Teaching is defined as ‘imparting knowledge or skills; to give instruction to’ and as such it is limited to the development of what people know and what they can do. Character qualities such as resilience, confidence and creativity can be develop by a skilled facilitator but they cannot be taught by a teacher.
The 90 Billion pounds which the UK government is planning to spend on the education system this year is almost entirely focused on teaching with a view to developing knowledge and skills and gaining qualifications but it is struggling to develop the characteristics needed to be healthy and successful in the modern society. This is why we have had calls today from HRH The Duchess of Cambridge for schools to build resilience and from Richard Branson for schools to build entrepreneurship.
For schools to achieve character development they need to think beyond teaching and take a broader view of education which includes experiential learning, guided reflection and transferred learning.
This is not to say that teachers can’t develop character, of course they can. But they could do this so much better if they had some focused training, if they experienced character development themselves, if they explored the importance of failure in developing resilience , the importance of facing dilemmas in building confidence and the need for vulnerability in developing creativity.
The effective facilitator welcomes confusion, encourages vulnerability and appreciates failure; this is a totally different approach of the teachers skillset who are trained to offer clarity, safety and academic achievement.
If we are to build the most effective education system in the world we must think beyond the focus on intelligence and include the development of integrity and the only way we can do this, it to think beyond teaching.