The inductive approach on the path from prosocial to ethical conduct–a case study
dr. Petra Štirn Janota

Summary:  Recently, the substantialist view of morality, which is the basis for deductive concepts of education, has had to face considerable criticism coming from contemporary theorists. The criticism emphasizes too strong a focus on the unchangeability of norms and demands, which seem impersonal and stimulate a sense of alienation and the development of conformist behavior. Yet they are not unanimous in—nor do they provide any unambiguous alternative to—how to encourage the development of prosocial and moral behavior in children systematically. The article presents induction as a disciplinary approach and a comprehensive educational model that uses inductive argumentation, recalling and reflecting on experiences in an encouraging environment to make children aware about what is good and bad and thus develop their prosocial and moral action. The origins of induction can be found in Aristotle’s practical wisdom (2002), Levinas’s ethics of the face-to-face (1989, 2006), Honneth’s concept of recognition (2005, 2012) and the concept of the early attunement between child and mother as emphasized by Benjamin (1998, 2000).What they all share is an emphasis they place on the significance of experiences and close encounters with others. Additionally, they do not ignore the importance of their reflection nor the importance of orienting children through dialogues with others, mutual confirmation in relationships, and emotional expression of pleasure or pain. In the second part of the article we present a case study whose results demonstrate a positive effect of the comprehensive inductive approach on children’s social behavior. At the same time, a systematic process-based training model encouraged preschool teachers in our study to consider their active roles and search for adequate educational strategies.

Journal of Contemporary Educational Studies is
published with support of Slovenian Research Agency.