Pedagogy with a Twist

Character education – Which learning outcome is that?
Mr Jonathan Hensman

What is the case for character education in contemporary boys’ schooling? The debate varies from school to school in an education era that includes added pressure to perform academically, to changing learning and teaching practice and, in many schools, to outperform others on the sports field.

In this context, have schools the motivation to advance the cause of character education? Where does character education sit in the priority list of education philosophy, market demands and resource allocation in schools?

Considering the lengthy list of programmes designed by individual schools, is there an approach which makes a more pronounced difference? In this mini-keynote, we will explore these questions and consider how developing character education as a focussed inclusion in our pedagogy may assist our young men to be lifelong learners and to be able to meet challenges when they leave school.


Jonathan has been headmaster for 19 years of two independent schools either side of the Tasman: Churchie (Brisbane) and Wanganui Collegiate School (N Z). Nowadays, his roles are diverse and extend to Chair of an Advisory Board for a clothing design and retail company (Australia/NZ), a Non-Executive Director CBM NZ Board, Independent Schools New Zealand Board and Chair of Hereworth School Trust Board.

In both Australia and New Zealand, Jonathan fulfils the role of mentor to Heads and Senior Executives and also provides consultancy to schools in areas such as governance advice, executive reviews, Head/CEO performance evaluation, organisational development and change management.