ERIC Number: ED317485
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Oct
Reflections on Moral Education. Research in Brief.
A 2-day conference on teaching moral values in American schools resulted in a report called "Moral Education and Character" which highlights the views of participants from a variety of fields. This brief paper is a synopsis of the issues and arguments presented in that report. Moral education concerns learning about good conduct. It is about the development of character, the stable qualities of a person that are revealed in his or her actions. Parents are the first moral educators of a child. Teachers also play a major role in moral education once a child begins school. Certain qualities of character and action, such as honesty, are universally accepted. Such features of morality are so taken for granted that people tend to focus on the controversial aspects, such as the role religion should or should not play in moral education and overlook what everyone accepts. The Supreme Court has made a constitutional distinction between teaching religion and teaching about religion. The latter is constitutional, but in practice, it may be difficult to do one and not the other. Moral education can be introduced into the school curriculum in a number of ways: (1) through a distinct course or classroom activity, (2) as a part of a literature course, or (3) in cooperative learning activities, to name a few. There are many questions in this area that might be addressed by future research. For example: (1) What values do all hold in common, and what differences exist among moral viewpoints? (2) What types of moral education, if any, are individual teachers practicing in schools today? (3) What are the effects of religious heritage on moral education? and (4) Is there a role for the federal government in this area at all? (JB)
Publication Type: Collected Works - Proceedings
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Note: Synopsis of the report of the Conference on Moral Education and Character (Washington, DC, September 1987). For the full report, see ED 304 390.