revision: Nov. 12, 2004 |
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Moral Competencies Can be Taught
by Georg Lind
The Konstanz Method of Dilemma Discussion
The Moral Jugment Test
Randomized Intervention Study
In a carefully designed, randomized intervention-experiment with Thai college students, Prof. Sanguan Lerkiatbundit and her associates (2004) found high and sustainable effects of the Konstanz Method of Dilemma Discussion (KMDD) on moral judgment competence. The experimental group gained 12 C-score points (on a 100-point scale) on Lind's (2004) Moral Judgment Test (MJT), and this gain could still be observed six months after the end of the experiment. The intervention consisted of a series of six dilemma discussions over six weeks using the Konstanz method, which has been derived from the Blatt-Kohlberg- method of dilemma discussion. The high average gain is remarkable as the MJT showed a high stability in a separate "reliability" study: r = 0.90, and the C-score remained almost unchanged in the control group. Readers interested in details of the study should contact the first author (address, see below).
This finding is the first independent corroboration of the high effect sizes that the author of the Konstanz method has found in his recent intervention studies (Lind, 2003; 2005). With German teacher and psychology students, he also found gains between 13 and 15 C-score points, and effect sizes of r > 0.65 (maximum r = 1.0). For comparison: the gains with the Blatt-Kohlberg method were -- at average -- about 6 percent points per year, reflecting an median effect size of r = 0.40 (Lind, 2002). The effect sizes of both intervention methods compare favorably to average effect sizes of psychological and educational treatments (r = 0.30; see Lipsey & Wilson, 1993), and to the effect size of good secondary school education (averaging about 3 percent points gain per year). Traditional schools with emphasis on rod learning and tough tests usually show no gain or even an decrease of moral judgment competence. It should also be noted that the MJT's C-score cannot be faked upward, as two experiments (one using the Emler-instruction) have shown (Lind, 2002; 2004).
Moral competencies, it appears, can be taught. However, this "teaching" must be different from traditional instruction and classroom management. It must be open and democratic and it must focus on creating a trustable and supportive learning environment, in which the learner can develop all his/her abilities in the best possible way, that is, not uniformly by drill. The latter method does not show any positive effect on moral-democratic learning besides some superficial, unsustainable adaptation and seems to have no impact on behavior. Effective moral and democratic learning, thus, requires teachers well trained in the art of creating productive learning environments (Lind, 2003).
Lerkiatbundit, S., Utaipan, P., Laohawiriyanon, C., & Teo, A., 2004: Randomized controlled study of the impact of the Konstanz method of dilemma discussion on moral judgement (submitted for publication). Full manuscript (password needed)
Lind, 2002. Ist Moral lehrbar? ... Berlin: Logos. ... more
Lind, 2003: Moral ist lehrbar... München: Oldenbourg. .. more.
Lind: 2004: The meaning and measurement of moral judgment competence revisitied. - A dual-aspect model. ... more.
Lind, 2005/in prep.: The effect size of the Konstanz Method of Dilemma Discussion on moral-democratic learning.
Lipsey, M.W. & Wilson, D. B., 1993: The efficacy of psychological, educational and behavioral treatment. Confirmation from meta-analysis. American Psychologist, 48, 1181-09.
controlled study of the impact of
(submitted for publication; please do not quote)
Lerkiatbundit, RPh, PhD
main objective of the study was to determine the effects of the Konstanz method
of moral dilemma discussion (KMDD) on moral competence in the allied health students.
The study employed the Moral Judgement Test (MJT) as the instrument to monitor
the change of moral judgement. The test was translated from English into Thai
and validated in 247 students in grade nine, grade twelve, and first and second
year pharmacy students. Overall, the scale satisfies four validity criteria: preference
hierarchy, quasi-simplex structure of stage preference, affective-cognitive parallelism,
and positive correlation between education and moral competence score (C-index).
Test-retest reliability with onemonth interval was 0.90.
Lerkiatbundit, Assoc. Prof.