The nitty-gritty

May 5, 2016

Character education, which was discussed in your article “Can academics change their students’ personalities?” (News, 27 April) is not an antidote to social advantage, and Nik Miller, director of the Bridge Group, is right when he says that students from advantaged backgrounds access the opportunities to develop character education more than those for whom getting into higher education in the first place represented more of a social and financial struggle.

Universities are nevertheless an excellent place to encourage all students to take up those opportunities and to create incentives within the curriculum for them to do so. This is not about expecting academics to “teach” character. As Sir John Holman says, that’s not how it works. But we can look for ways to ensure that our teaching taps into the positive reinforcement of positive behaviours.

Few universities even consider the issue, however – as with raising soft skills and other non-academic areas of employability – we could do a lot more to develop social capital by thinking not just about what we teach, but how we teach – and also how students learn and how they engage with their whole student experience.

Johnny_Rich
Via timeshighereducation.com


Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@tesglobal.com
Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday.
View terms and conditions.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

David Parkins Christmas illustration (22 December 2016)

A Dickensian tale, set in today’s university

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

poi, circus

Kate Riegle van West had to battle to bring her circus life and her academic life together

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard