Introducing Character and Virtue Education

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    'It's one thing to build people up in knowledge and information, but without character and virtue, there is very little gained' (Dr Pat Harrison). 

    In light of a renewed discourse in theological education around formation, this short course aims to provide theological educators with a general introduction to character and virtue education and its relationship with the aims, purposes and practices of theological education. This can be labelled 'aretaic theological education', as conducive to the virtues (arête, Greek word for 'virtue').

    The course is suitable for faculty members who wish to implement elements of character and virtue education into their work with students, curriculum designers who are considering to broaden the scope of what is being delivered, school leaders who are thinking strategically about how to best provide theological education in their contexts and accreditors who are considering accreditation standards. 

    The level of this course is introductory, and serves to prepare for further training and study around the theories and practices of character and virtue education.   Further courses in character and virtue education can be taken through the ICETE Academy.

    Course Outcomes

    Students completing this course will gain a vision of character and virtue education in theological education and be able to reflectively evaluate their own context and personal lives as a first step toward practice.

    Course content
    • Defining character and virtue education. Here you will find some key definitions to understand what is being suggested. 
    • A vision of character and virtue.  Here you will engage with a vision of what character and virtue education might entail in theological schools.
    • The death of character. Here you will see what is going wrong and what can be done.
    • The tradition of virtue.  Here you will look at historical and theological examples of the age-old tradition of character and virtue. 
    • Moving toward practice.  Here you will have a couple of tasters of some of the practicalities involved. 


    This course is authored by Dr Marvin Oxenham. Marvin is the ICETE Academy Director, General Secretary of the ECTE and Programme Leader for the MA in Theological Education programme at the London School of Theology. He lives in Rome, Italy.  His fields of expertise are in educational philosophy, character education, accreditation and online education.  He has recently published Character and Virtue in Theological Education and is the author of

    Delivery mode

    This is a self-paced online course.


    10 hours of learning.

    ICETE Academy points

    10 points.

    Completion requirements

    You will need to complete the learning sections, produce a reflective paper and pass  a quiz assessing your basic knowledge and understanding of key issues in character education.

    Course enrolment key


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