INVITATION TO JOIN AN EXCITING CHARACTER EDUCATION PROJECT
We are writing to invite your school to participate in an exciting international character education research project. The aim is to determine whether study of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia novels can improve students’ understanding and application of core virtues.
The curriculum uses three novels from the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’. It is aimed at 11-13 year olds, but can be used with students of any age. It is intended for implementation in three consecutive years. Each stage of the curriculum is 12 weeks long, based on two hours per week class time. Students complete an online survey at the start and end of each 12 week stage to enable us to assess the impact of the programme.
The curriculum focuses on six major virtues: wisdom, love, integrity, self-control, fortitude and justice. Designed to be delivered through English lessons but adaptable to other contexts, it has a strong focus on key GCSE English skills, alongside the character development work. Students learn about the virtues through textual analysis, and then apply what they have learnt about the virtue to their own lives. They also complete home activities with their parents—including a personal V.I.P. (Virtue Improvement Plan)—that helps them put their self-chosen target virtues into practice in family life as well as at school.
Participating schools will receive free PDF documents containing the teacher handbooks, student curriculum materials, and the home activities, as well as updates and ideas via email and social media. The work of the project will be reported in a series of journal articles and three books; all participating schools will be recognised and thanked. Below is a link to a 2016 issue of excellence & ethics that gives a snapshot of the project (with 12 virtues, later consolidated into 6) and some of our early findings.
How to get involved
The project is funded by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The curriculum has been developed by the University of Leeds, in collaboration with State University of New York (SUNY) Cortland.