The Character Conundrum
How to Develop Confidence, Independence and Resilience in the Classroom
The Character Conundrum is a practical guide for developing confidence, independence and resilience in primary and secondary classrooms. Tackling the hotly-contested question of what role schools can play in developing ‘character', the book untangles the big debates in this area and outlines how teachers can support their pupils to develop the skills and mindsets that will help them to thrive academically.
Based on a combination of ground-level investigations and academic research, the book offers a simple, evidence-based approach that can be implemented at every level of school life. The key to this approach is being deliberate and consistent: knowing which mindsets, skills and habits you’re trying to develop, and planning the details of your classroom culture, relationships, routines and instruction so that they align and combine to address your aims. When you do this, the author contends, seemingly minor changes to your practice can have a major effect on pupils. The book contains a step-by-step guide to bringing this approach to life in your classroom, including a framework of pupil outcomes, a flowchart of teacher actions, classroom case studies and a wealth of tried-and-tested strategies from primary and secondary schools across the UK.
A lack of confidence, independence and resilience is a major barrier to learning for many pupils and dilutes other efforts that schools make to support them. The Character Conundrum argues that teachers can help pupils develop these characteristics in any school context and illustrates how they can do so within and through their day to day teaching. Written with passion and clarity, it will be essential reading for primary and secondary teachers, as well as policy makers with an interest in ‘character’, grit and resilience, and any education professionals committed to giving students greater ownership of their learning and setting them up to succeed.
Table of Contents
Introduction This book in a page 1. Our aims for pupils 2. Developing confidence, independence and resilience in the classroom 3. Case Study: Year 2 4. Case Study: Year 9 French 5. Knowing where you’re going 6. Creating the right conditions 7. Building new habits 8. Learning from other phases 9. Exploring the evidence Conclusion
Matt Lloyd-Rose is a social researcher, NGO leader and writer. Matt worked as a classroom teacher before becoming Associate Director for Knowledge Development at Teach First, UK, where he led a research team investigating how schools can address educational inequality.
"Confidence, independence and resilience are among the core dispositions that students not only bring into the classroom but, as this book demonstrates, can be taught. Here’s how." John Hattie, Professor and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute, University of Melbourne, Australia
"Character education has proved a very tricky issue for schools. It’s hard to define and even harder to turn into something of value in the classroom; even the terminology is unhelpful. In this incredibly valuable book Matt Lloyd-Rose manages to provide a clear and readable synthesis of the current state of research and a set of practical recommendations that teachers can use day to day. A must read for anyone working in schools." Sam Freedman, Executive Director for Participant Impact and Delivery at TeachFirst
"Matt is an insightful thinker and he has produced an insightful book. He has been working on character since before it was fashionable and there is much to take from the book for teachers and school leaders." Ed Vainker, Principal Reach Academy Feltham
"Matt Lloyd-Rose has written a compelling and accessible book about the importance of creating an ambitious, nurturing classroom culture. He provides detailed insight into the strategies taken by a range of teachers determined to build their pupils' positive energy for learning. This book will inspire teachers and give practical advice about how to create a culture of opportunity for every pupil, where learning has no limits." Dame Alison Peacock, Chartered College of Teaching
"[The approaches described] successfully illuminate ways to create a classroom environment in which children believe in themselves, aren’t afraid to take risks and understand what they need to do in order to help themselves learn... Matt Lloyd-Rose is direct in his presentation of the case studies and doesn’t bog the reader down with over-complicated language or over-elaborate explanations... I’m eager to recommend the text to teachers and trainees for this reason, and I truly believe that it will be influential." Paul Watts, Jubilee Centre