Teaching for Moral Imagination

An Interdisciplinary Exploration

Pamela Bolotin Joseph, University of Washington Bothell

Published 2024

Teaching for Moral Imagination: An Interdisciplinary Exploration examines the multifaceted nature of morality and ethics, moral development, and moral education so to provide educators with a clear yet complex understanding of theories, issues, practices, and curricular content. This text is intended to be an accessible work of academic significance that inspires educators’ deliberation about personal and societal values as well as approaches for fostering children’s and adolescents’ moral development, cultivating ethical classrooms and schools, and creating transformative moral education curricula.

Teaching for Moral Imagination will be a pertinent text for teacher preparation courses that specifically focus on the moral dimensions of education as well as more comprehensive classes about teaching, teachers, and classroom culture. Such classes are offered in undergraduate and graduate teacher preparation programs, professional studies for experienced teachers, educational studies classes in the liberal arts, and doctoral seminars for students becoming teacher educators and educational leaders. This book also is intended as a source for teachers’ professional development in schools and for reading groups. Finally, in our contemporary societies emphasizing extreme individualism, competition, conformity, and prejudice as well as unexamined beliefs leading to violence in words and actions, it is crucial to consider how schools can encourage ethical reasoning, compassion, and transformative alternatives for moral education.


"Teaching for Moral Imagination is a remarkable book and a wonderful contribution to the field. It is a must read for anyone trying to make sense of the multi-faceted moral nature of schooling. Everyone who pursues a career in teaching is fundamentally drawn to the moral dimensions of their work, but there is little, if any, emphasis given to those fundamental moral features in teacher preparation programs and teacher professional development. In this book, Dr. Joseph does the difficult work of both conceptualizing the moral domain and illustrating these dimensions in way that will uniquely help teachers and school leaders develop elegant moral language and fully understand their role as moral educators and moral agents. It is an outstanding contribution from a scholar who brings the philosophy of morality and the psychology of moral development to bear on life in classrooms." — Rich Osguthorpe, Brigham Young University

"In her book, Teaching for Moral Imagination, Pamela Joseph shows profoundly how moral values are embedded in education and in the pedagogical role of teachers. Joseph brings together many different perspectives on moral education, including philosophical and psychological foundations, and develops her interesting own position with a focus on moral imagination. She argues for “widening ethical perspectives, encouraging critical reflection on values, stimulating new perspectives about how to be moral human beings, and creating just and caring classroom and school communities”. Joseph’s book can inspire teachers and researchers in their work on preparing young people for future society." — Wiel Veugelers, University of Humanistic Studies

"This is an incredibly complex and wonderful book. When you read Teaching for Moral Imagination, what will become clear is what educators need to learn and do to transform the wider ethical environment all around us. This is invaluable reading for all teachers, school and district leaders and teacher educators who realise the significance of ethics in education and who seek to critically engage with the potential of human and social moral development. Joseph offers a rich vision of interdisciplinary scholarship and on her horizon is nonviolence for all forms of life on the planet. The book conceptualises how moral imagination generates powerful insights into individual, social and cultural normative diversity and explores a range of transformative moral curricula to grow future generations’ capacities for tackling complex relations and global challenges." — Daniella J. Forster, University of Newcastle, Australia

Preface. Acknowledgements. Introduction. CHAPTER 1: Morality, Ethics, and the Moral Imagination. CHAPTER 2: Human Nature and Morality. CHAPTER 3: Becoming Moral: Emotions and Reasoning. CHAPTER 4: Becoming Moral: Culture and Socialization. CHAPTER 5: Moral Socialization and School Culture. CHAPTER 6: Moral Schools and Classrooms. CHAPTER 7: Moral Education Curricula: From Tradition to Transformation. CHAPTER 8: Ethical Teachers and the Moral Imagination. About the Author. Index.