The Factors Affecting Moral Competency of Iranian Undergraduate Students Majoring in English Language and Literature: Investigating the Role of Applied ELT in Iranian Collectivist Culture

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Ferdowsi University of Mashhad

2 Ferdowsi university of Mashhad

Abstract

In a broad dichotomy, cultures are divided into collectivists and individualists. This difference between cultures is manifested in educational settings and the way students and teachers approach educational tasks and activities (Hofstede, 1986). This study investigated the way the dominant culture can affect the cognitive and affective load of classrooms and eventually account for the development of students’ moral judgment. To this end, 400 Iranian university students majoring in English language and literature were asked to complete FAMC test (Javadimehr et al., 2015a). This test measures the role of four factors of “focus, sharing, challenge and support” in the development of moral competency. The results revealed that there was a growth in the pattern of affective and cognitive factors from the first to the last year of studying in this major. The results also indicated that “challenge” was the least attended cognitive factor but “support” was always the most prevalent factor in all academic years. The findings are then discussed by taking into account the findings of other related studies conducted in individualist and collectivist societies.

Keywords


Bellah, R. N., Madsen, R., Sullivan, W. M., Swidler, A., & Tipton, S. M. (1985).  Habits of the heart. New York: Perennial Liberary.
Bond, R., & Smith, P. B. (1996). Culture and conformity: A meta-analysis of studies using Asch’s line judgment task. Psychological Bulletin, 119, 111-137.
Coulmas, F. (1981). Poison to your soul: Thanks and apologies contrastively viewed. Hague: Mouton.
Cummings, R., Dyas, L. & Maddux, C.D. (2001) Principled moral reasoning and behavior of preservice teacher education students. American Educational Research Journal, 38, 143–158.
Davidson, B. (1998). Critical thinking faces the challenge of Japan. Inquiry, 14(3),      41-53.
Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Seabury press.
Greif, A. (1994). Cultural beliefs and the organization of society: A historical and
     Theoretical reflection on collectivist and individualist societies. The Journal of
     Political Economy 102, 5, 912-950.
Hoff, K., Kshetramade, M., Fehr, E. (2011). Caste and punishment: The legacy of caste culture in norm enforcement. Economic Journal, 121, 449-475.
Hofstede, G. (1980). Cultures’ consequences. International differences in work-related Values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Hofstede, G. (1986). Cultural differences in teaching and learning. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 10, 301-320.
    Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences. Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Javadimehr, S., Hosseini, A., Ghonsooly, B., & Pishghadam, R. (2015a).      Constructing and validating a scale to measure the factors affecting EFL      Learners’ moral competency. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 2(5), 152-167.
Javadimehr, S., Hosseini, A., Ghonsooly, B., & Pishghadam, R. (2015b).      Investigating the role of academic education on the development of Iranian EFL learners’ moral competency. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 2(5), 164-180.
Kashima, E. S. & Kashima, Y. (1998). Culture and language: The case of cultural dimensions of personal pronoun use. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 29, 461-486.
Kim, U. (1994). Individualism and collectivism: Conceptual clarification and elaboration. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Kohlberg, L. (1969). Stage and sequence: the cognitive-developmental approach to socialization. In D. A. Goslin (Ed.), Handbook of socialization-theory and research (pp. 156-242). Chicago: McNally.
Kumatoridani, T. (1994). The speech act of thanking. Nihongogaku, 13(7), 63-71. Lind, G. (1985). Growth and regression in moral-cognitive development. In C.      Harding (Ed.), Moral dilemmas: Philosophical and psychological issues in the  development of moral reasoning (pp. 99-114). Chicago Precedent Publishing     Inc.           
Lind, G. (1988). The importance of role-taking opportunities for self-sustaining     moral development. Journal of Research in Education, 1, 25-36. Chicago: Public Press
Lind, G. (2000). Review and appraisal of the moral judgment test (MJT).       University of Konstanz. http://www.unikonstanz.de/ag- moral/pdf/Lind-2000_MJT-Review-and-Appraisal.pdf
Lind, G. (2002). Can ethics be taught? Research findings from modern moralpsychology. Berlin: Logos-Verlag.
Lind, G. (2008a). The meaning and measurement of moral judgment competence-        a dual aspect theory. Creskill: Hampton Press.
Lind, G. (2012). Democratic competences and social practices in organizations. Wiesbaden: Springer.
Long, C. (1998). The use of apology expressions in Japanese gratitude situations (Master’s thesis). Osaka University, Japan.
Markus, H., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition
     Emotion, and motivation. Psychological Review, 98, 224-253.
Mezirow, J. (1997). Transformation theory out of context. Adult Education Quarterly, 48(1), 60-72.
Mezirow, J. (2003). Transformative learning as discourse. Journal of Transformative Education, 1(1), 58-63
Miller, D. (1987). Material culture and mass consumption.  Basil Blackwell.
Modgil, S., & Modgil, C. (1976). Piagetian research, compilation and commentary, NFER, Windsor, Berks.
Nakata, T. (1989). The speech act of apology and thanking–a comparison of British English and Japanese. Nihongo Kyouiku, 68, 191-203.
Räder, G., & Wakenhut, R., (1984). Morality and military organization, Paper presented at the seventh Scientific Meeting of ISPP Toronto, June 24-30.
Reiman, A. J. (2000). Promoting reflective practice within a cognitive-structural       framework: Theory, research, and practice. In A. L. Comunian & U. P. Gielen        (Eds.) International perspectives on human development (pp. 507-529). Lengerich, Pabst
Schillinger, M. (2006). Learning environments and moral development: How university education fosters moral judgment competence in Brazil and two German-speaking countries. Aachen: Shaker-Verlag.
Schwartz, S. H. (1994). Beyond individualism and collectivism. New cultural  dimensions of values. Newbury Park, C. A.: Sage.
Sprinthall, N., & Reiman, A., & Thies-Sprinthall, L. (1993). Role taking and         reflection promoting the conceptual and moral development of teachers. Journal of Learning and Individual difference, 5(4), 283-299.
Taylor, E. W. (1997). Building upon the theoretical debate: A critical review of           the empirical studies of Mezirow’s transformative learning theory. Adult Education Quarterly, 48, 34-60.
Wakenhut, R. (1984). Life-world morality and moral segmentation in privates of       German Armed Forces. Baden- Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft