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  • The Malaysian Online Journal of Educational Science 2016 (Volume4 - Issue 2 )

    www.mojes.net

    Emphasizing Morals, Values, Ethics, And Character Education In Science Education And Science Teaching

    MohammadChowdhury[1]

    [1]MonashUniversity,Australiamohammad.chowdhury@monash.edu

    ABSTRACT

    Thisarticlepresentstherationaleandargumentsforthepresenceofmorals,values,ethicsandcharactereducationinsciencecurriculumandscienceteaching.Theauthorexamineshowrapidscienceandtechnologicaladvancementsandglobalizationarecontributingtothe complexities of social life and underpinning the importance ofmorals, values andethics.Inordertohelpconceptualizeandarticulateasolidtheoreticalframeworkforthedevelopment of school programs, syntheses and analyses are presented to thephilosophicalandpedagogicalquestionsrelatedtomorals,ethicsandcharactereducation.Variousobstaclesinteachingmorals/ethicsandimplementingcharactereducationinthesciences are discussed. For universal acceptability, a comparative study between thephilosophicalandtheoreticalbasisofmodernWesternmoraleducationandtheuniversalIslamicmoralvaluesandeducationisoutlinedthatmaybehelpfulforfutureeducatorsandresearchers.Arangeofteaching,learningandpedagogicaltechniquesareproposedthatmay fostermorals,valuesandethics in studentsmindsanddevelopvarious skillsandattributesnecessaryforsuccessinthesciences.

    Keywords: science education; teaching; values; morals/ethics; charactereducation

    INTRODUCTION

    People do not live their lives inmoral or ethical isolation but grow upwithin particularmoraltraditions(Reiss,1999).Liberaldemocracycanonlyflourishifitscitizensholdcertainmoralandcivicvalues,andmanifestcertainvirtues(Althof&Berkowitz,2006).Inthemodernera,technologyisaffectingsocietyinubiquitousfashionwhilemaintaining itsuprightposition,andbothscienceandtechnologyarealsobeinginfluencedbysociety.Therapidadvancesinscienceandtechnologyandincreasedsocietalcomplexitiesalsounderpintheimportanceofmorals,valuesandethicsandtheirbenefitstosociety.

    Morals refer tohumanbehaviorwheremorality is thepracticalactivityand,ethicsdescribes the

    theoretical,systematic,andrationalreflectionuponthathumanbehavior(Churchill,1982).Valuesarelinkedtobeliefsandattitudesandguidehumanbehavior(Rennie,2007).Morals,values,andethicsarestronglyattachedtosociety,spiritualityandculture(UnitedNationsEducationalScientificandCulturalOrganization,1991).Therearethreemeaningofethics.Firstly,ethicsiscommonlytakenasasynonymformorality,theuniversalvaluesandstandardsofconductthateveryrationalpersonwantseveryothertofollow.Secondly,ethics isawellestablishedbranchofphilosophythatstudiesthesourcesofhumanvaluesandstandards,andstruggletolocatethemwithintheoriesofhumanindividualandsocialcondition.Thirdly,professionalethics,anditisnotuniversalnorisitethicaltheory;itreferstothespecialcodesofconductadheredtoby

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  • The Malaysian Online Journal of Educational Science 2016 (Volume4 - Issue 2 )

    www.mojes.net

    thosewhoareengaged ina commonpursuit.Professionalethics isan integralpartof the conceptofaprofession(Kovac,1996).

    A wide range of misunderstandings and misconceptions surround morals, values and ethics

    (Churchill, 1982). Morals, values and ethics are sometime difficult to understand because themisunderstandings andmisconceptions surrounding them hinder arrival at the correct explanation. Theobjectiveofmoraleducationliesinthefactthatitcandevelopsharedfeelingswithothers,andmakesonecommittedtoonesownpersonalresponsibilitiesandactions(Campbell,2008).Moralagencyisadualstatethatencompassestheteacherasamoralpersonengagedinethicalteachingthroughprofessionalconductand,asamoraleducatorwhoteachesstudentswiththesamecorevaluesandprinciplesthatheorshestrivesto uphold in practice (Campbell, 2003). Ethical knowledge can best capture the essence of teachingprofessionalismasitenablestheteacherstoappreciatethecomplexitiesoftheirmoralagency(Campbell,2008).Ethics isfirmlyconnectedtovirtuesofresponsibility,trustandcredibility. Itshouldalwaysbefair,honest, transparent, and respectful of the rights and privacy of others in society (Frank et al., 2011).Numeroussetsofvaluesexistinsociety.

    In the context of science, three particular domains of values are present in society: the valuesassociatedwitheducation,valuesofscienceandvaluesofscienceeducation.Thesethreevaluesremainincloseproximity,andinteractoroverlapwithoneanother(Hildebrand,2007).Thussciencecannotbeisolatedfrom society. Values in science education include values associated with teaching science in schools,epistemicvaluesofscience,societalvaluesandthepersonalvaluesofscientists.Theexistenceofvalueisnotcontextspecific.Forexample,westernsciencehasdifferentvaluesfromotherindigenoussciencevaluesets(Corrigan,Cooper,Keast,&King,2010).Morality,valuesandethicsarealwaysconnectedandinterrelatedtosociety,andattachedtosocietalculture,whichareconstantly influencedbypolitics (Unesco,1991;Witz,1996).

    Since the19thcentury therehavebeen rapidscienceand technologicaladvancements; recently,

    globalization is profoundly influencing society, science education and teaching practices. Prior to thenineteenthcentury,sciencepracticeswerecenteredonmoralandreligiousvaluesalongwithanappreciationofphilosophicalandmetaphysicalaspectsofscienceeducation.Atthattime,societalactivitieswerebothsupportiveof,aswellassupportedbysciencepractices.Thepositivesidewasthatitenabledthesciencetoworksuchthat it influenced individual moralandspiritualevolution,besidesfosteringmoralsandhighervalues.Butcomparedtothatsystemthepresentsystemisnotverysupportiveofsciencepracticesandisfoundtobesignificantlydeteriorated.Itwasarguedthatthecurrentsciencepracticingideologyisstronglyactingagainsttheindividualsinnermoralandspiritualunfoldingandfulfilment(Witz,1996).Suchopposingideologymayrestrictanindividualfromappreciatingthegoodnessandbeautyoflifeandtruth.Thusitcannotprovideproperorientationandbases forasoundmind inasoundbodythatupholdsmoralsandvalues;whichinfact,werehistoricallyprovidedbysociety,religion,traditionalculturalvaluesandmoralities.

    Formorethan350yearsscienceeducationfocusedonthewaythatbenefittedindividualsandservedsociety(Hurd,2000).Thelandscapeofscienceeducationandsciencepracticeshassignificantlychangedoverthelast45decades.Duringthe1980sand1990ssignificanteffortshavebeenmadetoidentifysocialandhigherorderthinkingskillsassociatedwithsciencetechnology literacythatmayserveasaframeworkfordevelopingalivedcurriculum.Thelivedcurriculummayhelpstudentstocopewithchangesthatinfluencehumanwelfare(Hurd,1998),andfostermorals,valuesandethics.

    Currentlyscienceeducatorsarefacingenormouschallengesdespitevariouseducationreformsand

    substantialresearchundertakenoverthe lastfewdecades.Themost importantandalarmingchallenge isstudentsdecreasingmotivationandinterestinsciencesespeciallyintheenablingsciences(Batterham,2000;Chowdhury,2013,2014;Kiemer,Grschner,Pehmer&Seidel,2015;Tytler,2007).InrecentyearsstudentsinterestinSTEM(Science,Technology,EngineeringandMathematics)subjectshasalsodroppedsignificantlythroughout secondary education (Kiemer et al., 2015). At the same time, the rapid technologicaladvancementsandenhancedcomplexitiesinsociallifeintheglobalizedworldperhapsmakesitmoredifficulttoemphasizemorals,valuesandethics,andpresentthemthroughan improvedcurriculumandteachingpractices.

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  • The Malaysian Online Journal of Educational Science 2016 (Volume4 - Issue 2 )

    www.mojes.net

    Thisarticleexplainsthenecessityforembeddingmorals,values,ethicsandcharactereducationin

    science education and science teaching. It presents the rationale and arguments, and emphasizes thenurturingofmorals,valuesandethicsinstudentsthroughanimprovedscienceeducationcurriculum,anddescribestheirbenefitstosociety.Theauthorexamineshowrapidscienceandtechnologicaladvancementsaswellasglobalizationarecontributingtothecomplexitiesofsociallifeandunderpinningtheimportanceofmorals,valuesandethicsinscienceeducationandscienceteaching.Synthesesandanalysesarepresentedtothephilosophicalandpedagogicalquestionsrelatedtomorals,values,ethicsandcharactereducationthatmay help conceptualize and articulate a solid theoretical framework for developing school programs.Obstaclesinteachingmorals/ethicsandimplementingcharactereducationinthesciencesarediscussed.

    A comparative studybetween thephilosophical and theoreticalbasisofmodernWesternmoraleducationandtheuniversalIslamicmoralvaluesandeducationisoutlinedtotheextentofgainingbenefitanddevelopinganenrichedtheoreticalframeworkofmoralandcharactereducationthatmayincreasetheuniversalacceptabilityoftheWesterntheoreticalframeworkofmoralandcharactereducation.Arangeofteaching,learningandpedagogicaltechniquesareproposedwithemphasesonthespecificdomainofscienceeducationto fostermorals,valuesandethics instudentsmindsanddevelopvariousskillsandattributesnecessaryforsuccess inthesciences.Theproposedtechniquesand issuesmayhelpto improvestudentsmoral and ethical understanding and reasoning, problemsolving, and decisionmaking. Successfulimplementationoftheproposedtechniquesandissuesmayalsohelptoreversestudentsdemotivationanddisengagementinsciences,whicharecurrentlythemostpressingneedstoaddress.Throughtheproposedchanges students are able to grasp the social implications of their science studies, and understand thebusiness consequences and control the environment; they can reflect on how science and technologyconsiderations differ from personal and political values, find various limitations of science, and acquirescientificknowledgeandrelatethemtoreallifesituationsorotherknowledge.

    Syntheses and Analyses of the Philosophical and Pedagogical Questions for Developing a

    TheoreticalFrameworkofMoralandCharacterEducationBothmorals/ethicsandcharactereducationrequireacoherentaddressingofbasicphilosophicaland

    pedagogicalquestionstoconceptualizeandbuildasolidtheoreticalframework;thisframeworkinturnwillena