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Volume 115, Number 13 (2013)

 
by Hugh Sockett & Robert R. Boostrom
Putting the word moral in the title of this volume carries some risk, because moral is an unusually slippery as well as powerfully evocative word. For some, it is a grim and proper word, suggesting the constraint of a moralistic or rule-bound view of life, summed up in a narrow compendium of “thou shalt not’s.” For others, it is a sacred word that implies (as it did for many of the early supporters of the common school in the US) the necessary superiority of Christianity over any other view of life. For others, it is a nostalgic word, calling to mind a better day and bringing an invitation to lament the decline of civility or the corruption of the social order.
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by Richard Pring
The last few decades have seen many attempts to “reform” education across the world. Those reforms have been spurred on by the perceived low standards, by the number of young people who are seen to be educational failures, and by the need for a “skilled workforce” if our respective countries are to compete successfully in an ever more global and competitive economy.
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by Hugh Sockett
This chapter argues that schooling neglects virtue through the dominant quest for right answers. This is not only intellectually disreputable in presuming the correctness of what is taught, but it undermines the development of necessary intellectual virtues, such as open-mindedness, impartiality, and accuracy in the school curriculum, and it fails to create the intellectual and moral framework for the democratic citizen, specifically in the development of tolerance, social responsibility, and prudence. This neglect of virtue in schooling is primarily visible in the intellectual characteristics and attitudes of the college freshman.
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by Matthew Sanger & Richard D. Osguthorpe
This chapter examines the gap between the widespread acknowledgment that teaching is a moral endeavor, on the one hand, and the lack of explicit, systematic teacher education research and practice to support preparing teachers for the moral aspects of teaching. After providing an initial description of the aforementioned gap, the chapter surveys the evidence that such a gap exists, then takes up a number of themes found in the literature bordering the gap. It concludes with a discussion of possible paths for teacher education research and practice to move forward.
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by David Kennedy
This chapter contrasts the aims of progressive and traditional state-mandated schooling, and argues that the former represents a new form in the history of Western education, oriented to individual, social and moral reconstruction rather than reproduction, and guided by the evolutionary possibilities inherent in human neoteny. The school is identified as a key site for the reconstruction of civic virtue in its role as a “just community” or embryonic society grounded in the principles and practices of participatory democracy.
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by David Carr
“Aesthetics” is often taken to be the study of art, but it has come to mean a variety of rather different things in contemporary educational theory and practice, such as: (i) sensory education; (ii) appreciation of beauty; (iii) education in appreciation of the arts. The danger of running these different senses together is explored and the main argument of this chapter is that the moral significance of the aesthetic dimension of works of art lies in its direct engagement with the affective or emotional aspects of moral development.
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by Stephanie Burdick-Shepherd
This chapter looks at John Dewey’s consideration of childhood as a platform from which to view the significance of childhood in moral life. It argues that the concept of childhood is integral to our thinking in the teaching and learning relationship. When we consider childhood from Dewey’s platform, we see that childhood is relevant to society both because it is a source of continued renewal and growth for our society and because its plastic and imaginative grounding enables children and their childhoods to fundamentally change educational relationships.
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by Barbara S. Stengel & Mary E. Casey
To teach for instrumental and innovative growth for both student and teacher is not simply a technical challenge. It is a moral task, requiring intimacy in the service of developing autonomy. It involves moral sensitivity and moral perception in prompting and framing responsible pedagogical action. It is an emotionally fraught enterprise, one that runs headlong into the human resistance to development and growth (Bion, 1994). What follows is an uncovering of this pedagogical responsibility. As we shall show, the way in to the moral dimensions of a teacher’s work is the same path that leads to academic effectiveness. Taking the moral seriously is not a diversion from the preparation and development of effective teachers, nor is it an added consideration; it is central to the very possibility of responsive and responsible education.
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by Robert R. Boostrom
This chapter explores the basis of rationality, arguing that critical thinking tends to be taught in schools as a set of skills because of the failure to recognize that choosing to think critically depends on the prior development of stable sentiments or moral habits that nourish a rational self. Primary among these stable sentiments are the delight of recognition and the surprise of uncertainty. The creative act of imagination that sparks the delight of recognition is an invitation to begin rational enquiry. A flash of insight provides a motive for valuing the principle of truthfulness, which in turn provides a basis for a community of enquiry. While acknowledging that in the current climate of accountability-through-assessment there are good reasons for teachers to believe that the aim of nourishing the stable sentiments that support rationality is out of their reach, the chapter argues that students become independent rational reasoners only because they have lived in a community or classroom in which the surprise of uncertainty is valued more than a right answer, and the delight of recognition is more celebrated than a test score.
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by Jim Garrison & A.G. Rud
The purpose of this chapter is to understand the spiritual dimensions of teaching by elucidating the cardinal and forgotten virtue of reverence. Reverence has a power beyond a typical understanding of it as something religious. Reverence involves a sense of wonder and awe for something or someone that meets at least one of the following conditions: (1) something we cannot control; (2) something we cannot create; (3) something we cannot fully understand; (4) something transcendent, even supernatural The chapter shows reverence in a wider context that does not diminish its spiritual connotations, but rather shows its importance and relevance to teaching in today’s classrooms.
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by James Andrew Laspina
The chapter examines John Dewey’s concepts of society and the public in the context of digital technology and its potential to transform society and the moral ethos of the public school. I argue that Dewey’s theory of society and the public, though articulated for an industrial age, are, like his moral vision of social democracy and public education, still of perennial importance as a ethical lens to frame and critique the emerging network society and publics.
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by David T. Hansen
In this chapter, the author proposes to imagine the aims of the school in light of a cosmopolitan philosophy of education. The first section that follows provides a summary account of what the author takes cosmopolitanism to mean. The second section frames a philosophy of education that stems from this account. The third and penultimate section sketches a conception of the school and its moral and ethical aims in light of this philosophy of education. The discussion will foreground normative ideals. Such ideals can be dangerous if they blind people to realities. They can be disappointing if failure to attain them weighs down hard on people. But if ideals are understood as sources of direction rather than as destinations, they can assist educators to sustain their course in the face of obstacles. The author’s core purpose here is to highlight why a cosmopolitan orientation can inspire, encourage, and help guide educators in realizing schools for our time.
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by Elizabeth Campbell
This chapter presents a conceptual argument that positions two broad areas of educational scholarship—the moral and ethical dimensions of teaching and social justice education—as being quite separate, different, and ultimately antithetical, despite contemporary trends towards merging them in both theoretical and practical ways. It argues that an emerging tendency in social justice education to position its political agenda as a moral or ethical endeavor, especially within teacher education, is problematic in that it complicates, rather than enhances, the conceptualization of teaching as moral practice; it further distracts teachers and student teachers from fully engaging with the ethical aspects of their daily professional work.
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by Robin Barrow
This paper endorses the overall argument of the preceding contributions. It argues for an approach to teacher education focused more strongly on the nature of the educational enterprise and the why, wherefore and how of teaching specific subjects. The importance of distinguishing between the provisional nature of knowledge claims and relativism is stressed, as is the distinction between the uncertain and the arbitrary.
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