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Ellen Feig

Professor, Bergen Community College


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Can one teach young people to be moral? Is morality something that must be taught in the home? Is it innate?

Currently I am working on a professional development platform focused on teaching college students ethics and morality. Young people seem to be incredibly disengaged from others, have little sense of what it means to be moral, gracious or ethical and don't care. How can we teach morality or is it something that is innate?

Topics: ethics morality

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    Jan 25 2013: Our values dictate our morals (how we behave) and ethics is the language we use to discuss our morality with others.

    There is a lot of work out there about morals and moral development. You can start with a pioneer, Lawrence Kohlberg and his stages of moral development. However, his model does not always stand up to research and it is pretty well confirmed that his model does not apply to female moral development. Just do a lit search.

    Absolutely we must teach morals all the time. I get students ready for a profession. In this profession sometimes they need to support the value and morals of others which means they must suspend their own values and morality. It is a huge leap for many. But they cannot act on their values and morals because they now understand the values and morals of the profession. They better behave as a professional or they will not achieve professional status.

    There are many many professions with distinct professional values and to be a professional, you must act in accordance with the profession, which means you must integrate professional values to behave morally within that profession.

    Here is a sample of a values clarification sheet that can begin the discussion of values, morals, and ethics in the classroom.
    http://www.sofia.edu/resources/crc/pdf/values.pdf. I would recommend you clarify your institutional values before initiating this kind of thing.
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      Jan 25 2013: I agree Linda and have read Kohlberg. To model behavior I have begun creating service opportunities which they get credit for
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        Jan 25 2013: What I can tell you is you need to make sure to articulate outcomes to assign credit. The DOE is coming down heavy on credit and credit hours. Good luck.

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