Schools as promoters of moral judgment: the essential role of teachers’ encouragement of critical thinking
- 534 Downloads
The assumption that high level functioning is characterized by a great deal of autonomy is central to some major theories of moral development [Kohlberg (in T. Lickona (ed.) Moral development and behavior: Theory, research and social issues, 1976); Piaget (The moral judgment of the child, 1932)] and to the self-determination theory of motivation [Ryan and Deci (The American Psychologist, 55, 68–78, 2000)]. Based on these theories, we hypothesized that students’ perceptions of their teachers as autonomy supportive, mainly in the form of encouragement of critical thinking, and perhaps also choice, would be positively associated with students’ advanced moral judgment. Data collected from 12th grade students in two regular schools and two democratic schools supported this hypothesis. Results also showed that being a student in a democratic school (as opposed to a regular one) was associated with autonomous moral judgment, and that this association was mediated by students’ perceptions of teachers as encouraging criticism, but not choice. A possible implication is that programs of moral education should explicitly promote teachers’ inclination to encourage critical thinking in their students.
KeywordsAutonomy support Self-determination theory Adolescence Moral autonomy Critical thinking Democratic schools
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Assor A., Cohen-Melayev M., Kaplan A., Friedman D. (2005) Choosing to stay religious in a modern world: Socialization and exploration processes leading to an integrated internalization of religion among Israeli Jewish youth. In: Maehr M.L., Karabenick S. (eds) Advances in motivation and achievement: Vol 14 Religion and motivation. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 105–150Google Scholar
- Assor A., Kaplan H. (2001) Mapping the domain of autonomy support: Five important ways to enhance or undermine students experience of autonomy in learning. In: Efklides A., Kuhl J., Sorrentino R. (eds) Trends and prospects in motivation research. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 101–120Google Scholar
- Cohen J. (1988) Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJGoogle Scholar
- Grolnick W.S., Deci E.L., Ryan R.M. (1997) Internalization within the family: The self-determination theory perspective. In: Grusec J.E., Kuczynski L. (eds) Parenting and children’s internalization of values: A handbook of contemporary theory. Wiley, New York, pp 135–161Google Scholar
- Joseph P.B., Efron S. (2005) Seven worlds of moral education. Phi Delta Kappan 86: 525–534Google Scholar
- Kaplan, H., Assor, A., & Roth, G.(2003). Is autonomy important for all students? Evidence from a longitudinal study of children with different levels of parental education. Paper presented at the 84th Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, Illinois.Google Scholar
- Kohlberg L. (1976) Moral stages and moralization: The cognitive developmental approach. In: Lickona T. (eds) Moral development and behavior: Theory, research and social issues. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York, pp 31–53Google Scholar
- Kuhn D. (2005) Education for thinking. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
- Lind G., Wakenhut R. (1985) Testing for moral judgment competence. In: Lind G., Hartmann H.A., Wakenhut R. (eds) Moral development and the social environment. Studies in the philosophy and psychology of moral judgment and education. Precedent Publishing Inc, Chicago, pp 79–105Google Scholar
- Lipman M. (2003) Thinking in education (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Lipman M., Sharp A.M., Oscanyan F.S. (1980) Philosophy in the classroom (2nd ed.). Temple University Press, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
- Nissim, R. S. (1980). The development of helping behavior and moral judgment in adolescence. MA thesis, Tel Aviv University.Google Scholar
- Preacher K.J., Hayes A.F. (2004) SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers 36: 717–731Google Scholar
- Piaget J. (1932) The moral judgment of the child. Routledge & Kegan Paul, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Rest J. (1979) Development in judging moral issues. University of Minnesota Press, MinneapolisGoogle Scholar
- Shor I. (1992) Empowering education. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
- Vansteenkiste M., Simons J., Lens W., Soenens B., Matos L. (2005) Examining the motivational impact of intrinsic versus extrinsic goal framing and autonomy-supportive versus internally controlling communication style on early adolescents’ academic achievement. Child Development 76: 483–501. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2005.00858.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Walsh, C. (2000). Reconstructing Larry: Assessing the legacy of Lawrence Kohlberg. HGSE News. Retrieved February 15, 2008 from http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/features/larry10012000_page1.html.
- Ziv A., Shani A., (1975) Differences in moral judgment of the adolescents educated in Israel and in the Soviet Union. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 6: 108–121Google Scholar