The Student as Moral Agent

Journal of Moral Education 27 (2):179-190 (1998)
Abstract
Abstract This paper suggests that dissatisfaction with traditional teaching practices is fundamentally a moral complaint. Treating students as receptacles offends our sense of human dignity. We feel the need for students to be treated as moral agents. The paper explores the concept of moral agency by, first, looking at an episode of instruction from Plato's Meno, and then drawing from it three necessary elements of moral agency??choice, vision and an end?in?view. Choice is necessary because, to be a moral agent, a person must have more than one course of action available, as well as both the authority and the competence to choose which course of action to follow. Vision is necessary because a moral agent is a person who sees the world in a certain way: moral agency is as much a matter of world?making as of choosing and behaving in the world. An end?in?view is necessary because it provides the engagement and social context that enable choice and vision to operate. The paper concludes that while teachers cannot endow students with moral agency, they can create an environment that encourages moral agency
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