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Current and Recent Research

Coming Soon: 3rd Edition: Handbook of Moral and Character Education (Available for pre-order July 2024)

Editors: Larry p. Nucci, Tobias Krettenauer, Winston C. Thompson

The Handbook of Moral and Character Education offers a definitive, state-of-the-art synthesis of leading scholarship in moral and character education. A subject of international interest and the focus of numerous governmental curricular mandates, the moral development and character formation of students is increasingly recognized as an essential component of a well-rounded schooling experience. This comprehensive volume explores the philosophical, psychological, and educational issues that define the field; links robust theoretical and empirical foundations to effective classroom practice; highlights implications for civic engagement and social justice; and follows the lessons learned from moral and character education into contexts outside of schools.


Using Lesson Study with Middle School History Teachers for Domain-based Moral Education (2014-2016)

The Oakland Unified School District requested that the domain-based moral education approach be offered to middle school history teachers district-wide, after the first study (described below) yielded positive results.  Instead of offering one-on-one consultations with individual teachers, a professional inservice was given to teacher leaders in the district, and then grade-specific lesson study groups were formed, which served as the mode of professional development for moral education.


Nine Teacher Leaders (and 7 Controls) from urban middle schools constructed lessons integrating moral education within history.  Each grade level group undertook two research lessons over the course of the year. These lessons integrated developmentally appropriate moral discussions into relevant history content.  These lessons were observed by their fellow group members as well as researchers. 


Researchers measured students' moral reasoning before and after the focal lessons, as well as coded students' discourse during the lessons. They analyzed student talk using the framework of transactive discourse. 

To learn more, download the following presentations which were delivered at AERA (2016) and AME (2016):

This presentation presents the premises of Lesson Study, the teacher preparation process and research design. 


This presentation is a case study with the 7th grade Lesson Study team illustrating processes of teacher development and lesson enactment.  


This presentation presents the formal analysis of outcomes across groups including teacher planning, lesson enactment, and refinement, and measures of student development and teacher knowledge and self-efficacy. 



Using Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA) to Map Moral Discourse

We are very excited to be working with Dr. David Shaffer and Brendan Eagan (University of Wisconsin, Madison) on identifying responsive engagement in student discourse.  Using data from one of the 7th grade lessons generated in the project above, Eagan created this presentation, demonstrating how Epistemic Network Analysis can be used to map moral conversations. 

*For a longer version of the presentation, contact Brendan Eagan at:

Oakland Middle School Research Project: Integrating the Development of Moral Reasoning within the Regular Academic Curriculum (2013-2014)


In this project teachers from three Oakland Unified School District middle schools are identifying opportunities in the social studies curriculum where they can create lessons that combine the teaching of US or World History with reflection and discussion about issues of morality, social norms and conventions and the structure of social systems. The results of this multi year project were first presented at the AERA conference at the beginning of April in Philadelphia, with further findings and presentations by teachers at JPS.


This project was funded through a generous grant from the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation.


View Lessons Created by Oakland Middle School Teachers.

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