The educational significance of “models” is widely accepted. The tradition of “role-model education” in the field of moral education is well-established. Among others, N. Noddings’s care ethical approach and T. Lickona’s approach to character education are two well-known cases which hold role-modelling in high esteem. In this study, based on the researcher’s critical review of K. Kristjansson’s criticism of the existing literature on role-model education, four basic questions are posed; they are respectively, who are moral models? How are moral models to be used? What are the expected effects of moral model education? Why are moral models needed? In particular, this study will focus on exploring and analysing the developmental moral psychology of moral saints and moral heroes as preeminent examples of moral exemplars. It is found that moral exemplars’ psychology is characterised by two features. First of all, they frequently state that “I have to do this or I would feel uneasy.” This is well captured by a pair of concepts of B. Williams, i.e., practical necessity and moral incapacity. Secondly, they often remark that “I could do more and I should (have) do(ne) more.” According to W. Damon and A. Colby, this statement has to do with their strong identity with their moral ideals, resulting in their strongly felt personal responsibility and the subsequent moral commitment and actions. In sum, the researcher contends that moral saints and heroes sincerely feel obliged to do what they have done. This study is concludes by drawing four important educational implications as follows. First of all, moral exemplars in the strong sense (such as moral saints and moral heroes) and in the weak sense (such as parents and teachers) respectively play different roles in moral role-model education. Secondly, it is incumbent upon the partnership among the parent, teacher, and student to have a good knowledge of the developmental trajectory and the current state of the student’s moral character. In particular, the student’s faithfulness manifested in constantly facing up to his real state of moral character is especially critical. Thirdly, given that the shaping of moral identity is a matter in developmental process, it is fairly reasonable to take the “core values of moral character” to be the common learning topics across the various educational stages. However, it needs to be stressed that the educational tasks are different for different stages. It needs to be specified whether the task in question is either the inculcation of “local virtues” or the “converting of local virtues to more global ones”. Last but not least, the story-telling of the lively and rich narratives of moral exemplars helps to enhance the student’s moral identity with the manifested moral values. In so doing, the educated are provided with an opportunity to faithfully reflect on their own current states of character, confronting their distance from the good, and subsequently be motivated to emulate the moral exemplars.
|Effective start/end date||2018/08/01 → 2020/01/31|
- character education
- moral exemplar
- moral hero
- moral saint
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