Moral Formation is the development of moral character and conduct. Moral conduct is the principle of human behaviour that promotes orderly and peaceful existence in a community. It yields in particular, a very special benefit. Rules of moral conduct are to be found in every religion. For Plato, moral conduct is the route one must take to attain human well-being. Moral conduct is developed within communities through the practice of living virtuously. In plain language, this means that you do the right thing over and over again.
Morality is concerned with relationship and being at one with God, the self and others that leads to human flourishing and holistic well-being. Moral formation is about the methods that are used to attain this well-being. Moral formation involves growth in knowing, being and doing which together lead to moral relationships, moral living and the flourishing of humans and all creation in harmony with God.
The norms and values emphasized in the deontological approach to decision making become a particular person’s character and life. A moral person will further internalise and seek to promote good goals and consequences which is the teleological approach. What is meant by “formation?” Moral formation is a nurturing process in which a certain sense of identity, a certain recognition of community, and a certain pattern of motivation, evolve. Such formation can be the gradual work of culture and upbringing, or it may be self-conscious and intentional. Any community of which we are members “forms” us in the sense of orienting us to the world in a certain way, encouraging certain kinds of behaviour and discouraging others. A focus on formation points us towards emphasis on actual communities with their cultures: towards what anthropologists call the complex “thickness” of lives actually lived. Virtuous persons are those who live their lives according to moral norms and values.
Aristotle who declared that a virtuous person is someone who has ideal character traits. A virtue is a moral habit which generally results in the gaining or maintaining of your values. Your values are based on your moral standard which should be your own life. Norms become a part of a person’s character and actions. Values become the yardsticks by which a person’s life is governed.
Moral formation is the process by which one becomes a moral person who willingly performs right and good actions.According to Ethics and Life – Theological Ethics (Unisa Study Guide), the process of forming moral persons is called moral socialisation. Socialisation refers to the way in which a society prepares its members for acceptance into a particular society. Moral socialisation refers to the lifelong process of inheriting and disseminating norms, customs, and ideologies, providing an individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within his or her own society. Socialization is thus “the means by which social and cultural continuity are attained.” The acceptance and learning a set of norms and values established through the process of socialization.
Socialization for a child is very important because it sets the groundwork for all future socialization. Socialization occurs when a child learns the attitudes, values, and actions appropriate to individuals as members of a particular culture. It is mainly influenced by the immediate family and friends.
For example if a child saw his or her mother expressing a discriminatory opinion about a minority group, then that child may think this behaviour is acceptable and could continue to have this opinion about minority groups.In Formation of the moral self, Johannes Van der Ven (1998) identifies and discusses seven teaching and learning processes of moral formation. He terms these modes of moral formation. He identifies two informal modes (discipline and socialisation) and five formal modes that can be found in educational institutions. The five formal modes are value clarification, emotional development, transmission, cognitive development and character formation. These modes involve knowing, being and doing which are essential for a relational model of ethics. Value clarification, transmission and cognitive development all focus on the dimension of knowing.
Virtues are also the result of deliberate choice and acceptance in the internal value structure of a particular person. Throughout our lives we choose how we will act and these choices determine our character. We become what we choose. .
It is where children and adults learn how to act in a way that is appropriate for the situations they are in. Schools require very different behaviour from the home, and children must act according to new rules. New teachers have to act in a way that is different from pupils and learn the new rules from people around them. This involves smaller changes “Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Not an action, but a habit. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”For Plato, moral conduct is the route one must take to attain human well-being.
Moral conduct is developed within communities through the practice of living virtuously. In plain language, this means that you do the right thing over and over again.” (taken from website: https://www.quora.com/What-is-moral-conduct-How-is-it-done)Moral teaching is a vital part of the socialisation process. Children who have been morally socialised learn to think not only of themselves but also to consider others.
Moral virtues are the result of discipline. The repetition of good actions leads to the formation of good habits which in turn leads to the formation of good character.