Contact FutureLearn for Support Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.
Online course

What is Character? Virtue Ethics in Education

Explore important questions about character education and how it contributes to individual and societal flourishing.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

What is Character? Virtue Ethics in Education

?

Why join the course?

Character education is increasingly being talked about by politicians, employers, teachers, parents and young people across the world. Can teaching virtues such as honesty, self-control, fairness, resilience and respect - which contribute to good character - be part of the solution to many of the challenges facing society today?

This free online course offers you the opportunity to understand virtues and the role they play in helping both individuals and society flourish. We will tap into this increasing interest and answer important questions such as what is character and character education, why is it important and can it be taught? For those interested in extending their learning it will also provide a taster course for an exciting new MA in Character Education currently being developed by the University of Birmingham.

Learn with academic experts and practising teachers

We will draw on the insights of academics from the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues within the School of Education at the University of Birmingham. These leading experts in the fields of character education and virtue ethics will help you explore the theoretical and philosophical basis for character education, including a background to virtue ethics.

You’ll also meet teachers and head teachers with first-hand experience of the transformative power of implementing character education in day-to-day practices within a school. They’ll discuss how character might be taught in a conscious, planned and reflective way, enabling you to gain practical knowledge on taking character education into educational settings.

You can learn according to your interests and at your convenience. Each week has been divided into activities which can be completed together or individually:

Week 1: An Introduction to Character Education

Week 2: Character Education in Practice

  • How can character be ‘caught’ in schools? (Gary Walsh, Head Teacher)

  • Why should character be taught in schools? (Dan Wright, Teaching Fellow)

You can also explore each area in as much depth as you wish, with further reading materials available to those who want to learn more about particular aspects of the course.

You can find out more about what to expect from this course in a guest post from a religious studies and wellbeing teacher, Matthew Bawden, on the FutureLearn blog: “Everyone’s talking about character education, but what does it really mean for teachers?

Download video: standard or HD

What topics will you cover?

Week 1: An Introduction to Character Education

  • What is character education and why does it matter?
  • What is the philosophical basis for character education and what virtues constitute good character?

Week 2: Character Education in Practice

  • How can character be ‘caught’ in schools?
  • Why should character be taught in schools?

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Develop an understanding of what character education is and and how it can be the basis of individual and societal flourishing
  • Evaluate the philosophical basis for character education
  • Identify and define the virtues that constitute good character
  • Demonstrate the ability to distinguish between how character can be both caught and taught in educational settings
  • Apply and implement key approaches to developing character in young people
  • Discuss the implications of what you have learned during this course in relation to your own environment and/or current affairs

Who is the course for?

This course will help you understand character, character education, virtue ethics and the role they play in both individual and societal flourishing.

It will be of particular interest to those who wish to explore how the development of character in young people can be applied in educational settings.

No prior knowledge of the subject area is required. This course has relevance across the world.

Who will you learn with?

Dr Tom Harrison

Director of Education : Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues
Programme Director : MA Character Education

Who developed the course?

The University of Birmingham is a public research university, consistently listed as a leading UK university and ranked among the top 100 in the world.

The Jubilee Centre, part of the University of Birmingham, is a pioneering interdisciplinary research centre focussing on character, virtues and values in the interest of human flourishing.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $69 you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

Image access mobile

  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

Image certificate mobile

  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your LinkedIn or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete.

Upgrade


Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs