Maturing in Education through the Virtues

ECTS Value: 5 ECTS


Overall Objectives and Outcomes

An approach in moral philosophy that looks at moral character and virtues as the key element of morality. Originating in the ancient works of the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle, Virtue Ethics emphasizes the importance of developing a character -based ethical system. According to Aristotle, good moral character is produced “through the habitual performance of right acts until the power of doing them freely and willingly becomes second nature ” . This module provides activities that allow participants to develop insights into the ethical approach commonly called virtue ethics. Virtue ethics is currently one of three major approaches in normative ethics. It may, initially, be identified as the one that emphasizes the virtues, or moral character, in contrast to the approach that emphasizes duties or rules (deontology) or that emphasizes the consequences of actions (consequentialism). Other definitions covered in this module include Value Theory and Virtue Theory and the difference among Value Theory, Virtue Theory, Utilitarianism and Deontology. 

This module also analyses one of the subject foci – Maturing In Education Through the Virtues and how this is intertwined throughout the Religious Education textbooks used as a resource during RE lessons. This module helps participants understand how virtues are universal and are recognized by people of all cultures. They are necessary for a child’s well -being and happiness. Once they are learned, they will last the child a lifetime. They will recognise how virtues help build a child’s character and inspire others around them to be better people.

By the end of this programme, participants should be able to:


a. Demonstrate the difference between Value and virtue;
b. Apply the Virtue theory in context;
c. Demonstrate the introduction of virtue content knowledge and understanding through the use of Descriptions and explanations, supported by relevant facts and examples;
d. Investigate the variety of human culture and demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which cultures have changed;
e. Design and employ a wide range of humanistic, qualitative, quantitative, theoretical, or philosophical methods for recording and explaining human experience;
f. Demonstrate a knowledge of a range of readings on the subject studied;
g. Demonstrate an ability to gather and analyse information subject studied;
h. Identify and assess their own and others’ values; identify the underlying premises in their own and others’ arguments;
i. Show an understanding of the interdependence of societies.


a. Recall theological and philosophical knowledge, and understanding the concept of virtues;
b. Define what virtue ethics is and how it can be the basis of individual and societal flourishing;
c. Describe the philosophical basis for character education;
d. Identify and reflect upon the biblical and traditional sources of Christian thinking on virtues;
e. Identify and define the virtues that constitute good character;
f. Describe the ability to distinguish between how character can be both caught and taught in educational settings;
g. Draw key approaches to developing virtues in young people.


a. Identify the source and function of virtue ethics;
b. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of virtues, and social responsibility for the self and for contemporary society;
c. Demonstrate an understanding of virtues in education from a curricular perspective based on a theological perspective;
d. Devise and organise learning activities to solicit virtues awareness in pupils and as a construct for ethos in school;
e. Practise with tools and techniques of self-assessment of virtues for autonomous evaluation of pupil’s development and thinking.g tools and equipment;
n. Keep a digital inventory of tools and/or equipment and/or consumables.


Mode of Delivery

This module adopts a blended approach to teaching and learning. Information related to the structure and delivery of the module may be accessed through the IfE Portal. For further details, kindly refer to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy and Procedures found on the Institute for Education’s website.

Assessment Methods

This programme adopts continuous and summative methods of assessment including assignments, online tasks, reflective journals, projects and video presentations. For further details, kindly refer to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy and Procedures.

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List
1. Casebeer, W. D. (2003). Natural ethical facts: evolution, connectionism, and moral cognition. Cambridge, MA:MIT.
2. Casebeer, W. D. & Churchland, P. S. (2003). The neural mechanisms of moral cognition: A multiple -aspect approach to moral judgment and decision -making. Biology and Philosophy.
3. Churchland, P. M. (1996). The engine of reason, the seat of the soul: A philosophical journey into the brain. Cambridge, MA: MIT.
4. Dahlsgaard, K., Peterson, C., & Seligman, M.E.P. (2005). Shared virtue: The convergence of valued human strengths across culture and history. Review of General Psychology.
5. Darwin, C. (1872). The descent of man and selection in relation to sex. New York: D. Appleton and Associates.
6. Fiske, A. P. (1991). Structures of social life. New York: Free Press.
7. Fiske, A. P. (1992). Four elementary forms of sociality: Framework for a unified theory of social relations. Psychological Review.
8. Fiske, A. P. (2004). Relational Models Theory 2.0. In N. Haslam (Ed.), Relational models theory: A contemporary overview (pp. 3–25). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
9. Flanagan, O. (1991). Varieties of moral personality: Ethics and psychological realism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 10. Flanagan, O. (2000). Destructive emotions. Consciousness and Emotion.
10. Haidt, J., & Joseph, C. (2004). Intuitive ethics: how innately prepared intuitions generate culturally variable virtues. Daedalus.
11. Haidt, J., & Joseph, C. (2007). The moral mind.
12. Hauser, M. (2006). Moral minds: How nature designed our universal sense of right and wrong. New York: Harper Collins.
13. 14. Johnson, M. (2003). Moral imagination: Implications of cognitive science for ethics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press 

Supplementary Reading List
1. Hoffman, E. (1988). The right to be human: A biography of Abraham Maslow. Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc.
2. Maslow, A. H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review.
3. Maslow, A. H. (1962). Toward a Psychology of being. Princeton: D. Van Nostrand Company.
4. Maslow, A. H. (1970b). Religions, values, and peak experiences. New York: Penguin.
5. Maslow, A. H. (1987). Motivation and personality (3rd ed.). Delhi, India: Pearson Education.
6. Tay, L., & Diener, E. (2011). Needs and subjective well -being around the world. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
7. Wulff, D. M., & Maslow, A. H. (1965). Religions, Values, and Peak -Experiences. The Journal of Higher Education.

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