RECOGNISING CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT IN OUR LEARNING AUTOBIOGRAPHIES
University of Sunderland (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The aim of this paper is to present the analysis of video autobiographical accounts of future educators about their educational experiences in order to identify instances of character development. Emerging themes can inform the development of teacher education programmes towards the deliberative cultivation of these qualities for our future teachers. This paper presents the analysis of 50 video autobiographies from students in their first year of an undergraduate Education Studies programme. The students are aspiring future educators and the aim of the video autobiography is to encourage reflection on their experience of education and to illuminate the elements that have inspired them to want to pursue a career in education.
A grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin 1998) approach was adopted to draw out themes emerging from the autobiographies. The analysis showed that qualities of character (Carr 2007), demonstrated to them by their teachers was significantly influential in their success at school and their motivation to enter the profession. With many autobiographies noting “that is the kind of teacher I want to be”.
Recent publications in the UK, such as the APPG for Social Mobility (2014) and the Carter Review of Teacher Education (2015) have noted that character should be taught in schools and that this may require an increase in its focus within teacher education. The deliberate cultivation of ‘qualities of character’ as described by Carr (2007) has also advocated by many authors (Goodlad et al 1991; Sockett 1993, Campbell 2003/2013, Sanger 2008, Mahoney 2009, Sanger & Osguthorpe 2013). Their views stress the importance for the profession, not only to make a contribution to the development of character in their learners but to be aware of both the implicit and explicit ways that this may happen. This paper comes from the premise that virtues and character can be taught and that it can and does happen, often implicitly through the character of the teacher. It presents an argument for the deliberate cultivation of character within teacher education to raise awareness of this as professional expertise. It also makes recommendations about what this might look like in the teacher education curriculum.
Keywords: Teacher Education, Autobiographies, Qualities of Character.