Moral and Character Education: Annotated Bibliographies

Moral and Character Education: Annotated Bibliographies

Narváez, D., & Nucci, L. P. (2008). Handbook of Moral and Character Education. New York: by Routledge.

The authors have gone beyond discourse to bring together a collection of findings by researchers in the field of moral and character education. They have addressed the basic philosophical, methodological, and historical issues that undergird contemporary moral and character education. One of the philosophical schools of thought supports developmental and traditionalists approaches to moral education. Another approach that is discussed is one focusing on contemporary psychological and philosophical connections between self and morality. The aim of education according to this approach is moral self-identity.  A major concern is whether the developmentalists’ emphasis on reason can suffice in the absence of an effort to impact development of self as a basis for moral education.  They contend that contemporary overviews of the developmental and traditional ideals have dominated moral education discourse. All the moral and character education approaches recognize the importance of social interactions for moral growth of the students. They also provide a detailed overview of the cooperative goal structures. Social cognitive domain theory has been used to present research on the application to issues of classroom management, as well as the construction of social and moral values lessons into the regular academic curriculum. Their approach to analyzing the moral and character education through the traditional and contemporary philosophical overviews is effective and creates a better understanding of the issue.

 

 

Shields, D. (2011). Character as the Aim of Education. Phi Delta Kappan92(8), 48-53.

The author contends that education should develop moral character, intellectual character, performance character, and performance character as well as collective character of an individual. Educators first think of academic subject matter when formulating education goals. In addition, academic learning develops intellectual character which is the arching conglomeration of patterns of thought, general disposition of thinking, and habits of mind responsible of direct and motivates thinking-oriented pursuits. People of strong intellectual character are reflective, curious, open-minded, skeptical, truth seeking, and strategic. Moreover, moral character is presented as one that seeks the right and good. It is rooted in a basic desire for goodness while moral character is defined in terms of some specific contents such as preferred virtues. Apparently, thriving nations are based on the participation of citizens in governance through development of a civil character. The need for schools to cultivate the disposition needed to become miniature democratic society is stressed where students can learn how their character affects the success and wellbeing of the group. Performance character is the disposition, personal qualities, or virtues that enable individuals to accomplish goals and intentions. They are presented as diligence, perseverance, optimism, loyalty, courage, resilience, attention to detail, and initiative. They are qualities that reflect skills in self-management and relate to the exercise of will. To support individual character development there is a need to promote a culture of character. The author to a great extend has presented a superior perspective of the role of education in developing character. However, she fails to outline the current education situation as a basis for further inclusion of character education in education.

 

Marshall, J. C., Caldwell, S. D., & Foster, J. (2011). Moral Education the character”plus” Way[R]. Journal Of Moral Education,40(1), 51-72.

The Authors in this article argue that traditional approaches to the character education are viewed by many educators as attempts to establish the virtues of self-control within students in order to habituate them to some prescribed behavior. Instead, integrated multi-dimensional character education is seen as one that embraces both character formation and moral education. As such, students learn to identify and to process social conventions within given core values of the community and school. Deming’s humanistic organizational principles and the Glasser’s fundamental needs are some of the theoretical frameworks that are utilized in this analysis. Students and staff involvement is used to determine school-level and classroom-level student acquisition of practical reasoning skills in the development of morals, as well as social conventions. One of the studies in Missouri conducted over a period of four years, involved 64 secondary and elementary schools randomly picked and placed into groups each of 16 schools. Moral development was deduced through student’s social behavior. Findings showed the character plus way schools showed a substantial reduction of 41 percent in discipline referrals as compared to control schools that had 22 percent increase in discipline referrals. These findings were used to deduce that moral development is attributed to social relations and that schools are used in the child’s moral development either by default or intent. The character plus way is an integrated school and community approach to educating a child. Core values and virtues are identified and then integrated into all aspects of the school. This article has used a different approach to that of Narváez and Nucci above by empirically demonstrating the aspects of moral development guided by theory.

Revell, L. (2007). Character education in schools and the education of teachers. Journal Of Moral Education36(1), 79-92.

This article explores students’ and teachers’ experiences, attitudes values, and characters in schools, as well as their assessment of opportunities presented by the institutions for character development. Data was collected from 1000 student teachers from two universities through a questionnaire method. Findings showed that although they were highly interested in enhancing their skills in moral development, the opportunity to achieve this largely depended on the course and the teaching placement school. The study was important in establishing how teachers develop their understanding of the character and identifying whether teacher education courses do impact this understanding. This study is helpful in understanding the nature of character and moral education in schools. Through the findings, it is evident that several weaknesses exist in the teacher training curriculum, and this void has direct impacts in the teaching of moral and character.

Althof, W., & Berkowitz, M. W. (2006). Moral education and character education: their relationship and roles in citizenship education. Journal of Moral Education35(4), 495-518.

The article contends that citizenship education entails moral and character formation although the integration between the two is blocked by negative stereotyping that exists between these two fields. In addition, any attempts to synthesize are consequently complicated by the negative stereotyping that exists between character education and moral education. Exploration of each of the two fields, similarities and differences, reveals that the role of schools in promoting the creation of moral citizens in a democratic society creates the need to focus on broader moral and character development, dispositions as well as teaching of citizenship skills and civics. The authors have outlined the dilemma that exists in the issue of integrating the two fields of character education and moral education. This explains why most schools are still to incorporate the subject into their curriculum despite the fact that they are aware of the role it should play in moral and character formation. This study should, however, been accompanied by an empirical study to further guide future decision making by educators based on facts.

References

Althof, W., & Berkowitz, M. W. (2006). Moral education and character education: their relationship and roles in citizenship education. Journal of Moral Education35(4), 495-518.

Marshall, J. C., Caldwell, S. D., & Foster, J. (2011). Moral Education the CHARACTER”plus” Way[R]. Journal Of Moral Education,40(1), 51-72.

Narváez, D., & Nucci, L. P. (2008). Handbook of Moral and Character Education. New York: by Routledge.

Revell, L. (2007). Character education in schools and the education of teachers. Journal Of Moral Education36(1), 79-92.

Shields, D. (2011). Character as the Aim of Education. Phi Delta Kappan92(8), 48-53.

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