Rules and Morality in the Classroom (page 2)
Children and adolescents expect schools to have rules governing moral transgressions such as hitting and hurting, or stealing personal property. They argue that it is wrong for schools or teachers to permit such behaviors because they result in harm to people (Laupa & Turiel, 1986; Weston & Turiel, 1980). For example, when asked whether it would be okay for a school not to have any rules about hitting, one 5-year-old said:
I think there would have to be a lot of rules about hitting at school because it would hurt somebody! (Nucci, 2004)
In addition, researchers have found that elementary school children apply these expectations to evaluate the legitimacy of teacher authority. Laupa & Turiel (1993) found that elementary school children accepted instructions from teachers that would prevent harm to another child, but rejected the instructions of teachers to engage in such things as hitting, which if followed would result in harm to another child. This finding is entirely consistent with the basic research indicating that children do not view such things as hitting as wrong because there is a rule. Instead, they argue that the rule should be there because hitting is wrong.
The Laupa and Turiel (1993) study dealt with hypothetical scenarios so that children could provide responses without fear of coercion from an actual teacher. It is possible, and perhaps even likely, that a child would follow a teacher’s command to hurt another out of fear of the teacher’s power. Nonetheless, the study suggests that children might not view such a teacher as a legitimate authority. The one caveat that must be added to this conclusion, however, is that because teachers are presumed to have greater knowledge than children, they have great potential to alter the ways in which children read the meanings of people’s intentions and actions. Recent work has shown that the informational assumptions people bring to social situations can radically alter their reading of events (Wainryb, 1991). Teachers who provide children with highly biased and prejudicial accounts of the intentions of people along racial, ethnic, and gender lines have the capacity to alter the ways in which children view the actions of others. The impact of such teacher bias, particularly when enacted within the context of a shared community-wide viewpoint, has been the subject of recent research indicating that children are aware of racial and gender stereotypes by as young as 5 years of age (Bigler & Liben, 2006). As we will discuss in the following chapter, students are influenced by adult bias, but they also negatively judge teachers who display such discrimination (Brown & Bigler, 2004).
© ______ 2009, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- Social Cognitive Theory
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- First Grade Sight Words List