Until now, many studies in the fields of the educational sciences and moral education in America have been introduced to people in Japan; many of these studies have summarized trends in education and were focused on aspects of teaching. Yet, even in America sufficient studies have not been conducted focusing on aspects of learning such as the question of how scholars can learn morality and what they can learn in relation to it. The American researcher who has made serious efforts to address this question is Stephan Ellenwood in his article How do we learn Virtue, Character, Morals and Social Responsibility?
Ellenwood first examines subjects such as morality (what do we learn) and establishes what we learn as a “question of character.” This question of character states that the educational content that is learned in morality should be human virtues such as kindness and honesty. Next, he classifies our learning methods (how we learn) into the following three categories: 1) propositional analysis that is a form of logical positivist learning, 2) narrative analysis that is a form of literary emotional learning, and 3) experiences and deep reflections that are forms of individualistic learning.
Ellenwood’s paper has significant implications for moral education and the science of learning in Japan. Firstly, it suggests that the educational science should investigate not only the cognitive aspects of the learner but also the learning that includes emotional aspects as well; it also specifically describes three types of learning that include both of these aspects. Secondly, regarding moral education, it specifically describes three types of learning morality based on examples and describes not only the significance of each of these types of learning but also their limitations. Based on these implications, this paper pointed out the importance of creating an education that combines these three types of learning in a way that makes them complementary to one another in order to improve children’s morality.