This book originated from the EARLI SIG 13 conference professionals’ ethos and education for responsibility which was held in July 2016 in Salzburg, Austria. SIG 13 addresses questions of moral and democratic education from a scientific perspective with a particular focus on theoretically founded empirical research. Moral education means education to improve the learner’s moral competence and actions, and democratic education deals with the furthering of democratic knowledge, attitudes, and actions in all their facets. Moral and democratic competences are key issues in today’s society. Competencies of this kind are topics in the school curricula of most countries; however, moral and democratic education mostly play a minor role in teaching, and where it is considered as necessary, it is usually not based on research outcomes but on traditions which often are quite questionable from a scientific point of view. The aim of SIG 13 is to promote warranted moral and democratic education, i.e., moral and democratic education that capitalizes on research in learning, development, and education, both in school and outside.
The conference theme focused on professionals’ ethos and education for responsibility. Very broadly, professionals’ ethos is seen as considering moral issues when interacting with each other in a professional context. Responsibility means, on the one hand, complying with some external requirements (e.g., legal norms, authoritative prescriptions, rules) and on the other hand, complying with one’s own conscience or values system (internal requirements). Education for responsibility, finally, means, first, an ethically justified requirement to consider the target person’s responsibility as an educational goal, especially fostering the students’ internal requirements (values system). Secondly, it means that adequate means are addressed how to achieve this (and other) goals.
Based on an internal review of the organizers and editors of this book ten out of 58 papers of the conference were selected and the authors were invited to submit an extended version of their presentation as a chapter of this book. All chapters have undergone strict peer review. The chapter authors attempted to draw from established concepts of professionals’ ethos and education for responsibility and build from the base of empirical literature to push the field forward and offer new insights.
This book is useful for researchers, methodologists, students, and practitioners from different disciplines with interest in professionals’ ethos and education for responsibility as well as in moral and democratic education in general.