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Cultural meaning of group discussions on problematic moral situations in Korean kindergarten classrooms.

Cultural Meaning of Group Discussions on Problematic Moral Situations in Korean Kindergarten Classrooms--Hong

Drawing upon literature within cognitive science, cultural psychology, and the development of morality, this study examines the role of Korean teachers in helping young kindergarten children engage in group discussion on awkward moral situations in their classrooms. Furthermore, the goal of this study was to elucidate the Korean sociocultural values that emerged from the children's discussions and the views of the teachers. Three kindergarten teachers and approximately 90 five-year-old children were observed and audio- and videotaped in three different classrooms over a 68-day period engaged in group discussions about difficult moral situations. The teachers employed a variety of common social problems and picture stimuli as prompts for discussion and then engaged the children in group discussions about possible solutions to the problems. Individual teacher interviews also were conducted in order to obtain a more complete picture of their intentions and practices. Hong reviewed and coded the audio and video data and used member checks and other methods to confirm the validity of the patterns. Strategic teacher practices were found to have a strong impact on group discussions. These included teacher scaffolding, using familiar visual cues to support discussion, brainstorming, clarifying, and sharing one's own experiences. Additionally, through teacher interviews, Hong noted a consistent sociocultural perspective that supported Korean values of interconnectedness and interdependence. The teachers within this study see their role as one of facilitating the children to construct a sense of self through others. The author suggests that more research is needed to identify other ways that teachers can scaffold moral discussion. Furthermore, additional research is required in order to understand how morality is defined and developed in different cultures.
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Title Annotation:Spring 2004
Author:Kelley, Michael F.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Sep 22, 2004
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