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In the article "Pedagogical Ethics in Educational Research", Kansanen discusses the presence of moral activity and its role in education. Kansanen feels that teaching is moral and visible in educational research, but he questions if the research supports the moral dimensions of teaching. Teaching pedagogy is related to moral dimensions of teaching. Kansansen states that moral dimension needs more attention through the pedagogical context; he feels that moral dimension gets very little attention.
Moral dimension is found throughout our lives. Human life is moral and education is human life, so too that means one can conclude that education is moral. In his article, Kansansen quotes Alan Tom (1984) who states that teaching is indeed a moral craft. Education aims to make changes which requires alternative decisions and alternative decision means making a choice. The article feels that the moral dimensions of qualitative approaches regarding the closing of the gap between descriptive and normative issues are hard to recognize because they remain hidden. There is an attempt to bring the researcher and educator closer together.
Pedagogy is a major issue discussed in the article. The article infers that the terminology and theoretical conceptions used today are very different from those in the early 1900's. To be pedagogical means that the aims and goals of the curriculum should be combined with the moral
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principles and personal values. There exists a complete freedom to construct interaction in the teacher-studying learning process.
In defining pedagogy, one needs to think of the most central concept, interaction. Interaction does not contain influence or influence of another person. Pedagogical interaction involves a teacher and many students. The teacher is teaching and the students are studying but their freedom is restricted. Together, they are working towards an external plan called a curriculum. The curriculum brings aims and goals but the interaction of teachers and students bring individual values and moral principles that influence the curriculum. It is the teacher's responsibility to empower the student s to learn, but the teacher has the freedom to organize pedagogical interaction with regards to what she feels is right and good. One can see how moral issues play a role in pedagogy.
Moral dimension also makes a difference in educational research even though moral dimension has not special direction. Moral dimensions can change the nature of the pedagogical process. Research brings moral-free concepts but two problems arise, the researcher's awareness of the state of affairs and the right context of the interpretations. Moral dimension is unavoidable when brought to the center of attention. In his conclusion, Kansanen states that "The effort to make the moral dimension more visible in research on the teaching-studying -learning process is, nonetheless, not connected with the question of quantitative-qualitative studies or any other special approach" (p 20). In the area of ethics in education, the article states that the pedagogical point of view is more common.
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Nash (1996) discusses three kinds of moral languages, background belief, character, and principle and states that every one of us live in these three worlds. In the first world, we formulate an account of morality grounded in background beliefs. The second moral language deals with smaller communities to the concrete moral world. The first world is psychological and the second world is philosophical.
The third and final moral language is "an ethical language of principle and the context is the secular pluralist world of large organizations" (p 21). Kansanen states that it is here that people with different origins come together and bring all their experiences and beliefs along with them from the small communities. As humans, we prefer the use of the third moral language and leave the other two on the back burner.
I find it difficult to critique this article based upon the Walden's Institutional Review Board for Ethical Standards in Research. I think there is a common element that lies between the IRB and Kansanen's article and that is the idea of moral dimension and ethics with regards to pedagogy. If education is indeed human life as discussed earlier and human life is moral, than education and pedagogy in particular is moral and ethical and would be supported by the IRB. What is addressed is having a moral and ethical frame of mind which places a set of responsibility on the teacher, student, and researcher. It is up to the teacher to instill these moral principles. Moral principles will effect the ethical framework and one needs to realize that the practicing of ethics must be abide by everyone involved.