The intersection of aesthetics and education offers space to understand how the study of perception, sensuous experience, beauty, and art provide the potential for learning and human emancipation. These domains have been persistently understood as necessary to cultivate democratic societies by shaping citizens’ moral, ethical, and political sensibilities. Aesthetics is often considered a dangerous and paradoxical concept for educators because it offers the means for both political transformation as well as political manipulation through disruptive, engrossing, all-consuming aesthetic experiences. In short, aesthetic experiences are powerful experiences that make one think, interpret, and feel beyond the certainty of facts and the mundane parts of existence. Aesthetics offers humans the means to heighten our awareness of self and other. Thus, the study of aesthetics in education suggests there is a latent potential that exists in learning beyond simply acquiring objective information to logically discern reality. Defining aesthetics, a complicated task given the nature of aesthetics across disciplines, is achieved by taking the reader through three perennial debates within aesthetics that have education import: the trouble with human passions, the reign of beauty, and aesthetic thought beyond beauty. In addition, the influence of aesthetics and imagination on experience and education as articulated most notably by Maxine Greene and John Dewey offers the obvious entry point for educators seeking to understand aesthetics. Looking beyond the philosophical literature on aesthetics and education, new directions in aesthetics and education as seen in the growing literature traced through the study of cognition, behavior, biology, and neuroscience offers educators potentially new sites of aesthetics inquiry. However, the overwhelming trajectory of the study of aesthetics and education allows educators to move beyond the hyper-scientific study of education and alternatively consider how felt experiences—aesthetic experiences—often brought about when fully engaged with others and one’s environment, are sites of powerful learning opportunities with moral, ethical, and civic consequences.
Jessica A. Heybach
Özgür Önen and Burcu Tibet
How many times do people encounter an ethical dilemma within a day? Many of them, probably, say more than one. Frequently encountering ethically questionable situations which have heavy costs to both business and educational organizations is very common. It is crucial to understand how teachers, for example, make decisions when they are faced with ethically questionable situations, such as intimate relationship offers or dishonest grading desires. Indeed, every individual involved with schools—not only teachers, but principals, students, and even parents—are faced with ethically questionable situations, forcing them to choose between right and wrong, possibly benefiting themselves or the ones they are close to and/or harming innocent others. So, increasing knowledge on how individuals make judgments and act when they are confronted a dilemma is important. Which factors affects ethical decisions? Do people simply choose the options granting their positions or beneficial for them in some way? A review of theoretical models of ethical decision-making revealed that existing models need to be modified in order to cover some ignored aspects. Additionally, there seems to be a need to add new constructs to the moral intensity factor: ease of the act and magnitude of the gain are possible issue contingents to be considered. Furthermore, empirical findings, in general, present contradictory results on proposed factors affecting ethical decision-making. However, some factors, such as moral intensity and reward–sanction systems, were found to consistently affect decisions on ethically questionable issues. There are, nonetheless, many finer points to be understood regarding what exactly is happening when people face dilemmas. This suggests new studies need to be conducted.
The term school principals’ self-efficacy has changed over the past three decades because principals’ roles and duties have changed. Given that professional self-efficacy deals with competence in the profession, if the nature of the profession changes, the level of one’s professional self-efficacy will change as well. There have been found connections between self-efficacy and choosing a career and that efficacy is a robust contributor to career development. People seek a match between their interests and occupational environments. Thus, self-efficacy is believed to be a situational rather than a stable trait. Therefore, understanding that the term principals’ self-efficacy includes certain level of confidence in one’s knowledge, skills, and abilities, which are associated with the task of leading. This has a great importance with respect to the overall managing of schools. Self-efficacy should not be confused with self-esteem or self-concept since it is a task-specific evaluation. In contrast, self-esteem and self-concept reflect more general affective evaluations of the self. Research on principals’ self-efficacy usually includes measures of multidimensional self-efficacy, which enables to capture the various elements of the principals’ work. Few studies have been conducted on the measurement of school principals’ self-efficacy, and most of these are based on the quantitative methodology, emphasizing instruments and scales that describe situations and areas of the principal’s work. Understanding principals’ self-efficacy could assist policymakers with decisions concerning continuing professional development.