Head of Research Attends Conference at Eton College in UK

Head of Research Attends Conference at Eton College in UK

Character Education Part of Wittenborg Curriculum as Key Value

Wittenborg's Head of Research, Dr Nicolet Theunissen, recently attended an inspiring conference on character education - which is about instilling values like respect, justice and good citizenship in students. The conference took place at Eton College in England, (in)famous for educating the British elite, including 19 UK ministers as well as royals like Prince William and Prince Harry.

Theunissen said the theme of the conference - entitled "Character Education: theories, practices, processes" - tied in well the ethics taught in all Wittenborg classes as key values. The conference was organised by Eton's Tony Little Center in cooperation with BrainCanDo.

"My aim was to gain inspiration about character development for both Wittenborg and my MooierMens.app (BetterYourself.app) - a platform which helps people develop more positive behaviour." She described the conference as "a fascinating experience with room for both knowledge and networking".

"Several speakers at the conference emphasised that character education should not be a separate school subject, but should be woven through all teaching. Some call this 'split-screen teaching' some call it 'double helix', in which content and character are taught simultaneously. This fits the way Wittenborg embraces ethics as a key value in all classes."

Theunissen said she was particularly inspired by the presentation of Professor Patricia Riddell entitled "Is Learning Catching? Contagion in the Classroom". "She brought the role of the human mirror neurons to our attention. This is the part in our brain that help us to mirror behaviour of fellow human beings.

"Riddell explained that these mirror neurons cause the contagion of someone else's emotions or attitude. We all know that the enthusiastic, motivated teacher also enthuses the student. But it also works the other way around. So, if you as a student want to have enthusiastic teachers, show some enthusiasm yourself!

"I also enjoyed the presentations of Dr Kathy Weston about how to improve resilience in children by engaging the parents too, and that of Dominic Randolph about how we can help students to journey with purpose and live flourishing lives. Finally, I bought a book called 'Character Toolkit for Teachers' authored by Frederika Roberts and Elizabeth Wright, which I enjoyed reading during my train (not plane) trip back to Apeldoorn."

WUP 4/12/2019
by Anesca Smith
©WUAS Press