What is educating for intellectual virtues?

Educating for intellectual virtues is an approach to classroom teaching and other educational activities that is aimed at helping students grow in intellectual virtues, which are the deep personal qualities or character strengths of a good thinker or learner. Intellectual virtues include qualities like curiosity, attentiveness, open-mindedness, intellectual humility, intellectual autonomy, intellectual courage, and intellectual tenacity.

While good education has always fostered growth in intellectual virtues, it is possible to educate in ways that are intentionally and systematically aimed at this goal. That’s what educating for intellectual virtues is all about.

Importantly, educating for intellectual virtues is not an alternative to instruction in traditional academic subjects like math, English, history, and science. Rather, it is a way of helping students approach and engage with these subjects — a way that is personal, thoughtful, and active.

 


 

"Importantly, educating for intellectual virtues is not an alternative to instruction in traditional academic subjects like math, English, history, and science. Rather, it is a way of helping students approach and engage with these subjects--a way that is personal, thoughtful, and active."

 


 

This site exists to give you a better understanding of what intellectual virtues are, why they’re important to education, and how to educate so that your students experience greater growth in these qualities.

To learn more about an intellectual virtues approach to education, you can download Cultivating Good Minds: A Philosophical and Practical Guide to Educating for Intellectual Virtues. This 34-chapter resource guide is written for teachers and offers a comprehensive account of educating for intellectual virtues, including what intellectual virtues are, why they are valuable, and what it looks like to foster intellectual virtues inside and outside of the classroom.

You can get a feel for what this approach looks like in action by watching this video about the Intellectual Virtues Academy of Long Beach: