NHS Character and Intellectual Virtues

At the Bear Creek School our aim is not just to turn out students who have mastered a certain body of knowledge or have achieved a certain GPA. Instead, we aim to produce students who are earnest seekers of Truth and, as a result, have developed fundamental intellectual character traits that will lead them into truth as they go through life – both inside and outside the classroom. Students who gain admission into The Bear Creek School chapter of the National Honor Society should be examples of outstanding intellectual character. 

Seven Intellectual Virtues

Teachers are asked to evaluate each of these seven intellectual virtues on a scale of 0 – 10 (“0” means “Never” and “10” means “Always”) for a maximum of 70 points.

Intellectual Tenacity: Someone who is intellectually tenacious is someone who earnestly wants to know Truth; and so they… are not willing to give up when they find an assignment difficult or boring. They are determined to fight through the difficulty in order to gain a deeper understanding of the material.

In your class, to what degree does this student demonstrate a willingness to press on in the face of a significant intellectual challenge?

Intellectual Curiosity: Someone who is intellectually curious is someone who earnestly wants to know Truth; and so they… are always asking, “why?” They are not satisfied with the easy and simplistic answers, but have a desire to understand what makes it all work – at the foundational level. The intellectually curious person regularly asks questions in class and is an active participant in class discussion.

In your class, to what degree does this student demonstrate a passion for truth?

Intellectual Honesty: Someone who is intellectually honest is someone who earnestly wants to know Truth; and so they… consider everything in an unbiased way. If they come to an issue with a preconceived view, they don’t tune someone else out simply because that person’s view contradicts their own. Instead they listen attentively and reconsider their own view in light of the new information. “They seek to know, not to be right”.

In your class, to what degree does this student demonstrate a willingness to put the pursuit of truth above their current opinion?

Intellectual Courage: Someone who is intellectually courageous is someone who earnestly wants to know Truth; and so they… take risks in the pursuit of truth. They are willing to reconsider their own beliefs, even if this scares them. But once they have done so, and come to a belief about what is true, they are willing to stick to their guns, even if the majority mocks or threatens them. The intellectually courageous student is willing to take risks in class assignments in the pursuit of excellence and truth.In your class, to what degree does this student demonstrate a willingness to risk – either in the pursuit, or defense, of truth?

Intellectual Carefulness: Someone who is intellectually careful is someone who earnestly wants to know Truth; and so they… make sure not to rush to hasty conclusions based on limited evidence, but instead are patient and diligent, careful that they do not overlook important details. The intellectually careful person checks their work on math problems, proofreads their essays and is generally concerned about getting it right.

In your class, to what degree does this student demonstrate intellectual carefulness?

Intellectual Humility: Someone who is intellectually humble is someone who earnestly wants to know Truth; and so they… recognize that they are both sinful and capable of being in error; and finite and thus cannot possibly know all things. As a result, they actually rejoice when they are proved wrong because it means they have grown in their understanding of God’s Truth. In short, the intellectually humble person is subservient to truth, not the other way around. The practical result is that they consistently demonstrate concern for their peers and teachers, treating them with respect and dignity in how they ask questions and in how they accept critiques of their work.

In your class, to what degree does this student demonstrate intellectual humility?

Intellectual Autonomy: Someone who is intellectually autonomous is someone who earnestly wants to know the Truth; and so they… take full responsibility for their own learning. They are therefore prompt in turning in class assignments, taking tests and getting to class. But more importantly still, while they value the input of teachers and peers they do not lean on the efforts of these groups to complete their work. The intellectually autonomous person understands that for knowledge to be theirs, they have to be the primary agent in the process.

In your class, to what degree does this student demonstrate intellectual autonomy?