Lessons in character are ‘just as important’ as academic grades

gritblogphoto 201214Following her recent announcement that ex-soldiers will help build pupils’ character, Nicky Morgan has announced that results are no more important than their ‘grit and resilience’. 

The government wants lessons to build pupils’ ‘character’ to be put on a par with academic subjects, to ensure that pupils are prepared for life, the Telegraph reports.

Schools and community organisation in England will be able to bid for a share of £3.5 million to provide classes and extra-curricular activities that build ‘grit’ and ‘resilience’ in schoolchildren. There will be lessons in self-control and humour, rewards for pupils who reach goals through hard work, plus military drills and assault courses run by ex-servicemen.

The DfE insisted that the fund is “designed to place character education on a par with academic learning for pupils across the country”. It is investing a further £1 million in research into the “most effective ways that character can be taught”.

Traditionalists will be alarmed at what may be seen as a downgrading of traditional academic subjects in favour of a focus on skills, but Mrs Morgan described the scheme as a milestone: “Excellent teachers already produce well-rounded pupils and today’s news will give more schools the support, inspiration and resources to go even further,” she said. “The move is a landmark step for our education system. It will cement our position as a global leader in teaching character and resilience and will send a clear signal that our young people are being better prepared than ever before to lead tomorrow’s Britain.”

Can ‘character’ be taught? Should lessons about building it be as important as academic subjects?

2 thoughts on “Lessons in character are ‘just as important’ as academic grades

  1. Why is it that character (self-discipline, stoicism and initiative) was never taught in British schools before, or has it always been there taking into consideration two world wars, conscription and a much less materialistic society before 1970 thus a need never arose. If we take the average school today there seems to be an over protective atmosphere prevailing, obsessive health and safety regulations,fear of failure, too much emphasis on emotions/inclusion, lack of competition, celebrity infused culture, aversion to risk underpinned by political correctness.

    I am afraid times have changed for the worse even though there have been improvements along the way but due to a culture where everything is on demand, dumbing down is everywhere most children seem to have been diagnosed with some form of educational disability and failure is apparently non-existent then what hope is there? Is it any wonder when children wear shoes with velcro fasteners, ties that can be clipped on to a collar, cannot walk properly and seem to be allergic to everything from vegetables to red ink, that they lack character. Parents today in general tend to follow the latest fad or book rather than listen to their own parents in relation to child rearing which is half the problem. As the saying goes charity stars at home…

  2. Character ? Who’s character ? What kind of character ? A Tory Character..or perhaps later , a Labour character ?
    Poor kids ..they can’t just get taught but they need their brains ‘fixed’ too !

    Character begins at home and then is moulded by life chances, is it not ? Teachers of course have an impact on a child’s character for better or for worse, as does every other adult but I don’t think unemployed soldiers are necessarily the pinnacle of virtue as Ms Morgan seems to be implying !

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