IBSC Pillars of Character in Boys’ Schools Conference

27 – 28 January 2017

Montgomery Bell Academy, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Conference Program

This unique professional development opportunity exploring character development will explore the areas of teaching, coaching, advising, and mentoring in boys’ schools. Hosted by Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, the IBSC Pillars of Character in Boys’ Schools Conference features a diverse array of speakers. From Pulitzer Prize Winner and New York Times best-selling author Jon Meacham, to Cy Young Winner R.A. Dickey, to country music songwriters Tom Douglas and Mike Reid, these experts in their field offer valuable insight into cultivating character. Plus, engage collaborative breakout sessions with facilitated discussion of the most relevant and effective character development methods in boys’ schools

Breakout Sessions

Breakout Session #1: What Do We Mean by 'Character'?

Tony Little, former Head Master of Eton College, recounts an anecdote in his latest book that he uses to teach the varying purposes of education. When the government of Virginia offered the chiefs of six Native American Nations the chance to send their sons to the College of William & Mary for their education in 1744, the Native American spokesperson politely declined: "[Y]ou will not therefore take it amiss, if our ideas of this kind of education happen not to be the same with yours. We have some experience of it; several of our young people were formerly brought up at the colleges of the Northern Provinces; they were instructed in all your sciences; but, when they came back to us, they were bad runners, ignorant of every means of living in the woods, unable to bear either cold or hunger...; they were totally good for nothing" (Little, An Intelligent Person's Guide to Education, 11–12).

Before we can begin to develop a language of character and the programming of its development in our boys, we must first discuss its vocabulary. What does "character" mean in your schools? Do your students, faculty, alumni, parents, and board have different definitions? How do you navigate these differences? Is the concept of character too abstract to pin down with a set of words or to quantify? Is a list of characteristics more helpful in defining character than leaving the ideal as an open-ended goal?

Breakout Session #2: Getting Everyone On Board with Character

How does your school communicate character programming to its faculty and staff? How does your school get its employees "on board" with character education? Beyond the roles of teacher and coach, how does your school help its faculty and staff serve as advisors and mentors? How does your school make character education, or the formation of the "whole boy," a priority among competing responsibilities for its faculty and staff?