The moral imagination in pre-service teachers ethical reasoning

Year: 2012

Author: Chapman, Amy, Buchanan, Rachel, Forster, Daniella

Type of paper: Refereed paper


Whilst there is significant research examining the pedagogical development of pre-service teachers' knowledge and skills after their internship experience, there has been little examination of their experience of ethical tension and little investigation into ways to further enhance pre-service teachers' ethical reasoning. This paper documents some of the ways that pre-service teachers reason about ethically charged situations. It aims to extend conceptions of the moral imagination and its place in the teaching of ethics to pre-service teachers by discussing findings from a teaching project pilot study designed to investigate the ways in which pre-service teachers experience and respond to ethical tensions. Whilst recognising common difficulties in responding to ethically charged situations, our analysis utilises student dialogue in the form of an assessment strategy based on a 'community of inquiry' model and examines the ways in which pre-service teachers can utilise the moral imagination to reason through ethical issues. This paper indicates some ways professional development could provide opportunities more aligned with pre-service teachers' learning needs in the development of their ethical reasoning, and argues that the moral imagination is a fundamental feature of ethical practice and decision-making