Do teachers act differently? The effect of moral reminders on social science and education students

Theme 5   Miscellaneous.

Secondary school seachers.
Researchers and academics.

It is a central tenet in didactics that teachers are benevolent and ethical individuals. Teaching has a normative bias. However, we do not know of systematic differences between students in general and among teachers of different subjects in particular. The moral development and then finally the formation of judgments, especially that on questions of justice, has already been examined in the didactics of economic (Seeber 2008). However, one desideratum is the investigation of the moral judgment of (prospective) teachers, given the low proportion of training in economics, there is room for reproach that teachers moralize economics in the classroom and thus politicize it in case of doubt (Goldschmidt 2020).

This is why we exploit a large classroom experiment with close to 2000 participants. We conducted this experiment in first-semester classes during the fall 2020 semester with economics, business, and economics education students at two large universities in Germany. Most economics education students in Germany have to choose a second major, ranging from STEM to languages so that we can analyze the variation of their second subjects and the outcome of the experiment. We will compare these students with our economics/business students to analyse the hypothesis if soon-to-be teachers act differently compared to their counterparts if they are treated with deontoligst or consequetionalist moral reminders not to be corrupt.

This paper adds insights for both fields, namely behavioural economics and economics education: Studies find that economics students are significantly more self-interested compared to economics education students as Schulze and Frank (2003) found. We add the effect of moral reminders to this field of research. Furthermore, we add evidence for the heterogeneity of values and morality across social science students and among economic education students. The results show significant differences between the moral treatments. We will also show what this can mean for the training of student teachers and what didactic implications this has for teaching.

Presented by: Ekkehard Koehler (1, 1) and Rehm Marco

Interactive presentation

Back to previous page