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Student Teachers’ Insights about a Curriculum for Moral Education in Secondary Education

Manuel J. Fernández González, Andrejs Mūrnieks, Patrīcija M. Keiša, Gunita Elksne
University of Latvia, Latvia,
Scientific Institute of Pedagogy, Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art

Abstract. The goal of this study was to explore what student teachers think about moral education in the context of the assessment of the new curriculum ‘e-TAP+’ for secondary education pupils (Year 10 to 12). The research questions were: What was student teachers’ overall opinion about the moral education curriculum? Which aspects of moral education at high school were most important for student teachers? This mixed-method survey research used an online questionnaire. In March-April 2023 89 first year student teachers assessed the 36 lessons of the curriculum, filling 169 questionnaires. Participants’ overall opinion about the curriculum was very positive. The curriculum potential to prompt discussions and to promote pupils’ reflection was highlighted, as well as the usefulness of the lesson plans and presentations, and the lessons’ fit to pupils and topicality. The aspects of moral education at high school highlighted by participants were a pupil centred approach (fit to pupils’ age, importance of engagement and dialogue, pupils’ comfort and well-being), the quality of the content (its relevance, depth, contemporariness, connections with other subject areas, national (Latvian) dimension), and the technical quality of educational materials. The results will be useful for initial teacher education trainers and for moral education researchers.

Keywords: curriculum assessment, moral education, upper secondary education, student teachers.

This work was financed by the Latvian Council of Science project ‘Effectiveness research of an online curriculum for virtue education in Latvian educational institutions (from grades 1 to 12)’, project number lzp-2021/1-0385. It received the ethical approval number 30-95/5 (April 12, 2022) by the Ethics Committee for Research in Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Latvia.

Manuel Joaquín Fernández González, doctor in Pedagogy (University of Latvia), MA Character Education (Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, University of Birmingham), is a leading researcher at the Scientific Institute of Pedagogy (University of Latvia). An expert in social sciences (education sciences) of the Latvian Council of Science, he currently holds a 3-year grant for investigating moral education at school in Latvia.

Andrejs Mūrnieks, Doctor of Management Sciences, worked at the University of Latvia since 2000. Associate professor from 2015 to 2021. In his doctoral thesis he analysed the influence of paradigms, ideas and concepts of personality on education and its goals in historical and contemporary perspectives. Research interests: educational management, formulation of educational goals and their relation to cultural paradigm shifts, value education, cultural studies, social pedagogy, moral education.

Patrīcija M. Keiša, MA Educational Science (University of Latvia), BA Liberal Arts (Amsterdam University College) is an early career researcher who studies the relation between meaningful conversation, self-inquiry and human flourishing.

Gunita Elksne, MA Educational Science (University of Latvia), is a PhD degree applicant on the topic of connections between the values of teenagers and their parents. She works at the Faculty of Pedagogy, Psychology and Arts at the University of Latvia with master’s and bachelor’s level students. Her scientific interests are related to philosophy of education, management of classroom work, organization of educational process in primary school and research in education.

In: Human, Technologies and Quality of Education, 2023. Proceedings of Scientific Papers = Cilvēks, tehnoloģijas un izglītības kvalitāte, 2023. Rakstu krājums
Riga, University of Latvia, 2023. 796 p. Ed. L. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-116-6