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Character, Culture and Values Summary

Written by  Tuesday, 23 June 2015 15:28

On Monday 15th - Tuesday 16th June, 2015, Character Scotland welcomed over 200 delegates to the University of Glasgow to discuss ‘Character, Culture and Values’, the first event of its kind in Scotland, designed to explore and build on the continuing global shift towards character and values-based education.

 

Day 1 saw a packed Bute Hall witness the inspirational Dr Avis Glaze deliver her keynote ‘Character Education: Lessons from around the World’. Avis is one of Canada’s outstanding educators and a recognized international leader in education. It was also a special visit personally for Avis, whose ties with Scotland remained strong after receiving the Robert Owen Award - the first of its kind offered in Scotland - from Mr. Michael Russel MSP in 2013.


A few key topics covered in Avis’s keynote were the educational needs of the ‘Net Generation’, what character education looks like in schools, the workplace and in communities and how to develop a ‘community of character’. We would warmly encourage you to view Avis’s keynote presentation in the video section of the conference page – you won’t be disappointed!


Breakout seminars on Day 1 included ‘Education (re) design’ which discussed the purposes of education and included a short visit from Cabinet Secretary for Education & Lifelong Learning Angela Constance; ‘Learning to be Human’ which explored John MacMurray’s philosophical and educational ideas and ‘Skills, Work & Enterprise’ which discussed the role of attributes and attitudes in aiding young peoples’ transitions into employment and enterprise. These sessions were only a snippet of what was on offer at the conference on Day 1 with 15 sessions taking place in 5 different breakout rooms throughout the day.


The second keynote on Day 1 was delivered by the Bishopbriggs Community Ambassadors and Professor Kay Livingston - Professor in Educational Research, Policy and Practice in the University of Glasgow. The Bishopbriggs Community Ambassadors formed their group to help benefit their local community and get other young people involved in volunteering. They shared with delegates their journey as Community Ambassadors - which has seen them receive a Diana Award and be nominated as #iwill ambassadors for the Step Up To Serve campaign - in their keynote ‘Character, Values and Youth’.


The first day of the conference concluded with a dinner in the Kelvin Gallery which started off in high spirits as delegates were ‘piped’ from the Hunter Hall by a Royal Conservatoire of Scotland piper. The conference ‘resident poet’, Caren Gilbert, recited her reflective poem from Day 1 before author and former youth worker, Kerry Young delivered the after dinner speech, including passages from her books ‘Pao’ and 'Gloria'.


The second day of the conference welcomed Professor Marvin Berkowitz - S.N.McDonnell Professor of Character Education at the University of Missouri – St.Louis - to the Bute Hall to deliver his keynote ‘The ‘Science’ of Character Education’. Marvin covered the ‘PRIME’ model of character education during his keynote:


• Prioritizing character education
• Relationships
• Intrinsic motivation
• Modeling
• Empowerment


Marvin’s PowerPoint presentation and recorded keynote can be found in the relative tabs on the conference page.


A further 9 breakout seminars took place on Day 2. Character Scotland Executive Officer, Gary Walsh facilitated the session ‘Character Education in Scotland: Why, How and So What?’ which addressed the questions: why focus explicitly on character education, how do we do it and ‘so what’ if we do? Conference sponsors SQA delivered their session ‘Assessment of Character? Why Not!’ on Day 2 which opened discussion surrounding how we might assess and acknowledge character, and why this might be important.


The final keynote of the conference, ‘Social Buisnesses: Where Business and Enterprise Meet Character and Values’, was delivered by one of Scotland’s leading young Social Entrepreneurs, Josh Littlejohn. Josh founded the social enterprise ‘Social Bite’ and ‘The Scottish Business Awards’ which has raised circa £1 Million for charity in three years. Josh shared with delegates the motivation behind his start-ups and tips on how to get the likes of President Bill Clinton and Sir Richard Branson to speak at your event!


The conference concluded with an Open Space session which gave delegates the opportunity to explore their own chosen topics by creating and managing their own agenda.


The team at Character Scotland would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to all of the delegates, contributors, keynote speakers, volunteers and the CVSO team at the University of Glasgow who helped ensure the success of ‘Character, Culture and Values’. We were very fortunate to have a strong contingent of young people involved in the conference, thank you to all who helped allow this to happen. There are of course too many individuals to list in this short article so a BIG thank you to ALL involved!


A special note of thanks must also go out to the John Templeton Foundation whose generous grant helped make this event possible and our sponsors the Scottish Qualifications Authority. We also acknowledge our conference partners for their advice and support; CBI ScotlandEducation Scotland, the General Teaching Council for Scotland, the Improvement ServiceInvestors in People, the Jubilee Centre for Character and VirtuesKeep Scotland Beautiful, the Scottish Government, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, the Scottish Youth Parliament and the University of Glasgow.


We encourage you to view the keynote videos, presentations, and photos from the event on our post conference pages. We would also really appreciate it if you were able to complete the conference evaluation located in the feedback tab on the conference page. Please stay in touch! You can follow us on twitter, like us on Facebook or contact the team via email.

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