Conceptualizing moral literacy

Paul Begley, Nancy A. Tuana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Purpose The purpose of this research is to provide an overview of the fundamental elements of moral literacy. Moral literacy involves three basic components: ethics sensitivity; ethical reasoning skills; and moral imagination. It is the contention of the author that though math and reading literacy is highly valued by the American educational system, moral literacy is extremely undervalued and underdeveloped. Design/methodology/approach In this study the author uses her vast knowledge of moral literacy to break the subject matter into specific and defined subcategories. She then explains each subcategory explicitly using reallife examples to assist the reader in understanding the gravity and meaning behind each separate facet of moral literacy. Findings Moral literacy is a skill that must be crafted and honed by students, and with the aid of teachers who are wellversed in moral subject matter. It is a complex and multifaceted skill set that is interconnected and must therefore be learned completely in order to be used properly. Teaching students about moral literacy is truly necessary if schools wish to produce productive and responsible citizens. Originality/value The study furthers our understanding of moral literacy and how it can play an absolutely vital role in our educational system. The paper not only explains what moral literacy is on a theoretical level, but it puts that theory into specific examples so that the reader can more clearly understand the benefits of acting in a morally literate fashion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-378
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 10 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Public Administration


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