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Ethics education in compulsory school: Ethical competence in the light of ethical theories. Teachers perspectives on important ethical competences for their students to develop.

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Annika Lilja
Publicerad i The 44th Conference of the AME Association for Moral Education, 8-10 November, Barcelona
Publiceringsår 2018
Publicerad vid Institutionen för didaktik och pedagogisk profession
Språk en
Länkar https://www.amenetwork.org/2018/
Ämnesord Ethics education, ethical theories, teachers perspective
Ämneskategorier , Didaktik


Teachers’ perspective on important ethical competence for their students to develop In this study a variety of ethical lenses or voices are used in order to interpret, understand and characterize the expressed perspectives of teachers. 14 group interviews with all together 46 teachers teaching social studies, i.e. the four subjects Civics, Geography, History and Religious Education have been accomplished. Group interviews have taken place at the teachers’ school; they have been recorded and then transcribed. After that an abductive process inspired by a constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz, 2011) have been accomplished. Inspired by Tappan (2006) we have interpreted the ethical theories of Benhabib, Løgstrup, Nussbaum and Singer, as four different voices of ethics. Of course, these voices are a simplification of the theories. However, theses interpretations are useful in order to see that there are different emphasises in the landscape of ethical theory. The four philosophers express ethics in different voices (cf also Gilligan, 1982) and the interpretations and summaries of the teachers’ utterances have made us hear these voices in the teachers’ speech on ethical competence. The analysis have resulted in four identified capacities that the teachers want their student to develop; to understand, to act, to verbalize and to be persevering. These capacities always have a direction, they can be focused on an individual him-/herself, the fellow being or a social context. The direction of a capacity is in itself a value expression. The four identified capacities, with their directions show a wide understanding of ethics education, the teachers give a picture of an education that can be described as both implicit and explicit (c.f. Thornberg, 2008). The material could be interpreted as visualizing a tension between an egocentric and a sociocentric perspective. The most common direction of the teachers’ utterances concerns the competence to develop the individual him- or herself, but since pupils need to start in themselves in order to be able to gradually turn outwards, this is not surprising. We have interpreted the teacher’s language as a language applicable in school. The voices of the four philosophers illustrates languages, which work in a broader context. In this way the voices, used as an analytical tool, serve as an aid to emphasize the teachers’ utterances to a higher level of abstraction and thus expand our understanding of what the teachers regard as an important ethical competence for their students. References: Charmaz, K. (2011). A Constructivist Grounded Theory Analysis of Losing and Regaining a valued Self. In F.J. Wertz; K. Charmaz; L.M. McMullen; R. Josselson; R. Anderson & E. McSpadden. (Eds.), Five Ways of Doing Qualitative Analysis (p. 165 – 204). New York: The Guilford Press. Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice. Boston: Harvard University press. Tappan, M.B. (2006). Moral functioning as mediated action. Journal of Moral Education. 35(1), pp.1-18. Thornberg, R. (2008a). The lack of professional knowledge in values education. Teaching and Teacher Education 24 (2008) 1791– 1798.

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