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 3 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

Most Commented

Laurel and Hardy sawing a plank of wood

Working with other academics can be tricky so follow some key rules, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford will host a homeopathy conference next month

Charity says Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford is ‘naive’ to hire out its premises for event

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations