Here at embrace virtues we see the opportunity to create a community that shares in the diversity and wisdom available in the world.
Below are some of our favourite short quotes that capture ideas we can all learn from.
“We have to think and see how we can fundamentally change our education system so that we can train people to develop warm-heartedness early on in order to create a healthier society. I don’t mean we need to change the whole system, just improve it. We need to encourage an understanding that inner peace comes from relying on human values like, love, compassion, tolerance and honesty, and that peace in the world relies on individuals finding inner peace.”
Dr Arini Beaumaris
Research has established clear links between academic excellence and values or character education, which helps to develop our innate qualities or virtues. The foundation to moral behaviour, fundamental to learning to live harmoniously together, is developed in early childhood in fact from birth.
Traditionally the responsibility of developing character strengths or virtues has rested with family and religion, which continues to lose its influence. Developing capabilities to learn to live peacefully and harmoniously together therefore, need to become re-integrated into day-to-day family life and educational practices.
Brain compatible learning has identified that we learn how to become virtuous in the same way we learn to read. We create maps on the front part of the brain of actions we see or personally experience.
Our current behaviour management methods of punishment and consequences only serve to reinforce inappropriate behaviour. Do we use these methods to teach a child to read? My doctorial findings (Beaumaris, 2010) suggest that evoking feelings of guilt and shame are insufficient to move a person towards virtuous action.
This notion has profound implications for how we manage teachable moments of inappropriate behaviour. Whereas, it is the acquisition of the virtuous behaviour itself, that will help to overcome the inappropriate behaviour. Can you think of any inappropriate behaviour that could not be rectified by the development of its opposite behaviour in the form of a virtue? To demonstrate this point if a child who is aggressive develops their capacity for gentleness and kindness they no longer show aggressive behaviour.
We learn most effectively when the virtuous action is named when it occurs naturally in children’s day to day actions. This can start from birth, for example, “You were so patient when I changed your nappy.” When our appropriate actions are recognized and named we feel joyful. To some degree we have lost the use of the language of the virtues so we need to understand the different virtues and how in the early years they can be named, reinforced and learned.
This will become a valuable tool to demonstrate your love and nurturance so necessary for encouraging virtuous behaviour and the fostering of healthy development and the well being of children.
Dr Arini Beaumaris is an international consultant, educational leader, and trainer and facilitator for the growth and development of human capacities. She has managed educational institutions from pre-school to secondary school and higher education colleges. Her Doctoral studies focused on the topic “From moral judgment to moral action – implications for education’.
Michel de Montaigne
The renowned 16th century French philosopher, Montaigne said this of the education system of his time – and things haven’t changed that much today:
“I gladly come back to the theme of the absurdity of our education: its end has not been to make us good and wise, but l earned. And it has succeeded. It has not taught us to seek virtue and to embrace wisdom: it has impressed upon us their derivation and their etymology…..
We readily inquire, ‘Does he know Greek or Latin?’ Can he write poetry and prose:’ But what matters most is what we put last: ‘Has he become better and wiser?’ We ought to find out not who understands most but who understands best. We work merely to fill the memory, leaving the understanding and the sense of right and wrong empty.”
Michel de Montaigne