The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Caring, Character, and Community: Leadership in Times of Crisis

Hardin L.K. Coleman, Boston University - Wheelock College of Education and Human Development (United States)

Elizabeth Barcay, Boston University - Wheelock College of Education and Human Development (United States)


To prepare the next generation to become caring and effectively engaged citizens requires a multi-faceted approach. It includes a focus on personal development, professional development, program development and implementation, and on systems change [1]. To deepen our understanding how leadership integrates these values into practice, this paper presents a thematic analysis of how leaders of PK-12 schools, higher education institutions, and  how leaders integrate the ethic of caring, their own and others’ character development, and a commitment to serving the needs of others to guide and inform their leadership in times of crisis. We interviewed 11 leaders who responded to the question “how have you integrated caring, character, and commitment into your leadership style while managing crises.” Three of the leaders work with PK-12 schools, three work in higher education, and five work in youth serving community based organisations.  Some of the leaders have explicit commitments to a focus on character education and/or have a spiritual grounding in their work.  Others were more focused on social justice, equity, and system change.  All were deeply committed to creating conditions in which youth can flourish.  This paper will summarise their thinking on how to use an ethic of caring, and focus on one's own and others character development, and a community to create high quality learning experiences and opportunities for all youth.

Keywords Character Education, Leadership 

References: [1] Coleman, H.L.K. (2020). Character, Civic, and Social Emotional Learning Education. Conference Proceedings: Future of Education (10th Ed.). Florence, Italy: LiberiaUniversitaria.

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