O'Flaherty, J. & Gleeson, J. (2017). Irish student teachers' levels of moral reasoning: Context, comparisons, and contributing influences. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice,23(1), 59-77. United Kingdom: Routledge. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/13540602.2016.1203777
The moral role of the teacher has long been recognised and this has implications for the selection and education of student teachers. There is growing recognition of the importance of teachers’ capacity to make sound moral judgements and of the influence of teachers’ levels of moral reasoning on their professional practice. The paper presents the findings of a longitudinal study of 102 undergraduate student teachers who completed the DIT 2 measure of moral reasoning, at the beginning, mid-point and end of their four-year degree programme at an Irish university. While these students’ levels of moral reasoning were found to be higher than those of their international peers, more than half of graduating students were reasoning at the conventional level as defined by Kohlberg. These findings are located in the context of Irish education policy and practice. Some possible explanations for the students’ performance are suggested and discussed including their entry characteristics, the status of the teaching profession in Ireland, the nature of their teacher education programme and participation in the Transition Year option.
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