Building on two existing Templeton-sponsored projects – the Intellectual Virtues Education Project (#29274) and the Intellectual Virtues Academy of Long Beach (#39687) – our project involves implementing an intellectual virtues (IV) educational model in a new public charter high school. A growing body of research in psychology, education, and neuroscience indicates that an important part of the solution to our multiple and well known problems in public education is for schools to foster greater levels of “noncognitive” skills – or, similarly, IV – such as curiosity, open-mindedness, and intellectual humility. Our project will help answer Big Questions concerning the best methods for fostering intellectual character growth in an educational setting. Moreover, it will examine these questions at a point that is considered the weakest link in our public education system and during a developmental period of heightened brain plasticity that is conducive to growth in qualities like IV.

Project activities include:

(1) Building and implementing a comprehensive IV-based high school program, including training and supporting all teachers in an IV model;
(2) Measuring the impact on students’ intellectual character and academic performance; and,
(3) Developing and disseminating well-grounded practices and curricula that foster intellectual character virtues.

The project will result in the first systematic and whole-school implementation of an IV model in a high school setting. Outputs include several unique courses related to the Big Questions and IV pedagogy, empirical research that will shed light on which IV pedagogical or curricular strategies are most effective, and an IV Institute and Conference at which these outcomes will be disseminated. As such, it is ideally suited to have a broad and lasting impact on the intellectual character of thousands of students and to advance the current research on character education.