Care-Full Education: A Character and a Care Approach to Moral Education as a Response to the Ongoing Marketization of Education
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AbstractThis project elaborates the importance of integral education and moral education as a response to the rising trends of marketization, commodification, instrumentalization, and an increasing technocratic paradigm. We argue for education that will empower a young person not only to gain knowledge, competencies and skills, but which will enable the comprehensive development of a student and his or her growth in humanity and well-being. Utilizing the input from John Henry Newman, Martha Nussbaum, Jürgen Habermas, Colin Power and Nel Noddings, we demonstrate that education has to make students active, critical, wise and caring citizens. With integral education, the accent is not placed on the language of skills, efficiency, productivity and competition, but on the fostering of greater humanity, wisdom, excellence, flourishing and cooperation. Besides underlining the necessity for integral education, we highlighted in particular one aspect of education, that is, moral education. The main focus of moral education revolves around two questions: how to become the best possible person and how to live a good life? We argued that the educative endeavor could not omit the questions which deal with moral issues and more importantly, with questions related to the formation of the moral beings of students. We showed that educational institutions influence the moral development of young people and their moral lives. For this reason, it is important that moral education is intentionally and seriously implemented within the regular curriculum, and not randomly and unreflectively. Furthermore, we analyzed the progress of moral education theory from the second part of the twentieth century to the present time. We revealed three main approaches from the period of the sixties to eighties: the cognitive-developmental approach (Lawrence Kohlberg), the caring approach (Carol Gilligan) and the traditional character approach (Edward A. Wynne) which all underlined some aspects of morality, such as moral reasoning or moral behavior, but underestimated other moral realities. Newer generations of approaches (from the eighties to now), such as character education (Thomas Lickona), the caring perspective (Nel Noddings) and Integrative Ethical Education (Darcia Narvaez) attempted to take into account the moral complexity of human beings and showed greater sensitivity not only for the formation of virtuous character, moral reasoning and caring relationships, but also for the importance of caring environments. Although recent approaches displayed valuable and useful insights, we acknowledged that there has not been any major or outstanding progress in moral education theory among contemporary moral educators. Finally, we concluded the discussion on integral and moral education by employing the voices from the Catholic Church. Concretely, we have analyzed nine official Church documents on education from the period 1929 till 2014, and reported that strong emphasis is placed on the person and one’s comprehensive development, which includes one’s moral dimension. However, we found that Church documents do not provide an elaborated program or model for students’ moral education. Moreover, in certain instances, Church documents neglected its own moral tradition. Specifically, we demonstrated that concepts such as virtues and formation of character were very rarely mentioned in Church documents and concluded that these valuable concepts should not be forgotten, but rather embraced again by the Congregation for Catholic Education.
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