Promoting Moral Intelligence – Part 3 of a series on BullyingLark S. Escobar
In my first article, I discussed bullying in the classroom, and in my second I looked at the 7 C’s of preventive behaviors that build resilience. Another aspect of preventing bullying is to promote moral intelligence development among students. According to Dr. Michelle Borba*, there are 7 Essential Virtues of Moral Intelligence and Solid Character (2001). These are:
- Empathy– identifying and feeling other people’s concerns
- Conscience– knowing how to and acting decently
- Self-Control- regulating yourself so you behave in alignment with what you know is right
- Respect– showing others that you value them by being courteous and considerate
- Kindness– demonstrating concern for the well being and feelings of others
- Tolerance– respecting the dignity of all humans, even those who are different from us
- Fairness– being open-minded and acting in fair ways
As educators, we can help our students learn to cultivate their moral core by modeling, reinforcing desired behaviors with recognition or praise, roleplaying and having students generate desired social behaviors. When this standard is established in our classrooms, we raise the bar for integrity and promote citizenship skills. All of these behaviors help mitigate bullying in and out of the classroom, substituting positive, desired skills in place of the negative, abuse behaviors that prevent inclusivity in the classroom.
If learners have mastered these skills, a platform for more advanced character development is primed. Other virtuous behaviors can be promoted in our learners’ moral growth, like self-discipline, humility, courage, temperance, mercy, and altruism. All of these advanced skills foster bystander intervention and work cooperatively in helping all students achieve success.
*Borba, M. (2001). Building moral intelligence: The seven essential virtues that teach kids to do the right thing. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.