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Towards an Architecture for the Teaching of Virtues, Values and Ethics

Berise Therese Heasly

This book, based on extensive qualitative research carried out among teachers in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, explores a new approach to teaching virtues, values and ethics in the twenty-first century. Drawing on both education studies and philosophy, the author uses inductive methods of analysis and synthesis to construct a renewed theory of education founded on teaching thinking skills. This theory, based on Donald E. Ingber’s work on tensegrity, is complemented by practical pedagogical tools which can enhance students’ thinking skills and support both personal and professional decision-making in a democratic classroom setting.
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Preface by Roger Sutcliffe


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Matthew Lipman – a thinker who profoundly influenced Berise Heasly – wrote in his book Philosophy in the Classroom that ‘young people today are growing up in an information-rich but wisdom-poor society’.

The first half of his claim is surely indisputable; the second half perhaps a little tendentious, not least in its highlighting of a concept, wisdom, that is problematical. But the implication behind the claim – that wisdom, however conceived, is a ‘good thing’, and especially valuable for young people as they find their way into adult and wider society – is surely, again, hard to dispute.

(One could, of course, render it virtually indisputable by defining it narrowly as ‘knowing how to make your way in the world’ – though not so narrowly as to confine the meaning of ‘making your way’ to simply making money! But Berise would not play such a linguistic trick, and nor should I. The point can be made more simply: that wisdom, like happiness, has always seemed worth pursuing – and not just to philosophers or ‘lovers’ of wisdom. For a human life lacking in wisdom would, by default if not by definition, be a life of lacking in happiness and fulfilment.)

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