FRONTIERS IN MORAL NEUROEDUCATION: THE APPROACH OF DARCIA NARVAEZ
Neuroeducation has been understood so far from its birth in the “decade of the brain” (1990) as an interdisciplinary field that studies the developmental learning processes in human brain. It encompasses the progressive introduction of the neuroscientific study in learning and teaching methodologies (Howard-Jones, 2011; Goswami, 2004). Taking into account the neural bases of human learning, neuroeducation looks not only for a theoretical knowledge but also for a practical such as creating new methodologies, reviewing classical assumptions of learning or studying the disorders of apprenticeship (Tokuhama-Espinosa, 2011).
Mostly focused in the acquisition processes and the disorders in mathematics and language spheres, neuroeducation has set an unprecedented breakthrough. However, could neuroeducation open up to other domains? Could we talk about “moral neuroeducation”? This term is undoubtedly controversial and it needs a clarification and a justification from a philosophical perspective. Therefore, the first goal in this study will be trying to define that concept.
One of the few approaches that have been proposed on this regard is The Integrative Ethical Education Model (IEE) (Narvaez, 2006). Consequently, the second objective of this study is to deepen in this interdisciplinary and integrative approach to educate the moral character in schools and individuals. Based on various studies from different fields (in the theory of bioecological systems, and in neurobiological, anthropological, and emotional learning studies) the IEE aims to promote human development through a system of activities based on the apprentice-expert instruction, and positive social influences on the brain and behavior, resulting in personal and group empowerment. This model is based on work on climate and the environment as key factors of moral development and claims to overcome the traditional moral education focused specially on rationalism and judgement theories (Narvaez, 2010).
Needless to say that moral education has often been forgotten and marginalized from the academic curricula and educational plans. And even more, has been completely ignored in the processes of teaching training. Darcia Narvaez’s proposal aims to rethink moral education widely taking into account the neuroscience advances (Narvaez, et al., 2016).
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