ERIC Number: ED268587
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Whose Ethics in the Classroom? On the Politics of Ethics.
Sproule, J. Michael
The issue of whose "facts" and whose perspective will control classroom discussions of social questions tends to surface in one of two related ways: (1) in connection with efforts to mandate the content of the instructional matter, and (2) in connection with attacks on teachers whose instructional material contains facts or evaluations offensive to a powerful social group or interest. A historical survey of the political monitoring of those who would give instruction concerning the ethics of social action, with focus on the ethics of communication, indicates a rediscovery after World War I of the importance of the ethical communication practices in democratic politics. The popularity of critical propaganda studies in colleges and universities during the mid-1930s was a short-lived phenomenon, however, and in the increasingly tense political atmosphere of 1939 to 1941, opponents of education who probed social ethics often branded ethical analysis as part of a conspiracy to undermine dominant American institutions. In the 1940s and 1950s, forces opposed to critical social analysis levied charges against educators and textbooks. The place of ethics in present day classrooms is, at best, ambiguous. While the upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s created a renewed acceptance of inquiries into the nature of modern society, the politics of recent years has seen the anti-critical trends continue, although now in the form of pressure from a variety of social groups harboring strong political opinions about what should and should not be taught. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Endowment for the Humanities (NFAH), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (71st, Denver, CO, November 7-10, 1985).