Mark Pike has received £1.1M from The John Templeton Foundation for the ‘Narnia Virtues Character Education’ project

The Narnian Virtues Character Education curriculum project is generously funded by £1.1M from the John Templeton Foundation.

The Project Investigator is Professor Mark Pike, Professor of Education at the University of Leeds, in collaboration with Co-Investigator Professor Thomas Lickona, founding Director of the Center for the 4th and 5th Rs (Respect and Responsibility) at the State University of New York at Cortland. Dr Peter Hart and Dr Shirley-Anne Paul are the Research Fellows on the project, and Dr Paula Clarke and Dr Matt Homer are co-leading the quantitative analyses.

Following previous work on delivering character education in schools through a dedicated literary curriculum, by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham, the Knightly Virtues, the Narnian Virtues Character Education project looks to the work of C. S. Lewis in developing curricula based on the Narnia novels.

Universal virtues (such as wisdom, love, and gratitude) exemplified in C. S. Lewis Narnia novels, offer common ethical ground to the schools of increasingly pluralistic societies. The project investigates how students within a crucial formative period (ages 11-13), understand and acquire the virtues underpinning good character through their engagement with the Narnian Virtues Character Education curriculum, based on three Narnia novels. The research questions addressed are:

  • Can students identify and understand virtues and their integral relation to good character? Can these be discerned by participating students through engagement with, and response to, one of three Narnia novels by C. S. Lewis?
  • How do teachers who teach the Narnian Virtues curriculum change in their approach to teaching literature?
  • Do students cultivate a personal ethical response to the novel and the virtues therein, and apply those virtues to their own lives?

Further information about the project can be accessed online at the Narnian Virtues Character Education Research Project website.