School Management and Moral Literacy:: A Conceptual Analysis of the Model*

Article excerpt

Abstract

The aim of this study is to analyze the moral literacy model developed by Tuana; discuss the superiorities and limitations, and constitute the theoretical conditions of a new model by utilizing previous researches and theories asserted about this subject. The model has stated that moral literacy is composed of three main components as ethics sensitivity, ethical reasoning skills and moral imagination, and these components involve at least three components, as well. In this study, it has been claimed that moral sensitivity includes both the cognitive and affective processes, and it has been suggested that a subcomponent about affect should be clearly included. It has been stated that Tuana's characterizing the moral intensity as a subcomponent of ethical sensitivity can be criticized; some researches asserted that moral intensity has relation with moral judgment and moral intention as much as it is related with moral sensitivity, and therefore; moral intensity can be regarded as a surrounding component effecting main components during ethical decision. In the model, it has been stated that handling virtue ethics, which is put forth as a criteria, within the moral judgment is open to criticism, as it is a concept more about behavior and fulfilling the action. It has been suggested that moral imagination, the third component of moral literacy, has a common quality effecting element of this process rather than effecting main components or subcomponents, like moral intensity. It has been determined that Tuana did not clearly state any component related to behavior, and so it has been suggested that moral intention, which is a component about action, can take place as a main component in this model.

Key Words

Moral, Ethic, Moral Literacy, School Management, Educational Leadership.

Human relationships are of great importance at the schools. Moral actions are at the centre of the instruction of the students and the leadership relations of the school principals (Greenfield, 2004). Therefore, school management and teaching necessitate the highest rate of ethical responsibility, amongst the current professions. Modern views mostly point at the moral and cultural dimensions of school leadership (Çelik 1999; Sisman, 2004).

The school leaders need to have the competence of understanding and commenting on an issue taking place in the ethical decision process, in order to play the ethical roles that are expected from them. School principals encounter many ethic dilemmas (Greenfield, 1986; Leonard, 2007; Shapiro & Stefkovich, 2011; Troy, 2009). Ethical dilemma is defined as a situation that requires making a choice between two equal alternatives or having two right answers (Fitch, 2009; Kaigler, 1997). The researches as to determining how the school principals decide in the face of ethical dilemmas are so limited (Troy, 2009). Dempster, Carter, Freakley and Parry (2004) suggested that ethical education is necessary for the school principals. Accordingly, it can be said that school principals' ability to give right decisions in the face of ethical dilemmas is strictly related with moral literacy levels (Walker, Haiyan, & Shuangye, 2007).

Tuana (2007) defined moral literacy as "the skills and knowledge specific to making ethical choices in life are learned capabilities requiring skills in which individuals can be more or less competent" (p. 365). Moral literacy is not a naturally-gained process, but it is gained with the effort to develop the right skills (Zdenek & Schochor, 2007). Herman (2007) philosophically defined this concept as the capacity to react and read the main elements of the moral world. In terms of the leadership process, making decisions depended on moral frame in a very complicated environment and motivating these decisions are related with the conceptual and practical capacities of the school leaders (Walker et al., 2007). Based on these definitions, it can be said that moral literacy reflects the competencies to know, understand, comment and evaluate the main elements in the ethical decision process, in order to make right decisions. …