|Environmental Education in the Schools (Peace Corps, 1993)|
|Activities, activities and more activities|
"What is moral is what you feel good
- Ernest Hemingway
How can you help students move to higher stages of moral development? One way is to have students interact with other students that are at a higher level of moral reasoning. It's the same idea behind athletes wanting to play their sport good after. With someone that's better than they are because they have more chance of picking up something valuable from a more experienced and advanced player. Another way to encourage moral development is to model good moral behavior-something a teacher does consciously or unconsciously. For example, freedom to learn, human dignity, and justice are universally accepted values that many educators model in their day-to-day teaching.
A third way to stimulate moral growth is to present students with moral conflict situations and have them struggle with moral reasoning that is just above the level they are currently operating on. This internal struggle can help them wrestle with their own values and beliefs and provide experience in using higher level moral reasoning skills.
When creating moral dilemmas for your students, try to write scenarios that are as simple as possible, using a main character or group of characters as the focus. Create the dilemma so that it's open-ended and involves an issue that has some type of moral implication for the main character(s). For example, an individual is faced with making a decision that has implications that can affect his or her own life, family, community, and environment. At the end of the scenario, ask the students to think about what the character(s) should do?
In facilitating moral dilemmas, try to stay neutral and encourage students to interact with each other, listening to other opinions and raising questions and responding to other student responses. Also encourage students to defend their points of view and discuss differing beliefs openly. In this section, we've included four examples of moral dilemmas. The first focuses on hunting endangered bats. The second is a dilemma involving the use of banned pesticides. The third looks at pesticide use in forests. And the final dilemma looks at giving food to a starving nation. Use these examples to create your own dilemmas, incorporating local and regional issues and problems.
ACTIVITIES IN THIS SECTION
1. THE FLYING FOXES OF SAMOA by Judy Braus and Martha Monroe.
2. SCENARIO: HARRY CARTER'S GRAIN COMPANY, an excerpt from Decisions for Today and Tomorrow by Louis A. Iozzi, Cook College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, and Peter Bastardo Highland Park Public Schools, Highland Park, NJ ( 1987, 2nd edition 1990). Published and distributed by Soplis West, Inc., Colorado.
3. HARD CHOICES, reprinted with permission from Project Learning Tree published by the American Forest Council and the Western Regional Environmental Education Council.
4. STARVING NATION, reprinted with permission from
Assessment of Learning Outcomes in Environmental Education by Louis
Iozzi, Danny Laveault, and Thomas Marcinkowski (published by UNESCO, 1990).