In the context of religious education, teaching character possibly serves to make this subject more meaningful and relevant. When character is our cornerstone in the classroom, the students are able to connect their lessons to their own lives easily and purposefully.

There is so much research in to the profound effects of Character Education. It is not simply about academic rigour and excellence, but it also paves the way for students to flourish and for society as a whole to reap the benefits.

In our Anglican schools, we encourage all religious educators to use the wonderful resource, Habits of Heart, to enhance their programmes. It is such a powerful, effective and relevant framework upon which to organise the religious education of all students.

I am always looking for patterns and connections in teaching and learning, as we know this helps our students to engage in deep thinking and learning. Recently, I was working with one school on their unit of work using The Chronicles of Narnia. Who doesn’t love teaching units based on the stories of C.S. Lewis?

It occurred to me that the 12 Narnian Virtues, as listed in Narnian Virtues: A Character Curriculum Based on C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia  by Professor Mark Pike, University of Leeds, UK and Professor Thomas Lickona, State University of NY at Cortland, USA, match up quite brilliantly with the Habits of Heart.

Here is a fabulous way to explore virtues, character and the Habits of Heart, using The Chronicles of Narnia. Fantasy, mystery and religion can certainly capture the imagination of students.

Why not design some ‘compare and contrast’ or ranking and sorting activities based on a comparative analysis of the 12 Virtues and the Habits of Heart?

Or pose the same question as Professors Pike and Lickona – Does reading good books make us better people? Let your students debate that idea! Enjoy!


Habits of Heart 12 Narnian Virtues
Be Loving Wisdom
Be Grateful Love
Be Aware Fortitude
Be Patient Courage
Be Honest Self-control
Be Wise Justice
Be Compassionate Forgiveness
Do Good Gratitude
Be Faithful Humility
Give Respect Integrity
Serve Sacrificially Hard Work
Build Community Curiosity
Work for Justice  
Seek Reconciliation  
Inspire Hope  
Be Courageous  


The 12 Narnian Virtues

  1. Wisdom The habit of making good judgments; discerning what is true and good and choosing the best course of action. We need courage to change what we can, the patience to endure what we cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.


  1. Love The habit of acting selflessly for the good of another, without seeking recognition or reward; willingness to sacrifice for another; being kind, caring, generous, and loyal. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another.


  1. Fortitude The habit of doing what is right in the face of difficulty; the mental and emotional strength to handle hardship, overcome obstacles, and endure suffering; showing confidence,  courage,  patience,  perseverance, endurance, or resilience in challenging circumstances.  They would need fortitude to endure the difficult journey ahead.


  1. Courage The habit of overcoming fear when confronting physical danger or facing social pressure to do what’s wrong.   Moral courage—standing up for what’s right when it’s unpopular to do so—is rarer than bravery in battle.


  1. Self-Control The habit of controlling one’s desires, emotions, and impulses; being able to resist temptation; waiting longer for something better.  In the absence of self-control, our desires control us.


  1. Justice The habit of treating all persons with respect and fairness; giving people what they are due; not playing favourites. A good ruler governs with justice toward all.


  1. Forgiveness The habit of letting go of angry feelings toward another person, even while holding wrongdoers accountable for their actions. Many people find forgiveness difficult when someone has hurt them deeply. She forgave his crime but felt he should still suffer a just punishment.


  1. Gratitude The habit of feeling and expressing thanks. Gratitude leads us to count our blessings.


  1. Humility The habit of being aware of our strengths and weaknesses; admitting and correcting flaws and failures; being free from pride and arrogance. Without humility, we remain blind to our faults.


  1. Integrity The habit of sticking to our moral values; following our conscience; being honest with ourselves and others. As a leader with integrity, he listened to the voice of conscience, not the voice of the crowd.


  1. Hard Work The habit of making a strong or determined effort to get a job done or achieve a goal. Nothing worthwhile was ever accomplished without a lot of hard work.


  1. Curiosity The habit of being inquisitive; wanting to learn or know something. Curiosity is the mark of an active mind.