ERIC Number: ED205450
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1977-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Skills for Ethical Action: A Rationale.
Chapman, Marian L.; Davis, Florence V.
This paper presents an overview of the philosophical/historical background of moral education in the United States and describes an instructional program developed to teach junior high school students a behavioral strategy for acting ethically. Entitled "Skills for Ethical Action," (SEA), this program was devised in the 1970's to help meet public demand for moral instruction in the public schools. Public interest in moral development in American society stems from the 17th century, when the Company of Massachusetts Bay passed an act which ordered every town to appoint a person to teach children to read and write so they could interpret the Bible and defend themselves from false representations of their Protestant faith. Education in the moral domain has continued to be important in the schools, although the Protestant based value system has gradually given way to non-religious democratic values such as freedom, equality, justice, and respect for human rights. Various recent public opinion polls have concluded that the American public continues to have a strong interest in providing moral instruction for youth. The SEA Program meets this need by focusing largely on a cognitive decision-making approach. When participating in the SEA program, students are directed to reach ethical decisions by a process involving logic and reflection. Major steps in the SEA strategy are identifying the value problem, thinking up action ideas, considering possible effects on self and others, judging, acting, and evaluating. Feedback from participants in SEA programs indicates that students generally report a gain in knowledge about themselves and an increase in learning about the importance of and methods for considering others before acting. In addition, teachers have reported that they notice a positive change in their students in both interpersonal and intraclass relationships. (DB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Research for Better Schools, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.