Confucianism and moral reasoning in Vietnamese intellectually gifted adolescents
Contributor(s)Gross, Miraca, Education, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, UNSW
Jin, Putai, Education, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, UNSW
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AbstractVietnam is a South East Asian country which has been immensely influenced by Confucian ideology. This heritage has been transferred down through generations, and has greatly affected the development of the love of learning in Vietnamese intellectually gifted adolescents. Furthermore, moral reasoning has been found to differ between gifted students and students not identified as gifted in Western studies. The purpose of the present study is to compare two groups (Vietnamese gifted students and those not identified as gifted) in terms of the adoption of Confucian values and moral reasoning. A total of 354 high school students (intellectually gifted adolescents = 50.6%, and students not identified as gifted = 49.4%) participated in a survey containing 40 items selected from previous studies published in scholarly English journals on the adoption of Confucian values in various cultural settings. To measure moral reasoning, the Defining Issues Test, a psychometric test with high reliability and validity widely used in Western cultures, was utilised in this study. The two research instruments were translated into Vietnamese by two NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters) - certified translators and back-translated into English to ensure their accuracy. Exploratory factor analysis using oblique rotation (SPSS 18.0) eliminated six items and yielded four correlated factors with high factor loadings: (1) harmony based on ethical conduct, (2) conservativeness, (3) social responsibility, and (4) self-control. These four factors constitute a scale to measure Confucian values in Vietnam as well as other countries in East Asian regions or to assess the extent of the influence of Confucianism on migrant students with East Asian backgrounds. Additionally, a multivariate analysis of variance revealed that Vietnamese intellectually gifted adolescents expressed higher levels of social responsibility, self-control, and moral reasoning than their age-peers who were not identified as gifted. Although both groups endorsed harmony with ethical conduct, the gifted students appeared to be less conservative. The above-mentioned features by Vietnamese gifted adolescents are considered Neo-Confucianism, an adaptive version of Confucianism in modern time. Implications of the study have been provided to school teachers, parents, counsellors, principals and policy makers, and especially to the gifted students.