Reviews of "How to Teach Morality"*
Dr. Shaogang Yang, Professor of Psychology at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in Guangzhou, P.R. China:
“Dr. Lind is a truly international psychologist. His research into moral competence is based on universal moral principles. His new Moral Competence Test has been translated and validate in 39 different languages. He lectures and teaches workshops around the world. His new book How to Teach Morality is based on the results of his four decades of psychological research and on twenty years of application of his new methods of moral education in many countries.
Dr. Lind presents in his book several novel ideas. Some of his ideas are taken from experimental psychologists. But he has concretized and developed them into workable research and education methods. To mention only three central ones in his book:
- He developed the first objective test of structural properties of human behavior, which could so far only be assessed through subjective methods of interviewing and scoring: the Moral Competence Test (MCT), now being used world-wide in research and program evaluation. This method can be used in many other areas as well. It is absolutely new and a breakthrough for psychological research.
- Dr. Lind took up Jean Piaget’s and Lawrence Kohlberg’s notion of a cognitive-structural aspect of morality and concretized and named it as “moral competence.” This he defines as the ability to solve problems and conflicts on the basis of moral principles through deliberation and discussion instead of violence and deceit. This definition proved to be very fruitful for research and application.
- On the basis of his psychological research Dr. Lind developed a new method of fostering moral competence in humans age 8 and older in all countries and cultures. His Konstanz Method of Dilemma-Discussion (KMDD) is based on Kohlberg’s dilemma discussion. But he improved it on the basis of continuous self-evaluation. While Kohlberg gave up this method because teachers did not take his method up, Lind’s KMDD is spreading in many countries.
The significance of Lind’s book can hardly be overstated. It contributes both (a) to advancing psychological research world-wide and (b) to the application of psychology in the much neglected field of educational instruction, where psychological application is often confined to testing and counseling. The book has global significance because, as I already noted, it is based on universal moral ideals and principle.
Moreover, Lind’s Moral Competence Test is culturally valid because it uses, as he outlines in his book, participants’ own moral orientations as standards for scoring instead of external, culturally specific standards.
The global nature of Dr. Lind’s book is already mentioned in my previous comments. I like to add that he has been invited to many international conferences and has worked with children and adult learners as well as with teachers and professor in many different countries. Also in my country, China, he is very successful. Two of our assistant professors attended his workshop-seminars in Konstanz and obtained a “KMDD-Teacher” certificate, which he offers. His new book is the first in English and makes his work even more assessable for non-German speaking audience.
I share Prof. Ewa Nowak's, Poland, judgment who writes, 'Dr. Lind’s experimental and educational approach is unique worldwide.' He has a very deep knowledge of experimental psychology and has used this knowledge to design the first objective test of the structural aspect of human behavior. In his book he shows convincingly that these aspects are very important but cannot be assessed with tests based on classical test theory or on modern testing methods like Item Response Theory, Rasch scaling and Latent Trait assessment. While subjective methods (like clinical interviews) tap this aspect their subjectivity is rightly criticized. In Lind’s work, theory, method and application are perfectly aligned.
Even though Lind’s book has a scientific basis it is written in a clear language. It contains many practical examples which help to understand his sometimes unusual thoughts. It is written mainly for teachers in all fields but also for researchers and scholars who will find quotes of many little known studies and a great wealth of references. Because of the ambiguity of many psychological terms, Lind decided not to add a subject index but a glossary in which his central terms are clearly defined. I am sure that the book will be well received.
I think that Lind’s book will stimulate a paradigm shift in psychology as a science and practice. Because his new method of psychological measurement lets psychologists now study the structure of personality objectively, a lot of structural theories and hypotheses can be tested empirically now for the first time. He demonstrates this in his book by testing Piaget’s theory of affective-cognitive parallelism which is theoretically well founded but has never been adequately tested before because of a lack of appropriate data. Lind’s data prove Piaget’s ideas very well.”
Dr. Richard Felder, Hoechst Celanese Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University. Co-author of “Teaching and Learning STEM: A Practical Guide” (Jossey-Bass, 2016):
“How to Teach Morality is an extraordinary book. It deals with several important and perplexing questions that philosophers, theologians, psychologists, and educators have wrestled with for millennia. What is morality? Can it be taught? If so, how and by whom? Professor Lind has devoted decades to exploring these questions from both theoretical and applied points of view. He has concluded that morality can and should be defined as a teachable and assessable competence, and he has developed a moral education system (the Konstanz Method of Dilemma Discussion) and tested it with populations ranging from students to prisoners in countries on several continents. Using an instrument he developed and validated to assess moral competence, he consistently observed significant and—importantly—persistent growth in moral competence in the populations he studied.
Lind’s mastery of the history and philosophy of morality and moral education is quite apparent, as he quotes voluminously from sources ranging from Socrates, Kant, and Spinoza to Piaget, Kohlberg, and Pinker. Fortunately, unlike many authors in his field who write dense prose seemingly designed to impress or intimidate non-expert readers, he writes of the complex issues bound up in morality in a beautifully clear and persuasive manner. He also makes a powerful case for the strong current need for effective moral education, drawing excellent examples from recent world history. I have no doubt that widespread adoption by educators of the methods Lind lays out in the book would make life better for a substantial portion of the world’s citizenry. I hope the right people read it.”
Source: Amazon.co.uk customer reviews.
Thomas E. Wren Ph.D., Professor for Ethics, Loyola University, Chicago
In his How to Teach Morality Professor Lind brings together the theory and practice of moral education, drawing from classical and contemporary ethical theory, cognitive development theory, and moral psychology. For instance, he develops his concept of "moral competence" by drawing on Jean Piaget's notion of underlying cognitive structures and Lawrence Kohlberg's adaptation of these structures is the capacity to take the perspective of other agents (e.g., the ability to understand the very idea of rights).
Like Piaget and Kohlberg, Lind sees moral development as an essentially cognitive process of increasingly adequate perspective taking. However, he goes on to discuss the pedagogy that promotes wider and more adequate forms of moral thinking, even to the point of bringing students to see moral issues in terms of abstract universal rights. In other words, morality can be taught: or more accurately, it is an active ability that can be learned. As Lind explains, morality is a matter of developed competence rather than simply having the right attitude or temperament. From this it follows, he argues, that educators should avoid the traditional methods of moral education such as moral lecturing or punishing for immoral behavior.
Matters become more complicated when Lind criticizes the position represented by Piaget and Kohlberg regarding the relationship between morality and democracy. He criticizes them (especially Kohlberg in his later work) for assuming that effective moral education presupposes a democratic context, which is to say that 'education only truly prepares citizens for active engagement in democratic processes and decisions if it is structured to democratic processes.” On the contrary,' Lind argues, 'morality (and hence moral education) is a prerequisite for a successful democratization of school and society.'
About halfway through the book Lind asks whether moral development is determined by genes, environment, or education (p. 91). After a detailed discussion of the first two alternatives, he opts for the third one (education), and explains in detail his own approach of 'dilemma discussion. He shares with his readers his experiences with the Kohlbergian “Just Community” (JC) method and – in considerable detail – his own so-called 'Konstanz Method of Dilemma Discussion' (KMDD).
All in all, this book is a tour de force, rich in content and careful in its details, especially the empirical evidence he provides in support of the various approaches he outlines. Of special interest, in my view at least, are the parallels (and distinctions) he draws between moral education and civic education.
Reviews of "Moral ist lehrbar"
(of which "How to teach morality" includes several chapters)
Brigitte Schumann, writer, former high school teacher:
“Hinter dieser These [Moral ist lehrbar] von Prof. Georg Lind verbirgt sich kein neuerlicher Versuch, unsere Schulen
moralisch 'aufzurüsten'. Hier wird keine sogenannte Werteerziehung aus der pädagogischen
'Mottenkiste' geholt und gegen das ideologische Feindbild der 68er Generation in Stellung gebracht. ... Lind kann darauf verweisen, dass er die Wirksamkeit der KMDD für unterschiedliche Teilnehmergruppen
in verschiedenen Institutionen und Ländern erprobt hat. Vor diesem Hintergrund stellt er die Frage,
warum die KMDD noch nicht Eingang in die Lehrerbildung gefunden hat.” (23.5.2016; https://bildungsklick.de/bildung-und-gesellschaft/meldung/moral-ist-lehrbar/) more
“Behind this thesis [morality can be taught] by professor Georg Lind no new attempt is no hiden agenda 'arm' schools with morality. Here no so-called values education is digged out again and set in opposition to the bogeyman of the 68er generation. ... Lind can point at the fact that he examined the efficacy of the KMDD for various participants in different institutions and countries. On this background the question arises why the KMDD has not yet be integrated into teacher education.”
Fiona Ross, lecturer, English language teaching:
“Insgesamt bietet das ganze Buch eine hoch interessante Lektüre, und ermöglicht dabei einen Bogen zwischen fundiertem Wissen und praktischen Erfahrungen zu spannen. Letztlich, so Lind, können Menschen fast jeden Alters Moralkompetenz lernen oder weiterentwickeln, jedoch unter der Voraussetzung, dass dafür gesorgt wird.” (personal communication, 2016) more
“As a whole, the book provides a highly interesting reading, and makes it possible to span a bridge between grounded knowledge and practical experiences. In the end, so Lind, people if almost any age can learn moral competence or develop it on, but only under the condition that it is fostered."
Marcus Syring, lecturer, educational science, University of Munich:
“Linds Buch Moral ist lehrbar zeichnet
sich durch einen lesenswerten Theorieteil
aus, in dem stets auf der Basis profunder
Quellen und unter Bezug auf einschlägige
Autoren argumentiert wird. Weiterhin
vermittelt es einen guten Eindruck in die
Arbeit mit den Methoden der Dilemma-Diskussion
und der Just-Community und
bietet eine Fülle praktischer Anwendungsmöglichkeiten.” (Pädagogische Rundschau, 3/2016, pp. 348-352) more
“Lind's book 'Moral ist lehrbar' contains an excellent and readable theory part, in which he argues always on the basios of profound sources and authors. Moreover, it gives a good impression of the work with the method of dilemma discussion and Just Community, and a wealth of opportunities for prctical applications.”
Author of: Dimensionen historisch-politischen Bewusstseins von Jugendlichen. Schüleräußerungen in einem genetischen Lehrstück. Springer VS: Wiesbaden, 2012. [Dimensions of histroic-political consciousness vo youth.]
Martina Reinicke, ethics teacher:
“Es ist darüber hinaus ein ausgezeichnetes Arbeitsbuch für erste eigene
Versuche auf dem Gebiet der Dilemma-Diskussion. Nicht die schlechteste Idee in der heutigen
Zeit. Es macht Appetit auf mehr, Lust darauf, sogar ein Profi auf diesem Gebiet zu werden,
sich also selbst . . . zum KMDD-Lehrer ausbilden zu lassen…” more
“Moreover, it is an excellent working book for own first attempts in the area of dilemma discussion. Not a bad idea in these times. It creates appetite for more, lust to become a professional in this area, that is, to get a training as KMDD-Teacher...”
Sibylle Reinhardt, Professor em. for Didactics of Social Studies*:
“Der Aufbau des Buches gibt ein Beispiel, wie in der Zukunft pädagogische Empfehlungen für Unterricht und Schule auszusehen haben... Diese Dreiteilung von Theorie, Praxis und Empirie dürfte der Standard für pädagogische Entwicklungen werden, die nicht nur appellieren, sondern handhabbar demonstrieren und Effekte nachweisen können.” (Politisches Lernen 1/04, S. 2) more
“The design of the book gives an example how educational recommendations for instruction and school should look in future. ... This threefold division of theory, practice, and empirical research might become the standard for pedagogical developments which do not only claim, but demonstrate hands-on and show proof for effects.”
Andrea Quitz, Medicine and medical ethics*:
“Moral ist lehrbar: Diese Feststellung kann aktueller nicht sein. Sie kann auch als Appell verstanden werden. Bleibt zu hoffen, dass dieses Buch von Entscheidungsträgern in Bildung und Politik wahrgenommen wird.” (2016, personal communication) more
“Morality can be taught: This statement cannot be any more topical. It can also be undertstood as a plea. I hope this book will be read by decision-makers in education and politics.”
Author of: Staat, “Macht, Moral. Die medizinische Ethik in der DDR.” Berlin: Metropol publisher, 2015. [State, power, morality. The medical ethics in the German Democratic Republic, GDR]
Detelf Träbert, editor of Aktion Humane Schule:
“Das Buch Moral ist lehrbar [ist] für alle
nützlich und hilfreich, die mit jungen Menschen arbeiten.
Schließlich geht es um die Basis des Miteinanders.” more
“The book Morality can be Taught is useful and helpful for all who work with young people. Eventually it deals with the foundation of living together.”
Agnieszka Vojta, foreign office coordinator of the University of Konstanz:
“Wichtig scheint die Erkenntnis, dass Förderung moralischer Kompetenz keinesfalls auf Ethikunterricht beschränkt sein sollte, sondern in allen Fächern einsetzbar ist. Fazit: Moral ist lehrbar und lernbar und sie zu lehren bzw. zu lernen kann sogar Spaß machen, wenn man die Konstanzer Methode der Dilemma Diskussion anwendet.” more
“Important seems the insight, that the fostering of moral competence is not confined to ethics classes at all, but is applicable in all subject fields. In sum: Morality can be taught and learned and to teach, and to learn it can even be fun if one uses the Konstanz Method of Dilemma Discussion.”
Wilhelm Peterßen, Professor em. for General Didactics:
“Für mich ist der vorliegende Bericht auch eine Streitschrift: Lind
streitet dafur, in Schule und Unterricht nicht nur auf kognitives Lernen zur Förderung von
Sachkompetenz Wert zu legen (obwohl ihm ganz klar ist, daß auch Moral ohne diese im
luftleeren Raume hinge!), sondern demokratiefahiges Verhalten in eben demselben Maße
anzustreben, zumal es sich über Moralförderung ja als erreichbar erwiesen hat.” more
“For me this book is also a polemic: Lind contends that in instruction not only subject teaching should be emphasized (whereby Lind realizes that morality cannot be without this!), but also democratic competencies and behavior, especially considering that this is feasible through fostering morality.”
More testimonials and endorsments of the KMDD