Mindfulness

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  1. Patrick Watson
  2. EdResearch
  3. Monday, 09 May 2016
Developing soft skills, support for character development and applying mindfulness techniques - to relieve stress for students and teachers - are all on the agenda now, but where are the publications and research that afford most practical support for classroom teachers. Can you highlight the best?

Is 'Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world' (Williams and Penman), useful, for example? What about the work of the Jubilee Centre at Birmingham University - is it delivering useful resources for teachers on character and virtues?
p_turner
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Morning Patrick. I've been following the whole character education aspect for about 16 months now. I find it fascinating. However my focus around it is linked to the post 16 side of education and indeed life.

We have a general perceived culture in this country that centres around disposability (as in if you don't need it get rid of it - anything from technology to food) and "infobesity" (becoming too bloated on data and information so having a detrimental effect on education, work and life in general). From most accounts character education seems to begin and end at school. I disagree - I believe it's an important, or even critical, element for life and work beyond school. Gone are the days of jobs for life. We all have to handle a range of good and bad days, motivations and setbacks throughout our career, which may change over 10 times in a lifetime.

I believe character education is lifelong and comes from many sources - peers, colleagues, mentors, managers, friends and ourselves. We all have a responsibility to improve ourselves in a number of ways but we need a "glue" to keep that together and that's character. The ability to motivate yourself and others; the ability to handle success and failure; the resolve to keep working on something even if at times it seems hopeless.

I love the profile raising that character education has been enjoying - it's been too long since we looked at things like winning isn't everything, sometimes finishing is the important part. That sometimes others need more help that we do to make it through a day. This shouldn't end when young people pass through the school gates at 4pm, not left on the coat peg to be picked up again the next day.

I'm currently investigating how character can be embedded into Apprenticeships, especially the new standards where we have to look at behaviours alongside skills and knowledge. I'm using the work carried out by Demos and the Jubilee Centre as a basis for this. I'm also, like you, awaiting more research and resources to support this. A quick internet search has thrown up this link from America - http://www.goodcharacter.com/. Is this what we want? I don't know - does it work with the "English" way of doing things? Is it too commercial? Whatever we need to embrace this from school to work to career to life itself. Perhaps it's up to people like us to create, or even be, the resource. Only time will tell.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. EdResearch
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Patrick Watson
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Couldn't agree more with the the fact that it's a lifelong process. With Apprenticeships gaining in importance and with a drive to improve their quality, your work to embed character seems very important. Employers are crying out for more developed soft skills in their workers and universities seem to be falling short on this as well. Interesting in this respect that the University of Buckingham is thinking of making a character focused module compulsory.

The Jubliee Centre is trying to give teachers support through this resource (below), and it will be interesting to see what teachers think of it:
http://www.jubileecentre.ac.uk/1676/character-education/resources/teaching-character-through-subjects
  1. more than a month ago
  2. EdResearch
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