Young Adults' Moral Eduation: A Critical Reflective Thinking Approach

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


This thesis proposes a theoretical educational model, described as intentional education, based on critical reflective thinking and characterized by a dialogical and dialectical educational environment. The educational aim is characterized by the five R's: responsibleness, reasonableness, reflectiveness, respectfulness and relationship. Intentional education expands on the constructivist theory and incorporates critical reflective thinking as psychological and educational tools. It recognizes the importance of the spiritual dimension early in the education and moral development of people. A theoretical curriculum model is provided to train educators, counselors and religious administrators and to show how intentional education differs from basic values, values clarification and cognitive constructivist theories. This thesis focuses on young adults and the effect of overprotective, authoritarian parenting on their moral development. Specifically, the focus is on young adults who are enmeshed in a particular crisis of moral development and who are the products of a caring and authoritarian parenting style. The argument is made that these young adults experience both moral and identity crises which stunt their consistent development and that these crises surface later in adulthood than previously noted in the literature. Four important dimensions to the problems and dilemmas confronted during young adulthood are discussed: (1) educational: cultivation of career or vocational choices; (2) psychological: cultivation of relationships, public and private; (3) sociological: cultivation of social and community values; and (4) theological: determination of moral and spiritual values. One of its goals is to generate knowledge with understanding that serves academic and nonacademic pursuits. The claim is made that knowledge without the understanding of its social and moral consequences does not promote the moral development of a just, responsible and thoughtful multicultural society. Education and moral development mean more than knowing what to do; rather they represent understanding, self-consistency and knowledge of what kind of human to be. For people to understand what they are taught, they need to reflect critically on their behavior, actions and feelings. To do this they must emotionally wrestle, with themselves, with the past, with the present and with the future, and fully utilize imagination and critical reflective thinking.


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