Issues in constructivist early moral education
Early Education and Development
The authors address Goodman’s critique of constructivist moral education as articulated by DeVries and Zan (1994) and respond to her proposal that constructivist education be blended with traditional moral education as advocated by Wynne (1991). The authors cite empirical evidence contrary to Goodman’s assertion that preschool children are egocentric and incapable of moral reflection. This difference links to dramatically opposed views on the educational implications of Piaget’s research and theory. Goodman advocates that teachers should “exploit the child’s natural heteronomy” by giving children rules and demanding obedience. The authors cite empirical evidence showing that heteronomous regulation of children leads to a host of undesirable outcomes and that encouragement of children’s autonomy leads to positive outcomes.The authors also point out a number of misconceptions of constructivist education as propounded by DeVries and Zan. They discuss Goodman’s specific suggestions for blending constructivist and traditional moral education, and conclude that such a blending contradicts considerable research on child development and early education and eliminates critical components of constructivist early moral education. © 2002, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
Devries, Rheta; Zan, Betty; and Hildebrandt, Carolyn, "Issues in constructivist early moral education" (2002). Faculty Publications. 3413.