The survey of 10,000 pupils aged 14 and 15 in secondary schools across the UK found that more than half failed to identify what researchers described as good judgments when responding to a series of moral dilemmas, leading researchers to call for schools to have a more active role in teaching character and morality.Good god! How on earth are they supposed to do (or perhaps in some cases, undo) in a school day what parents are supposed to have done all their lives?
“A good grasp of moral virtues, such as kindness, honesty and courage can help children to flourish as human beings, and can also lead to improvements in the classroom. And that level of understanding doesn’t just happen – it needs to be nurtured and encouraged,” said Prof James Arthur, director of Birmingham’s Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, which conducted the research.Blimey! If that’s not a scary-sounding name, I don’t know what is…
So…what sort of moral dilemmas did these survey respondents have to look at, anyway?
In one moral dilemma designed to test courage, pupils were asked to rate the best and worst actions and justifications available to a school girl who was selected for a prestigious sports squad whose looks were being exploited by its coach for publicity.
The survey found that in many cases, pupils responded based on their self-interest, or from the perspective of avoiding involvement if they could act as if it was not happening.Ah! I see! No great moral dilemmas here, just another warped attempt to shoehorn left-wing identity politics into the mix, and demand action when it ‘proves’ that not enough notice is taken of them.
While the range of schools surveyed included both state and private schools, the authors said there was a danger that those schools most interested in developing character were more willing to take part, as were teachers already interested in character education, potentially biasing the sample.
In addition, researchers warned that the moral dilemmas “may stimulate responses more in line with social desirability than a person’s actual moral responses in life” – meaning that pupils may have been giving what they perceived to be socially acceptable answers, rather than what they truly believed.Junk science then. Best ignored.