Character Education in Schools for Boys

In June 2016, the IBSC Board of Directors approved Character Education in Schools for Boys, a research project that will culminate in a wide-ranging report to the IBSC membership. This initiative is the latest in a series of major research projects on boys’ education commissioned by the IBSC since 2009.

Precisely 47 IBSC member schools joined this two-year project, which started in September 2016, and concludes in June 2018. The schools span nine countries, and include both public and private schools of every size. The IBSC has contracted with CIRCLE — the Centre for Innovation, Research, Creativity, and Leadership in Education to conduct this in-depth research. Based in Sydney, Australia, CIRCLE is an executive agency in education that connects to 1,700 schools and organizations primarily in Australia, New Zealand, and the Asia-Pacific region, and globally through publications, workshops, conferences, consulting, and research services.

At the conclusion of this project in June 2018, the IBSC will share the cutting-edge research and insightful ideas with members in a special report.

Project Focus

Always central to the mission at boys’ schools, character education has gained new urgency in recent years. Learning how to navigate change and complexity with a strong moral compass, building character strengths such as perseverance and grit, and understanding one’s self and purpose for others are fundamental for boys’ well-being as they make the journey to manhood. In truth, however, most schools struggle with this vital work — even those that claim to do a good job at it. It proves inherently difficult to define precisely what “character education” actually is, and what processes, programs, and practices impact character development.

Character Education in Schools for Boys investigates effective practices in boys’ character education. The project utilizes a well-researched framework for schools to evaluate current practices, processes, and programs in character education; sharpen strategy and planning for character education; develop meaningful and authentic outcomes; create standards for accountability, reporting, and professional learning; and communicate this focus and consensus to the wider school community. Respectful of individual school culture and tradition, this framework for character education serves boys’ schools better than prescriptive models espoused by specialist organizations and agencies in character education.

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