Donnerstag, 14. April 2016, 16:00 - 18:00 iCal

Kolloquium LehrerInnenbildung

Elina Kuusisto (Universität Helsinki): Teachers' moral competence in pedagogical encounters

Zentrum für LehrerInnenbildung, Seminarraum des ZLB
Porzellangasse 4, Stiege 2, 3. Stock, 1090 Wien


In the context of the diverse and multicultural school community, the values of teachers, parents and children are in a constant dialog with each other. In these kinds of contexts teachers are compelled to participate in various ideological, pedagogical and interpersonal negotiations, which are deeply moral in nature and affect the life-world of the students (Rissanen, Kuusisto, & Tirri, 2015). In many European countries such as in Finland, education aims to support the development of the whole person rather than merely the cognitive domain (National Core Curriculum for Basic Education, 2014). This type of education acknowledges the importance of the social and affective domains in students’ development, including their emotional and moral concerns. Students benefit both socially and academically when supported by a caring classroom and school environment (Noddings, 1992; Tirri & Husu, 2006). Thus alongside the didactical aspect, which is needed to help students improve their learning, teaching has a strong moral dimension and therefore teachers need the moral competence to educate and support the “whole” student.


This lecture explores teachers’ moral competence from three theoretical viewpoints: ethical sensitivity (Bebeau, Rest, & Narvaez, 1999), purpose in life (Damon, Menon, & Bronk, 2003) and growth mindset (implicit theories) (Dweck, 2000). The culturally-bound nature of ethical sensitivity in teaching contexts (Gholami, Kuusisto, & Tirri, 2015; Kuusisto & Tirri, 2012) and teachers’ competence to teach purpose (Kuusisto, Gholami, & Tirri, 2016) are explored with empirical studies from Finland and Iran. Further, teachers’ implicit theories (Laine, Kuusisto, & Tirri, 2016) and, in particular, their actualization in natural environments (Rissanen, Kuusisto, Hanhimäki, & Tirri, 2016; Schmidt, Shumow, & Kackar-Cam, 2015) are presented to illustrate the powerful effects of teachers’ implicit meaning systems on their ways of interpreting students’ behavior, learning, and achievements.



Zentrum für LehrerInnenbildung


Katherine Czechowski
Univ. Wien, Zentrum für LehrerInnenbildung