The Theory and Practice of Virtue Education  book cover
1st Edition

The Theory and Practice of Virtue Education

ISBN 9781138291478
Published January 18, 2018 by Routledge
248 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Theory and Practice of Virtue Education offers the reader a comprehensive and authoritative account of both the theoretical and practical complexities of cultivating virtue in education and beyond. The book moves beyond the usual philosophical literature that merely discusses virtue in the abstract, and offers scholarly, research-informed suggestions for practice.

Drawn from a highly successful international conference organised by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, the chapters in this volume offer a unique insight into the varieties of approaches that leading scholars have identified for putting the learning and nurturing of virtues into practice. Featured are chapters from internationally acclaimed scholars primarily in the fields of philosophy, psychology and education, which are categorised under three headings: philosophical and theoretical foundations for cultivating virtues; developing virtues in practice; and nurturing specific virtues. Beginning with chapters that examine differing theoretical complexities of virtue education, the book then moves on to explore different approaches to nurturing virtue in the classroom and beyond. This practical approach is further evidenced in the final section, where individual virtues are discussed.

The Theory and Practice of Virtue Education highlights the theoretical complexity of putting virtue education into practice and, as a result, is of real use to researchers, academics and postgraduates in the fields of education, philosophy, psychology, sociology and theology. It should also be essential reading for educators in character and virtue.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors


Part 1: Philosophical and theoretical foundations for educating the virtues

Chapter 1: Ancient Roads to Knowledge of Virtue: The Greek Philosophical Legacy

David Carr

Chapter 2: Healing Character Flaws

Howard Curzer

Chapter 3: Moral Growth: A Thomistic Account

John Hacker-Wright

Chapter 4: Stoicism Today: An alternative approach to cultivating the virtues

Christopher Gill

Chapter 5: Akrasia as a character trait: An obstacle for moral development

Paulien Snellen

Chapter 6: From ‘ordinary’ virtue to Aristotelian virtue

Nancy E. Snow

Part II: Theoretical and practical approaches for educating the virtues

Chapter 7: Plato on Dialogue as a Method for Cultivating the Virtues

Mark E. Jonas

Chapter 8: Assumptions and Doctrines that Thwart the Cultivation of Virtues in Teacher Education

Elizabeth Campbell

Chapter 9: Moral agency as teaching morally and teaching morality: A practical approach to moral education

Gillian R. Rosenberg

Chapter 10: The link between fiction and empathy as a trait of moral character: A pedagogical legend?

Bruce Maxwell

Chapter 11: Manners and the Moral Life

David McPherson

Chapter 12: Policy-led Virtue Cultivation: Can we nudge citizens towards developing virtues?

Fay Niker

Part III: Educating specific virtues

Chapter 13: The Nature and Nurture of Patriotic Virtue

Randall Curren and Charles Dorn

Chapter 14: Aristotelian Philia, Contemporary Friendship, and Some Resources for Studying Close Relationships

Blaine J. Fowers & Austen R. Anderson

Chapter 15: Can Gratitude Be Cultivated?

Terrance McConnell

Chapter 16: Courage in the Classroom

Candace Vogler


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Tom Harrison is the Director of Education at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues and a Senior Lecturer at the School of Education, University of Birmingham. Tom is the Programme Lead for the MA Character Education.

David Walker is a former Senior Research Fellow at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues and currently a Vice Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow at the University of Northumbria.


This collection of excellent chapters sits at the interface of education and ethical philosophy, and provides a smorgasbord of topics that should be of interest to educators wishing to understand the philosophical bases of virtues education as well as to philosophers wishing to explore practical applications of virtue theory to educational practice.

- Marvin W. Berkowitz, Ph.D. University of Missouri-St. Louis.

This book includes a collection of the most interesting and important papers from the 2016 Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues conference on cultivating virtue. The contributing authors include some of the most distinguished international academics leading the field. The book is a must read for anyone interested in human flourishing who wants to know more about the theory and practice of virtue education. 

- Professor James Arthur, Director: Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, University of Birmingham.

This is a conference volume of consistently high quality that avoids most of the pitfalls of the genre. Students and scholars who work in moral philosophy or the philosophy of education—and especially any whose work focuses on character and virtue—would benefit from an afternoon (or more) with this collection.

- Journal of Markets & Morality