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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 51398 Find in a Library
Title: DEMOCRATIC EDUCATION AND THE PREVENTION OF DELINQUENCY (FROM SCHOOL CRIME AND DISRUPTION, 1978, BY ERNST WENK AND NORA HARLOW - SEE NCJ-51386)
Author(s): P SCHARF
Corporate Author: Responsible Action
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: Responsible Action
Davis, CA 95616
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A COGNITIVE-DEVELOPMENT APPROACH TO THE MORAL REEDUCATION OF DELINQUENTS IS DISCUSSED, AND THE STRUCTURE FOR SUCH AN APPROACH IS ILLUSTRATED IN PRISON AND SCHOOL CONTEXTS.
Abstract: VARIOUS THEORIES OF THE ETIOLOGY OF DELINQUENCY ARE BRIEFLY REVIEWED, AND ATTENTION IS GIVEN TO THE WORK OF A GROUP OF RESEARCHERS WHO HAVE SOUGHT TO APPLY DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, SOCIOLOGY, AND ETHICAL THEORIES TO THE PROBLEM OF DELINQUENCY. THE THEORY AND METHODS USED DIFFER FROM TRADITIONAL APPROACHES IN OFFERING A THEORY OF DEVELOPMENT WHICH LOOKS AT THE EVOLUTION OF THINKING IN A SOCIAL CONTEXT. TO EXEMPLIFY THIS PERSPECTIVE, AN EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM FOR DELINQUENT YOUTH IN A MEDIUM SECURITY PRISON IN CONNECTICUT, ONE FOR A WOMEN'S PRISON IN CONNECTICUT, AND PROGRAMS USED IN PUBLIC SCHOOL SETTINGS WITH HIGH PERCENTAGES OF STUDENTS WHO HAVE BEEN IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW ARE DESCRIBED AND DISCUSSED. THE THEORETICAL STRUCTURE FOR CRITICIZING THE PROGRAMS IS DERIVED FROM IDEAS ABOUT SOCIAL PROGRESS GENERATED FROM RESEARCH BY LAWRENCE KOHLBERG, WHICH HOLDS THAT RATIONALIZATIONS ABOUT BEHAVIOR IN A SOCIAL CONTEXT PROCEED THROUGH SIX STAGES CONSIDERED TO MARK ADVANCING LEVELS OF MATURITY IN THINKING ABOUT SOCIAL BEHAVIOR. THE PROGRAMS CONSIDERED USED GROUP INTERACTION TO DISCUSS HYPOTHETICAL AND ACTUAL SITUATIONS WHERE BEHAVIORAL DECISIONMAKING OF SOME SIGNIFICANCE TO THE MEMBERS OF THE GROUP IS DISCUSSED. BY USING APPROPRIATE TESTING WITH EXPERIMENTAL AND CONTROL GROUPS, IT WAS FOUND THAT A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF THOSE IN THE EXPERIMENTAL GROUPS, AS COMPARED WITH THOSE IN THE CONTROL GROUPS, MADE ADVANCES TO MORE MATURE LEVELS OF MORAL THINKING. IN THE SCHOOL CONTEXT, THE PROGRAM TOOK THE FORM OF PROVIDING A STRUCTURE FOR STUDENTS TO FORMULATE RULES AND RENDER DECISIONS REGARDING SANCTIONS FOR RULE VIOLATIONS, IN ORDER TO GIVE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR VOCAL EXPRESSION OF MORAL VALUES, WHICH IN TURN WOULD EXPOSE PARTICIPANTS TO INTERACTION WITH MORAL VIEWS OF FELLOW PARTICIPANTS MORE MATURE THAN THEMSELVES. FROM THE DISCUSSION OF THESE PROGRAMS, IT IS ARGUED THAT STUDENT SELF-GOVERNMENT OFFERS A SOLID POSSIBILITY OF EXERTING A POSITIVE EFFECT UPON STUDENT MORAL THINKING AND BEHAVIOR. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Connecticut; Correctional institutions (adult); Education; Inmate Programs; Juvenile delinquency prevention; Students
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51398

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