Integrating moral and social development within middle school social studies: a social cognitive domain approach

Journal of Moral Education 44 (4):479-496 (2015)


Eleven teachers and 254 urban middle-school students comprised the sample of this study examining the social and moral development outcomes of the integration of social cognitive domain theory within regular classroom instruction. Participating teachers were trained to construct and implement history lessons that stimulated students’ moral reasoning and conceptions of societal convention. In comparison with baselines and controls, teachers reduced didactic instruction and increased the proportion of class time devoted to small group discussions. Student engagement in transactive discourse significantly increased in participating classes with significantly greater post-test levels of moral reasoning, concepts of social convention, and cross-domain coordination. Student production of operational versus representational transacts through transactive discussion was associated with growth in moral and societal concepts. Teachers continued teaching lessons constructed in the project a year after the research ended.

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