Conceptualizing moral literacy

Journal of Educational Administration 07/2007; 45(4). DOI: 10.1108/09578230710762409

ABSTRACT Purpose – The purpose of this research is to provide an overview of the fundamental elements of moral literacy. Moral literacy involves three basic components: ethics sensitivity; ethical reasoning skills; and moral imagination. It is the contention of the author that though math and reading literacy is highly valued by the American educational system, moral literacy is extremely undervalued and under-developed. Design/methodology/approach – In this study the author uses her vast knowledge of moral literacy to break the subject matter into specific and defined sub-categories. She then explains each sub-category explicitly using real-life examples to assist the reader in understanding the gravity and meaning behind each separate facet of moral literacy. Findings – Moral literacy is a skill that must be crafted and honed by students, and with the aid of teachers who are well-versed in moral subject matter. It is a complex and multifaceted skill set that is interconnected and must therefore be learned completely in order to be used properly. Teaching students about moral literacy is truly necessary if schools wish to produce productive and responsible citizens. Originality/value – The study furthers our understanding of moral literacy and how it can play an absolutely vital role in our educational system. The paper not only explains what moral literacy is on a theoretical level, but it puts that theory into specific examples so that the reader can more clearly understand the benefits of acting in a morally literate fashion.

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    ABSTRACT: This article describes Canadian school principals’ (n=177) perceptions of the factors that constitute their ethical decisions, the grounds, and the strategies for ethical decision-making in their school work. For the participants, primary factors that made decisions ethical were truthfulness and honesty; alignment with values; doing what is best for students and the learning community; and the challenge and pressure of knowing that ethical considerations are the bottom line when it comes to making the right decisions. Their personal and professional grounds for making ethical decisions were confidence in personal ability to consistently make good ethical decisions; faith in the abilities of others to make ethical decisions; and knowledge of the relevant professional ethical codes. Discussing their strategies for ethical decision-making at work, participating principals emphasized self-discipline as a means to deter unethical decision making; past experiences/precedence as aids in making the right ethical decision; referral to a relevant ethical code as support for decision-making; and, advice and feedback from others as moral support and accountability mechanisms. This study provides educational leaders with a better understanding of the nature, grounds, and strategies for improved ethical decision-making in school administration.
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose ‐ This study had five objectives: explain the initial steps that led to the construction of the Ethical Leadership Questionnaire (ELQ); analyze the items and verify the ELQ reliability using item response theory (IRT); examine its factorial structure with a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and an exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM) approach; test the item bias of the ELQ; assess the relation between the ELQ dimensions and ethical sensitivity. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Study 1 and Study 2 involved 200 and 668 respondents, respectively. Step 1 consisted in IRT; Step 2 in CFA and ESEM analysis; Step 3 in invariance of the ELQ items across gender, and Step 4 in structural equation modeling. Findings ‐ Results indicated the presence of the three types of ethic in the resolution of moral dilemmas, validating Starratt's model. The factor structure was gender invariant. Ethic of critique was significantly related to ethical sensitivity. Research limitations/implications ‐ More replications will be needed to fully support the ELQ's validity. Given that the instrument may be used in diverse cultural contexts, invariance across cultures would be warranted. Practical implications ‐ As educational organizations become aware of the crucial need for more ethical leaders, they will need to pay particular attention to the ethic of critique as it appears to play a significant role in the development of ethical sensitivity. Social implications ‐ Results presented in this paper answer a vital need for more ethical skills in educational leadership. Originality/value ‐ The ELQ provides a validated measure of Starratt's conceptual framework and highlights the key role played by ethical sensitivity and the ethic of critique.
    Journal of Educational Administration 04/2014; 52(3). DOI:10.1108/JEA-10-2012-0110
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    ABSTRACT: An important goal of teaching ethics to engineering students is to enhance their ability to make well-reasoned ethical decisions in their engineering practice: a goal in line with the stated ethical codes of professional engineering organizations. While engineering educators have explored a wide range of methodologies for teaching ethics, a satisfying model for developing ethical reasoning skills has not been adopted broadly. In this paper we argue that a principlist-based approach to ethical reasoning is uniquely suited to engineering ethics education. Reflexive Principlism is an approach to ethical decision-making that focuses on internalizing a reflective and iterative process of specification, balancing, and justification of four core ethical principles in the context of specific cases. In engineering, that approach provides structure to ethical reasoning while allowing the flexibility for adaptation to varying contexts through specification. Reflexive Principlism integrates well with the prevalent and familiar methodologies of reasoning within the engineering disciplines as well as with the goals of engineering ethics education.

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May 28, 2014