ERIC Number: EJ814661
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Oct
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
Students' Choices and Moral Growth
Goodman, Joan F.
Ethics and Education, v1 n2 p103-115 Oct 2006
Can schools encourage children to become independent moral decision-makers, maintaining controlled environments suitable to instructing large numbers of children? Two opposing responses are reviewed: one holds that the road to morality is through discipline and obedience, the other through children's experimentation and choice-making. Circumventing these polarities, I look to distinctions within rules that may help in balancing claims of restraint and freedom. Using a pharmacological analogy, one might, in principle, justify "pills" (discipline) for uncontrollable and/or morally trivial behaviors, but not for intentional behaviors of moral significance where volition matters. However, since we cannot permit children to choose to harm, their agency must be curbed. As a compromise, I suggest that teachers hold extended moral discussions, and involve students in rule-making and sanction-giving.
Descriptors: Discipline, Moral Development, Ethical Instruction, Decision Making, Children, Social Behavior, Compliance (Psychology), Student Participation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A