Collaborative Student Groups

Moral Reasoning Conversation

A Moral Reasoning Conversation is a student grouping and discourse strategy that involves heterogeneous groups of 4-5 students holding table discussions about their responses to provocative questions that frame, go deeper with, or reflect on the day's lesson. This is an especially effective strategy to use when we are engaging with complex themes in the literature we are reading as a class. The purpose of Moral Reasoning Conversations is for my students to prepare the thoughts that they will introduce in a subsequent whole-class discussion or a more formal Socratic Seminar. The students are given a situation that asks them to use their individual moral compasses to determine how they would behave in a complex ethical context. They discuss these moral dilemmas with peers in their table groups. At key moments during the discussion, I introduce "wrenches" that add layers of complexity to the dilemmas and push students towards deeper critical thinking and consideration of multiple perspectives. I consider carefully how much detail to present regarding each initial moral dilemma, so that my students have the opportunity to develop their own "wrenches" for the Moral Reasoning Conversation. 

Strategy Resources (2)
Strategy Explanation
 
 
A sample agenda from the class website shows how the Moral Reasoning Conversation is contextualized within a three-lesson series, specifically about the concepts of paternalism and duty in the novel "Native Son".
 
Strategy Explanation
 
 
A sample agenda from the class website shows how the Moral Reasoning Conversation is contextualized within a three-lesson series, specifically about the concepts of paternalism and duty in the novel "Native Son".
Johanna Paraiso
Fremont High School Oakland
Oakland, CA


 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Long
Subject:
English / Language Arts
Grade:
Twelfth grade
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