Month: April 2015

Schools, Character and Justice

Schools cannot teach character while we perpetuate injustice. I’ve just read some fab posts on teaching character: Summer Turner’s nuanced piece challenging the view that character is superior to knowledge in ‘real life’ and Heather Fearn’s observation that doing the right thing doesn’t necessarily make one successful. This post on Drowning in the Shallow by @ImSporticus on The Fountain of Character contained a link to this powerful interview with Anthony Ray Hinton (from 2:10:35). Hinton showed unrelenting hope in the face of gross injustice. This set me thinking about inequality in schools, and how institutions tend to insulate themselves from reality rather than face up to the impact of their practices, especially on those with the least power. And that led me to ponder on the character of schools. You see, I’m in the business of showing schools how to teach kids to read. Kids who’ve been let down by ‘the system’ and have arrived at secondary school with very poor literacy, and often poor numeracy. I think that our character is often demonstrated by how we treat those who, seemingly, have nothing to offer. …