Helen Haste, Kohlberg Memorial Lecturer

Are We Asking the Right Questions?

Helen Haste is Professor Emerita in Psychology at the University of Bath. For fifteen years until recently she was a Visiting Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education where she directed a research training program in ‘new civics’, an area where she has published widely.  She has a long association with AME and with the Journal of Moral Education. She received the  AME Kuhmerker Career Award in 2011. In addition, she was President of The International Society of Political Psychology in 2002 and has received two career awards from ISPP. She is currently consolidating her lifetime commitment to moral and civic education through full-time writing.

Abstract: Why have we failed, as social scientists, and as ‘moral and civic engineers’, to anticipate the recent political changes and the emerging counter-narratives to the optimistic tide of progressivism that we have assumed for decades - and within which most of our education agendas are framed?  What questions did we not ask? We missed the loss of class-based identities, desires for the known, fear of ‘outsiders’, the lack of appeal of ‘global identity’, and the wish for quick and sure cures – by ‘strong men’ - for corruption, disorder and economic insecurity.  Innovation requires surprise, and, especially, a challenge to previously taken-for-granted assumptions. We make predictions believing that our favourite theory and methods will prevail in the future.  However innovation always happens on the margins, not in the mainstream, so is difficult to anticipate.

To effect change we must understand social and individual change. We must also understand what happens when we develop new models and theory: how do our questions and dominant explanatory focus change? With examples, I explore the cultural and dialogic context and the roles of narrative and metaphor in meaning-making - in social change, in identity, agency and motivation, and therefore, in education: “Change the narrative, change the world”

Marvin Berkowitz, Opening Plenary

How School Can Change the World: Nurturing the Moral Agents of the Future

Marvin W. Berkowitz is the McDonnell Professor of Character Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. A developmental psychologist he is author of You Can’t Teach Through a Rat and co-editor of the Journal of Character Education. He was awarded AME’s Good Work Award (2010) and Kuhmerker Career Award (2013). 

Abstract: If we truly want to foster the development of moral motivation and competency in people, then we need to rely on a scholarly logic model that delineates what our outcome goal is, what is known to lead to that outcome, and how that can be implemented in whatever context we choose; e.g., schools or families. It is proposed that we be logical, multidisciplinary, holistic and empirical. Moral character is defined as those psychological characteristics that motivate and enable one to function as a moral agent. Parenting for moral character is organized around five fundamental principles (DENIM); demandingness; empowerment; nurturance; induction; modeling. In a very parallel way, educating for moral character is organized around six fundamental principles (PRIMED): authentic prioritization; relationships; intrinsic motivation; modeling; empowerment; and a developmental framework.

To learn more about Dr Berkowitz and The Center for Character and Citizenship, click here.

Wiel Veugelers, Plenary

Democracy and Moral Education: New Challenges in a Global and Intercultural World

Wiel Veugelers is a professor of education at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht (the Netherlands). He coordinates the Erasmus+ strategic partnership EDIC+ (Education for Democratic Intercultural Citizenship), a collaboration of 7 European universities. In 2015 he received from the Association of Moral Education the Kuhmerker Career Award for his contribution to research on moral and citizenship education.

Abstract: In the sixties personal empowerment was combined with collective empowerment. Now personal empowerment is included in a neo-liberal framework. How can be we restore the combination of personal and collective empowerment? 

Both moral learning and moral teaching should be studied from a social-constructive perspective. Students give a personal meaning to the world, however in dialogue with others and using available resources. Moral values are embedded in the curriculum, the school culture and the teachers’ behavior. In our theoretical and empirical research we find three clusters of moral values: adaptation, autonomy, and a social orientation (ranging from empathy, care, to social justice). These clusters refer to different types of citizenship and different educational practices.

For linking again personal and collective empowerment, moral values should be analyzed more with regard to political power relations. In rephrasing Paulo Freire: the moral should become more political and the political more moral. Democracy, as combining freedom, equality, diversity and social justice, should be central in future moral education.