ERIC Number: ED365573
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The Role of Social Context and Agent in the Development of Abstract Rights Concepts.
Helwig, Charles C.
Research suggests that adolescents as young as 13 years old reason about such abstract rights as freedom of speech and religion. It is unclear whether such reasoning develops earlier. Also unclear is the role of adults as agents in inculating in children the adults' views on such rights. A study examined 184 Canadian students in the first, third, and seventh grades. Researchers interviewed half the students concerning free speech issues and the other half on religious freedom questions. The students reacted to stories in which an authority prohibits agents from exercising the right in question. The research examined such issues in three social contexts: (1) the general level of society; (2) the school setting; and (3) the family. In the stories, the agents were either adults or eight-year olds. Researchers assessed the legitimacy of the prohibition, evaluation of the rule, universality, and evaluation of the violation. In general, affirmations of freedom tended to increase with age and there was a correlation between authority prohibition and rule evaluation results. Freedom of religion produced greater numbers of affirmations, and freedoms in general were affirmed in higher numbers for adults than children. The document calls for further research. Thirteen references and three tables are attached. (SG)
Descriptors: Child Development, Childrens Rights, Decision Making, Elementary Education, Elementary School Students, Ethical Instruction, Foreign Countries, Freedom of Speech, Grade 1, Grade 3, Grade 7, Junior High School Students, Junior High Schools, Moral Values, Problem Solving, Religious Conflict, Social Science Research, Value Judgment
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Canada; Religious Freedom
Note: Research supported by a Connaught Phase I Research Grant. Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (New Orleans, LA, March 1993).