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Reason and Emotion: How Teachers Respond to Ethical Problems
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
2018 (English)In: ATINER'S Conference Paper Series / [ed] Dr. Gregory T. Papanikos, Athens: Athens Institute for Education and Research , 2018, p. 1-14, article id EDU2018-2501Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Teachers frequently face ethical problems in their everyday practice – ranging from pedagogical choices affecting their pupils to pressing conflicts that need to be solved – and they are expected to respond to such problems in a professional manner. Given the centrality of the ethical dimension to the teaching profession, an important question is how teachers tend to approach such problems. While some studies have been carried out regarding how teachers in particular approach ethical problems, there are interesting studies revealing how people in general tend to respond ethically to situations involving ethical aspects that evoke strong emotional reactions. Aiming to fill parts of this gap, the present paper is based on a survey of Swedish teacher students and religious education (RE) teachers for which we have borrowed two examples from such general studies (carried out by Jonathan Haidt among others). These examples were chosen on the basis that one of them clearly represent a social taboo in a Swedish context while the other one does not. Letting the teacher students and RE teachers respond to both examples give us an indication of whether there is any significant difference in their approach to an example evoking a strong emotional reaction as opposed to a more neutral one. It is clear from our survey that there is such a difference: the respondents generally make rationally motivated judgments when confronted with the neutral example, while most of them seem to rely on gut feeling in the more provoking case. If these results can be taken as an indication of how teacher students and teachers tend to respond to real life situations, a provoking or emotionally laden context is likely to enhance the risk of making ethical choices which are not based on rational reasoning. We argue that these results emphasize the importance for teacher students as well as already practicing teachers to study, and cultivate the ability for, moral reasoning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Athens: Athens Institute for Education and Research , 2018. p. 1-14, article id EDU2018-2501
Series
ATINER'S Conference Paper Series, ISSN 2241-2891 ; EDU2018-2501
Keywords [en]
Moral education, Ethics education, Social Intuitionist Model, Jonathan Haidt, Ethics and education, Teacher ethics, Moral reasoning
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion Educational Sciences
Research subject
Ethics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-151241OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-151241DiVA, id: diva2:1243162
Conference
20th Annual International Conference on Education, Athens, Greece
Available from: 2018-08-30 Created: 2018-08-30 Last updated: 2019-06-20Bibliographically approved

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Lindström, NiclasSamuelsson, Lars

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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