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Teaching Ethics


published on December 11, 2014

Maughn Gregory
DOI: 10.5840/tej201410173

Ethics Education as Philosophical Practice
The Case from Socratic, Critical, and Contemplative Pedagogies

John Dewey wrote of moral education as growth from impulsive behavior to a “reflective morality,” involving the pursuit of ends-in-view identified through practices of critical reflection and social interaction. The essays in this section explore a variety of such practices as a philosophical approach to K–12 ethics education. The essays draw on, and contribute to three educational movements that aim for particular kinds of reflective consciousness and agency. Socratic Pedagogy engages students in problematizing the status quo, inquiry to identify truth, and self-correction. Critical Pedagogy utilizes school subjects to raise students’ political awareness and as methods of political inquiry and agency. Contemplative Pedagogy introduces practices of mindfulness to help students cultivate curiosity and attention and to bring personal insight to bear on their studies. Teaching ethics as a series of philosophical practices helps students and teachers become more sensitive to ethical meaning and skillful in ethical inquiry and agency.