College hosts moral education conference

by Heather Kofke-Egger | 11/18/98 6:00am

Educators, psychologists, theologians, philosophers, sociologists and parents will gather at Dartmouth this week for the Association of Moral Education's annual conference.

The conference, "Informal Influences on Moral Development: Family, Faith, Media and Community," brings together members of the AME from around the world to discuss issues in moral development and moral education.

Dartmouth Education Professor Andrew Garrod will chair the conference and Wendy Conquest of the Ethics Institute is the coordinator. Most events are free and open to Dartmouth faculty, staff and students, but all participants must register at the Hanover Inn.

Planned events include workshops, lectures and panel discussions.

Events begin today at 6:45 p.m. with a special advance screening of the new Pixar and Disney animated film "A Bug's Life," in Spaulding Auditorium. Richard Cook, Chairman of the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, will introduce the film, which is free for Dartmouth Film Society pass-holders. Afterwards, Cook will answer questions about the movie and how it relates to moral development at a session in the Top of the Hop.

Thursday will feature five preconference workshops to help strengthen professional skills and knowledge. "A Bug's Life" will be shown again at 2 p.m. in Spaulding for conference attendees.

A panel consisting of entertainment industry professionals will consider the question "Do the Entertainment Media Set the Moral Agenda for the Country?" at 7:30 p.m. in Cook Auditorium.

Panelists include Theodore Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, Linda Seger, a script consultant, Judith Reisman, specialist in mass media effects, and Ken Wales, an actor and television producer.

Lawrence Blum of the University of Massachusetts at Boston will deliver the Kohlberg Memorial Lecture and keynote address on "Race, Community and Moral Education" at 9 a.m. Friday. Blum is the author of a number of books on morality and recently has focused on women's moral orientation and feminist ethics. He has worked with Carol Gilligan and Lawrence Kohlberg, two highly respected researchers on moral development.

Three workshop sessions will be held later that morning and afternoon. Two of the presenters have come from Bosnia to discuss their work with war-traumatized children. Many Dartmouth faculty will present workshops as well.

Saturday will begin with two more workshop sessions and a poster session from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The Distinguished Community Presentations will take place at 2 p.m. in the Rockefeller Center. Dean of Faculty Edward Berger, Rev. William Sloane Coffin and Dartmouth Professors Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer will present at these, which will conclude the conference.

Dartmouth hosted a similar moral education conference 10 years ago, but this is the first time they have ever hosted an AME conference.

AME was founded in 1976 to provide a forum for dialogue among professionals interested in the moral dimensions of educational theory and practice.

The conference is being sponsored by the Ethics Institute, the Education Department and the Tucker Foundation.