in their institutional contexts. It provides both a theoretical framework and practical examples from a case study of the Oxford Global Leadership Initiative.

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Abstract:

Despite renewed academic interest in virtue ethics and character education, institutions of higher education have largely neglected the character education of university students. This article seeks to make two contributions to the theory and practice of character education within the university, with a particular focus on postgraduate students. First, it provides an accessible synthesis of recent research in philosophy, psychology, and education to advance an Aristotelian model of character education and identify seven strategies of character development: 1) habituation through practice, 2) reflection on personal experience, 3) engagement with virtuous exemplars, 4) dialogue that increases virtue literacy, 5) awareness of situational variables, 6) moral reminders, and 7) friendships of mutual accountability. Second, in the discussion of each strategy, it supplies examples from a case study of the Oxford Global Leadership Initiative to show how the strategy can be integrated into a research-based, practical program for postgraduate character development. By providing both a theoretical framework and practical examples, this article seeks to offer guidance for educators who aspire to develop character education programs in their institutional contexts.

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