Where an online integrity educators’ practicum included a survey on the participants’ own formal moral and ethics training, in relation to their work-field experience, most respondents stated that their higher education in this area was of little relevance. That they learned to handle ethical challenges for themselves, in the work field, and post-graduation. A significant majority also noted that their formal moral/ ethics education focused mainly on ‘external’ values and norms and not on their ‘internal’ personal values.
This raises so many important questions and implications. How can an educator confidently encourage integrity and the development of all other personal values in students when there are gaps or omissions in their own experience? Do we teach students how to confidently have difficult conversations? How do we make dialogue safe? As a student, what real-world skills do I need, and should demand over and above the subject content within the curriculum?
If it is the genuine aim of HEIs to make education aligned and responsive to workplace needs whilst, at the same time, doing everything possible that enables every student to flourish and to emerge as a confident, capable, and fully contributing post-graduate, then it is an ‘inside-out’ values approach to quality learning that is needed. It has to be present as the ‘hidden curriculum’ within every course and module.
Otherwise, both educators and students will remain within what are effectively revolving doors of under-accomplishment and inevitably low wellbeing that will continue on down the years.