Stephen Thoma and David Ian Walker
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.
At its core, moral and character education aims to develop the moral person. The development of this end state has been hindered by interests from different theoretical positions, differences between practitioners and theoreticians, different assumptions about how far this is educable, and associated measurement problems. Traditionally, moral education is concerned with the interpretation and strategies one uses to understand moral phenomena and defines the moral person as a predominantly thinking entity, whereas character education emphasizes the development of habits and dispositions as a precondition for the moral person. Current interest is in finding commonalities across these traditions towards the achievement of human flourishing. These points of intersection have often been overlooked, but current work is demonstrating the importance of interdisciplinary approaches. These exciting new advances have important implications for practitioners, researchers, and policy makers.