The plan for virtue education that is used in this site does not have claims to originality. Rather, it uses well-consolidated practices in educating virtue, representing them in a four-stage approach that is easily understood and applied.
The plan is envisioned over 28 weeks or practice, and the four stages below are outlined within this scheduled time-frame.
#1 – UNDERSTAND
Duration: four weeks (Weeks 1-4)
This is the first stage, that you should have concluded at this point (since you are in Week 4). This stage is mostly about theory and helps you understand what virtue education is, how it works, why it is important and where it is rooted.
Adults need to be aware of how they are growing in order to grow, and that is why some basic understanding about character and virtue is the first essential step.
Only basic content has been selected in this initial phase, in order to allow you to complete it in a relatively short time. But it is a good idea to learn as much about virtue as you can during the entire project (perhaps choose a good book on virtue to keep on your bedside or work through some of the Additional resources that are suggested at the end of each week). You will be engaging with more content in Phase 3 with a special focus on understanding specific virtues.
#2 – TEST
Duration: four weeks (Weeks 5-8)
Once you have achieved a basic understanding of virtue education, you are ready to self-assess your character. A unique Virtue Test has been designed in this site that will allow you to evaluate your character against 13 virtues.
The test itself only takes about 30 minutes, but during this phase you also be helped to understand how the test is designed and what you can expect from it, and how to interpret your results.
At the end of this stage, you will be led to make a commitment to work on one particular virtue.
#3 – PRACTICE
Duration: sixteen weeks (9-24)
This is the most practical stage and will take the longest. It is also the stage where it is easiest to give up.
You will begin by designing a plan to facilitate growth in your chosen virtue. Then you will be given a multi-faceted set of tools that will help you intentionally work on your character. Don’t worry if you are not be familiar with words like ‘habituate’, ‘critical friendship’ or ‘virtue literacy’… Explanations will be provided.
During this stage, you will receive specific guidance every week on how to use these tools, as well as more content to help you understand specific virtues.
This phase is designed as an incubation period in which your character will slowly change.
#4 – REFLECT
Duration: four weeks (25-28)
Genuine formation includes reflective practice, and that is what you will do in this fourth stage of virtue education.
You will begin by taking the Virtue Test again and comparing your results with those in Phase 2 (before the intensive practice stage). Hopefully, you will growth in your chosen virtue.
To consolidate your growth, you will be instructed to engage in a piece of reflective writing where you will look back on how you have grown and look forward to consider new areas of virtue education in your life.
Phase 4 ends with having a celebration and making plans for next steps.
Ready? Before you make a commitment, it might be useful to go through this checklist:
If you’ve said yes to the questions above, then make a commitment in writing by completing the suggested sentences below.
If you are working with a group, share it with others to whom you want to be accountable. This is a good place to remind you of the possible different Contexts of Practice in which you may find yourself as they will impact the way you carry out your plan and how you express your commitment both in terms of scheduling and of accountability (should your context be one in which you are committing to the plan as a group).