The Narnian Virtues Curriculum has five main objectives. Students will learn to:
- understand the virtues and vices and acquire a ‘virtues vocabulary’ for naming, defining, and discussing those qualities, and describe the ways in which different authors use language to depict such qualities in different literary genres.
- identify the virtues and vices exhibited by the characters in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and how the author has used language to illustrate them.
- empathise with the story characters—to be able to understand and describe and evaluate their thoughts, feelings, and moral decision-making as they display virtues and vices.
- value the virtues and appreciate the positive consequences of virtues for self and others, realise the negative consequences of vices, and grow in motivation to improve one’s efforts to exhibit the virtues and curb bad habits.
- apply the virtues and plan how to develop them, overcome their character flaws, and hold themselves accountable for doing so through self-reflection and communicating their plans and progress to others.
Character education is the deliberate attempt to cultivate virtue.
The ‘Narnian’ virtues, those exhibited by one or another person in the Narnia novels that make up the Narnian Virtues Curriculum, are: wisdom, love, integrity, self-control, fortitude and justice.
We define ‘virtues’ as good moral habits; good character consists of these good habits. If a person is ‘of good character’, then he or she will have developed a range of virtues (good habits).
Our Character is a ‘Work in Progress’
To encourage students to commit to the goal of understanding and applying the Narnian virtues, we suggest introducing the 12-week unit by teachers saying:
Developing good character means trying to be the best we can be more of the time. We possess most virtues – whether wisdom, love, integrity, self-control, fortitude or justice – to a small, moderate, or high degree. When we practise a virtue with a high degree of consistency, we have established it as a fairly dependable habit, although it may still fail us in trying circumstances
As we strive to develop our character, our challenge is to make progress – to practise the virtues more consistently, acknowledge when we don’t, and keep on trying to improve. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes; we all often act in ways that are not our best.
We’re all in this together. Teachers and parents are still developing their character. Our character is always a work in progress. Becoming a person of character is a lifelong journey for all of us.