published on November 19, 2014
Teaching Being Ethical
Teaching ethics at the university level in the Western tradition tends to focus on teaching ethical theories, or—in the case of applied ethics—applying theories. Success in ethics courses is occasioned by the ability to articulate, and in some cases apply, ethical theories. Ratiocination about ethics is the focus. I contend that in so far as one of the goals of ethical education is becoming more ethical, current pedagogical models leave much to be desired. This paper makes a case for teaching being ethical. I recommend developing the skill sets required for enacting ethical behavior. Problems with historical methods of testing ethical development are assessed, and methods for testing ethical behavior are considered. I explore fertile sites for research and practice regarding the intersection of moral education and moral behavior. In particular I focus on the role of emotion, active learning techniques, moral exemplars, and addressing the relevance of self-concept.