In this planning grant (pilot project) we will develop, trial and evaluate our Narnian Virtues curriculum with 6 classes of 11 to 14-year-olds (around 200 children). Our intention is for this to be the first year of a 4-year longitudinal project which will assess the cumulative effect of 3 consecutive years of exposure to the Narnian Virtues curriculum in a much wider range of schools as children mature between the ages of 11 and 14.
Universal virtues (such as courage, humility and gratitude) exemplified in Lewis’s Narnia novels, offer common ethical ground to the schools of increasingly pluralistic societies. This project investigates how teachers and students within a crucial formative period, understand and acquire the virtues underpinning good character through their engagement with our ‘Narnian Virtues’ curriculum, based on three of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia novels. The research questions we will address using a range of quantitative and qualitative methods are:
1. At different ages (11-12, 12-13 and 13-14) how do the responses of students who experience the Narnian Virtues curriculum differ - in their understanding and behavioral application of the Narnian Virtues depicted in the novel treated at their grade level - after the intervention?
2. At each grade level, how do teachers who teach the Narnian Virtues curriculum change in their understanding and behavioral application of the Narnian virtues through planning and teaching the curriculum?
3. What pedagogic strategies appear to be most effective in: (a) promoting students’ growth in understanding and applying the virtues depicted in each Narnian novel, and (b) fostering students’ engagement with and personal and ethical response to each novel— in ways that are not limited to understanding and applying the targeted Narnian virtues?