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Juan Pablo Dabdoub: "The most important challenges of a society can only be taken on by citizens with good character, who know how to discern and make the common good their own and fight to achieve it".

The University of Navarra presents two courses for managers on Leadership at Education of Character

FotoPilarMartín Bravo/The researcher of the School of Education and Psychology, Juan Pablo Dabdoub.

17 | 05 | 2022

 "The most important challenges of a society can only be taken up by citizens with good character, who know how to discern and own the common good and strive to achieve it," says Juan Pablo Dabdoub, professor and researcher of School of Education and Psychology. The researcher states that schools have a key role to play in contributing to the development of good character in students.

Precisely in order to collaborate with schools in the promotion of this development, the University of Navarra, with the support of the Templeton World Charity Foundation, has launched two courses aimed at leaders of educational communities: vLACE and PRIMED. These leadership courses in Education of character have as their aim goal "to influence the self-knowledge and cultivation of the identity and integrity of the person who leads a centre educational and of their community; and to achieve in the leaders the learning and development necessary to design, implement and evaluate initiatives that make their centres true learning communities, in which development of character is a real priority", says Dabdoub.

The researcher explains that leadership training is a response to the need for leaders to make a specific and flexible plan for each educational community. "There are some educational programmes that indicate in detail what needs to be done, such as a new curriculum, a series of activities or a training course at academic staff. All these initiatives certainly have a positive side, but not all of them work for all educational communities, do not have the same impact, or are useful, but only for a certain period of time". He adds "This is because each school's circumstances are unique and changing and there is no one-size-fits-all or one-size-fits-all recipe. Principals need to develop what is needed to be able to discern at any given moment what their school requires, which may be a new curriculum, a training course, activities or something else".

Dabdoub affirms that this programme seeks to promote in Spain, at a public, private and concerted level, what has already been carried out since the 1990s in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, and which "more recently has been incorporated into the public teaching in countries such as Indonesia and Singapore".

A training with more than 20 years of experience

The Leadership in Character initiative at Education takes the form of two courses designed at the Center for Character & Citizenship at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, directed by Marvin Berkowitz and Melinda Bier. On the one hand, vLACE, aimed exclusively at school principals, will be taught in executive format for nine months. On the other hand, PRIMED, aimed at management teams, is characterised by being an intensive one-week course, training . These courses will begin next year at campus of the University of Navarra in Madrid.

"These courses have been taught for more than 20 years in the United States and in the last decade have taken place in other countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Singapore and Taiwan," says the professor. Likewise, in Spain, two pilot versions were carried out in 2019 and 2020 at the University of Navarra "with very positive results", he adds.