On April 25-26, the Rock Ethics Institute hosted the 2014 Moral Literacy Colloquium, Educating for Moral Literacy.  The Colloquium brought together leading scholars and educators for discussions and presentations of moral literacy education and ethical leadership.  The participants—including visiting and Penn State faculty, graduate students, and practicing educators—discussed their collective experience of educating for moral literacy at all stages of learning. The discussions covered best practices, new research methods, as well as international approaches to educating for moral literacy.  The colloquium participants had a shared purpose—to broaden the research base on moral literacy education and carry this research forward at numerous academic levels.

On Friday, April 25, Dr. Charles Burford (Director of Educational Leadership, Australian Catholic University) delivered the first keynote address entitled “Moral, Ethical and Virtuous Literacy: The Role of Discernment and Education”. Dr. Burford described his taxonomy of moral, ethical, and virtuous literacy, and how it helps to frame the moral discernment of educational leaders.

The second day of the Colloquium (April 26) included presentations from Dr. Steven Gross (Temple University), Dr. Ronald Zigler (Penn State, Abington), and Penn State graduate students Joe Levitan, Ally Krupar, and Cat Biddle, among others. Dr. Gross discussed educating for moral literacy at the University level while Dr. Zigler spoke on the implications of recent developments in neuroscience for moral literacy education. Joe Levitan and Ally Krupar presented a comparative perspective of moral literacy and moral education praxis, while Cat Biddle discussed issues at the intersection of moral literacy and student voice-based educational practices. Additional presentations were made by Catherine Hopkins, who led a workshop on using literature to teach empathy for First Grade students, and by Esteban Perez and Penn State’s Jacqueline Stefkovich who presented on “Moral Literacy & the Ethics of Justice and Care in Columbian Schools’ Disciplinary Policies & Practices.”

Dr. Michael D. Burroughs, Assistant Director of the Rock Ethics Institute and Senior Lecturer of Philosophy, provided the event’s second keynote entitled “Ethical Recognition and the Practice of Ethics Education with Young Children”.  Dr. Burroughs discussed his recent ethics education work with Kindergarten students and the development of dialogic reading guides for use by parents and teachers as they discuss ethics with young children. Dr. Burroughs also discussed issues of pedagogy and the power of children’s literature to foster philosophical discussion amongst young children.  Central to the discussion was Dr. Burroughs’ call to reconsider the position of children in our society and begin to think of them as ethical persons.

More information about the speakers and their presentations can be found on the event page.

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