Re: Vygotsky and moral development

From: B Smith (
Date: Tue Jun 14 2005 - 03:09:55 PDT

Dear Wendy,
I am also a new member, but used to belong when I was doing graduate studies at OISE-U. of T. I am a Curriculum Coordinator at a boys school, and we have recently developed the Sterling Stewardship Program that combines aspects of character education, guidance and health education. A compassionate world view is deeply embedded in our activities. The community service learning piece is a pillar of the Character Education part of this program. 15 teachers wrote 10 different grade specific booklets for the students last summer - and we're currently looking at studying the student and parent perceptions after our first year of implementation. The parents are very eager to participate with their students on some kind of assignment once a term. I would like my Faculty to come to know that the dialogue between parent and child, about the many open-ended issues in these booklets, can be a powerful opportunity for thinking - one that goes far beyond the conventional ways kids do homework.

In a few days the teachers will meet as a group to revise their booklets. We have many teachers switching grades so they will be exposed to someone else's creation. How they connect with it (intersubjectivity, have I got that right?), will be interesting.
Eventually, I would like to bring some of the boys together, who will be using the resources the next year in, to take part in the curriculum revision. Right now, we're viewing how the teahers respond to the experience.

I know I read some material from researchers (in the 90's?) stating that this kind of material could not be taught deliberately, but I sense any kind of stuff, if it allows students and teachers to co-construct the context, can lead to rich and meaningful experiences. I do not know if the research on moral development has crossed over with Vygotsky's ZPD... Until it does, I'm not going to limit our program possibilities.

Not sure if this helps,
Barbara Smith
The Sterling Hall School
Toronto, Canada

----- Original Message -----
  Sent: Monday, June 13, 2005 12:00 PM
  Subject: Vygotsky and moral development

  Friends: I recently joined the xmca discussion group and am awed by your experience and understanding of Vygotsky's work. Might I humbly ask if any can suggest resources for me to explore that consider Vygotsky's theory in relation to moral development?
  I am working on my doctorate in intercultural studies at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, CA and am interested in how children develop compassion with a global world view. I just completed a tutorial on anthrolpological issues and focused on Vygotsky's theory in light of emerging neuroscience. I also have just begun a position teaching early childhood at the community college level where they are deeply interested in Vygotsky's theory, with an American lens, in the preschool classroom.

  I will be grateful for any help you might offer!
  Wendy Sanders
  College of the Desert
  summer: Hayward, Wisconsin


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