EFL Teachers’ Moral Dilemma and Epistemic Beliefs

Open access


This study investigated the relationship between English teachers’ epistemological beliefs and moral dilemma. In doing so, 70 English teachers were selected from different language institutes and were included in the research sample. The instruments used to collect the data included the Schommer Epistemological Questionnaire (SEQ) and the Defining Issues Test (DIT). The collected data were analyzed using Pearson Product Moment Correlation method and descriptive statistics in SPSS software. The findings revealed that the participants believed that knowledge improves with experience over time, and that there was also an innate ability to acquire knowledge. They also displayed conflicting views about the simplicity/complexity of knowledge. The analysis of different stages of moral development in the views of the English teachers showed an ascending trend in the moral development from stage 2 (the focus on personal interests) through stage 6 (appeal to intuitive moral principles/ideals). Besides, significant differences were found among different stages of moral development as assessed by the EFL teachers and also in terms of the impact of different moral reasoning schemas on the participants when making judgments about different moral dilemmas.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Balakrishnan V. & Narvaez D. (2016). A reconceptualisation of Vygotsky’s ZPD into ZCD in teaching moral education in secondary schools using real-life dilemmas. Cogent Education 3(1) 1–15.

  • Baxter Magolda M.B. (1993). The convergence of rational and interpersonal knowing in young adults’ epistemological development. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association Atlanta.

  • Bendixen L. D. Schraw G. & Dunkle M. E. (1998). Epistemic beliefs and moral reasoning. The Journal of Psychology 132(2) 187–200.

  • Brownlee J. (2001). Knowing and learning in teacher education: A theoretical framework of core and peripheral epistemological beliefs. Asia Pacific Journal of Teacher Education & Development 4(1) 67-190.

  • Campbell E. (2008). The ethics of teaching as a moral profession. Curriculum Inquiry 38 (4) 357–385.

  • Campbell E. (2014). Teaching ethically as a moral condition of professionalism. In Handbook of moral and character education 2nd ed. edited by L. Nucci and D. Narváez 101–118. New York: Routledge.

  • Cano F. (2005). Epistemological beliefs and approaches to learning: Their change through secondary school and their influence on academic performance. British Journal of Educational Psychology 75 203–221.

  • Carr D. (2000). Professionalism and ethics in teaching. London: Routledge.

  • Chan K. (2004). Pre-service teachers’ epistemological beliefs and conceptions about teaching and learning: Cultural implications for research in teacher education. Australian Journal of Teacher Education 29. doi:10.14221/ajte.2004v29n1.1.

  • Chan K.W. & Elliot R.G. (2004). Relational analysis of personal epistemology and conceptions about teaching and learning. Teaching and Teacher Education 20 817-831.

  • Çetin-Dindar A. Kırbulut Z. D. & Boz Y. (2014). Modelling between epistemological beliefs and constructivist learning environment. European Journal of Teacher Education 37 479–496.

  • Chai C. S. Khine M. S. & Teo T. (2006). Epistemological beliefs on teaching and learning: A survey among pre-service teachers in Singapore. Educational Media International 43 285–298. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09523980600926242

  • Chen J. A. Morris D. B. & Mansour N. (2015). Science teachers’ beliefs: Perceptions of efficacy and the nature of scientific knowledge and knowing. In H. Fives & M. G.Gill (Eds.) International handbook of research on teachers’ beliefs (pp. 370–386). New York NY: Routledge.

  • Cheng M. M. H. Chan K. Tang S. Y. F. & Cheng A. Y. N. (2009). Pre-service teacher education students’ epistemological beliefs and their conceptions of teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education 25 319–327.

  • Deniz H. (2011). Examination of changes in prospective elementary teachers’ epistemological beliefs in science and exploration of factors meditating that change. Journal of Science Education and Technology 20 750–760. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10956-010-9268-x

  • Dwyer S. (2009). Moral dumb founding and the linguistic analogy: Methodological implications for the study of moral judgment. Mind & Language 24(3) 274–296.

  • Ferda Bedel E. (2012). An examination of locus of control epistemological beliefs and metacognitive awareness in preservice early childhood teachers. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice 3051-3060.

  • Gibbs J. C. (2013). Moral development and reality: Beyond the theories of Kohlberg Hoffman and Haidt. Oxford University Press.

  • Gill M. Ashton P. & Algina J. (2004). Changing preservice teachers’ epistemological beliefs about teaching and learning in mathematics: An intervention study. Contemporary Educational Psychology 29(2) 164–185.

  • Haidt J. & Bjorklund F. (2008a). Social intuitionists answer six questions about morality. In W. Sinnott-Armstrong (Ed.) Moral psychology: The cognitive science of morality: Intuition and diversity (Vol. 2 pp. 181–218). Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

  • Hansen D. T. (2001). Exploring the moral heart of teaching: Toward a teacher’s creed. New York NY: Teachers College Press.

  • Hart D. Matsuba K. & Atkins R. (2014). The moral and civic effects of learning to serve. In L. Nucci D. Narvaez & T. Krettenauer (Eds.) Handbook on moral and character education (2nd ed. pp. 456–470). New York NY: Routledge.

  • Horgan T. & Timmons M. (2007). Morphological rationalism and the psychology of moral judgment. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 279–295.

  • Kang N. (2008). Learning to teach science: Personal epistemologies teaching goals and practices of teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education 24 478–498. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2007.01.002

  • Kohlberg L. (1971). From is to ought: How to commit the naturalistic fallacy and get away with it in the study of moral development. In T. Mischel (Ed.) Cognitive development and epistemology (pp. 151-284). New York: Academic Press.

  • Levin B. (2015). Development of teachers’ beliefs. In H. Fives & M. G. Gill (Eds.) International handbook of research on teachers’ beliefs (pp. 48–65). New York NY: Routledge.

  • Mansour N. (2013). Consistencies and inconsistencies between science teachers’ beliefs and practices. International Journal of Science Education 35 1230–1275.

  • Noddings N. (2002). Educating moral people: A caring alternative to character education. New York NY: Teachers College Press.

  • Ozgelen S. (2012). Exploring the relationships among epistemological beliefs metacognitive awareness and nature of science. International Journal of Environmental & science Education 7 409–431.

  • Paxton J. M. Ungar L. & Greene J. D. (2011). Reflection and reasoning in moral judgment. Cognitive Science 36 (1) 163–177.

  • Rabin C. & Smith G. (2013). Teaching care ethics: conceptual understandings and stories for learning. Journal of Moral Education 42 164–176.

  • Sanger M. N. (2008). What we need to prepare teachers for the moral nature of their work. Journal of Curriculum Studies 40 (2) 169–185.

  • Saunders L. (2015). What is moral reasoning? Philosophical Psychology 28 (1) 1-20 DOI: 10.1080/09515089.2013.801007

  • Saylan A. Armağan F. O. & Bektaş O. (2016). The relationship between pre-service science teachers’ epistemological beliefs and preferences for creating a constructivist learning environment. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education 4(2) 251-267.

  • Schommer M. (1990). Effects of beliefs about the nature of knowledge on comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology 82(3) 498-504.

  • Schommer M. (1998). The influence of age and education on epistemological beliefs. British Journal of Educational Psychology 68 551-562.

  • Topcu M. S. (2011). Turkish elementary student teachers’ epistemological beliefs and moral reasoning European Journal of Teacher Education 34 (1) 99-125.

Journal information
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 132 132 24
PDF Downloads 126 126 24