How can we teach for intellectual virtues?
Written for educators at all levels, Deep in Thought (Harvard Education Press) is a comprehensive guide to teaching for qualities like curiosity, open-mindedness, intellectual courage, and intellectual humility. Author Jason Baehr explains what intellectual virtues are, why they matter, and what it looks like to nurture them in a classroom setting.
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What are Intellectual Virtues?

Intellectual virtues aren’t the same thing as natural intellectual ability or IQ. Nor are they a matter of having a lot of knowledge. A person can be naturally “smart” and highly knowledgeable about a variety of topics while also being closed-minded, intellectually arrogant, and intellectually careless, that is, while failing to possess a wide range of intellectual virtues.

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What is an intellectual virtues approach to education?

Good education always inspires growth in intellectual virtues like curiosity, open-mindedness, and intellectual courage. However, it is possible to educate in ways that are intentionally and systematically aimed at this goal. This is what an intellectual virtues approach to education is all about.

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Educating for Intellectual Virtues


Educating for intellectual virtues involves approaching all aspects of the educational process with an eye to helping students grow in qualities like curiosity, attentiveness, open-mindedness, intellectual thoroughness, and intellectual courage. This site contains a host of resources to help you better understand what intellectual virtues are, why they are important, and how they can be fostered in an educational setting.

Intellectual Virtues:
Digging Deeper

Want to learn more about what intellectual virtues are and why they’re so important? Check out these Resources and Videos for a deeper understanding of the nature of intellectual virtues, which intellectual virtues are most important to learning, and why intellectual virtues are so valuable inside and outside of the classroom.

How Do We Educate for Intellectual Virtues?

Educating for intellectual virtues is a complex process. There is no silver bullet strategy for helping students grow in qualities like curiosity, open-mindedness, intellectual humility, and intellectual courage. However, there is a body of practices which, when faithfully and systematically implemented, is capable of having this kind of impact. Read more about these Core Practices.

Intellectual Virtues and the Workplace

The value of intellectual virtues in educational settings isn’t too hard to appreciate. But are they also important to the careers most students will pursue? Two recent columns in the New York Times suggest that intellectual virtues like curiosity, intellectual humility, and intellectual tenacity are valued more than ever by employers, including Google.