The purpose of this study was to examine the current practices of moral inquiry in high school literature classrooms. While we have measured moral judgement (Kohlberg, 1984), moral behavior (CEP, 2009) and moral imagination (Yurtsever, 2006), we have not targeted these or developed practical ways for educators to measure development of the moral imagination in high school students. “One measure of the impoverishment of the moral imagination in the rising generation” according to Vigen Guroian (1996) at the University of Virginia “is their inability to recognize, make, or to use metaphors.” However, because the public school system has been defined by assessments and data-driven instruction, the value of the moral narrative remained under-developed. Even though it has been accepted that literature effects character development (Cain, 2005), the informed use of literature in developing moral judgment was problematic (Edgington, 2002; Narvaez, 2002; Glanzer, 2008) because there have been “no ‘Moral Aptitude Tests’” (Ryan, 1986). This study examined the practical methods and assessments that educators used overtly or covertly to strengthen the moral imagination in their students. Results indicated a lack of preparation in the educational programs for educators, resulting in a systematic lack of trust in our educators and revealing similarities in underdeveloped methods and assessments. A high value was found to be placed on the teaching of the moral imagination, while little or no effort could be dedicated to it.
Presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Masters of Education degree in the College of Education and Human Service Professions, University of Minnesota Duluth, 2013
Committee names: Diane Rauschenfels. This item has been modified from the original to redact the signatures present.
University of Minnesota Duluth. College of Education and Human Service Professions
Sutton, Wade R..
Current Practices in Stimulating the Moral Imagination through the Teaching of Literature.
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