Re-Examining the Source of Morality in Citizenship Education: A Brief Response to Aristotle

  • F Mangena


The work has established that the teaching of moral virtue (as providing a
rationale for authoritative appeals to morality) has been woefully lacking in
African schools today and so there is need to revisit it if children are to be
moulded into good moral citizens. Through the use of conceptual analysis
and the questionnaire method, it was observed that authoritative appeals to morality alone could not increase the child’s moral awareness; neither did it improve the child’s moral reasoning structures. About 60 pupils from four primary schools in Harare participated in this study and the results of the study showed that authoritative appeals to morality did very little in morally conscientising children in primary schools. The study also challenged Aristotle who had argued that moral virtues could not be taught as they were informed by habit (Ostwald, 1962: 33). The work advocated for the position that moral virtue cannot be formed by habit alone. Rather, it can be aided by moral instruction, as this would provide the underlying rationale or justification for authoritatively appealing to moral rules and principles. To this end, the paper re-examined some of the moral rules and principles (as sources of morality) with a view to establishing whether through appealing to such rules and principles, moral virtue can be successfully cultivated in our citizens. These two sources were divided into authoritative and rational appeals to rules and principles in citizenship education.

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eISSN: 1013-3445