30 September 2018

A Policy Framework for Nurturing in Education

Hi, I'm Don Berg, an independent scholar. 

My colleague from Reed College, Kayla Good, and I presented the poster shown below entitled "Nurturing is the Foundation" Policy Framework at the 6th International Self-Determination Theory Conference. 
A policy framework for nurturing in education is necessary because of the consistent data that shows how mainstream schooling undermines the well-being of teachers and students.
I refer you to my research on intrinsic motivation for further information about the undermining of well-being in schools.

The Moral Mandate for a Policy Framework for Nurturing in Education

One of the key features of the policy framework is the Moral Mandate. 
The following argument for including the moral mandate in this policy framework is presented on the poster.
  • Empirical research suggests that political decision making is guided by emotional and moral sensibilities as much as, and perhaps more than, rational evaluation (Haidt, 2007; Haidt, 2012; Stone, Johnson, Beall, Meindl, Smith, & Graham, 2014). 
  • According to research by Clifford, Jerit, Rainey, and Motyl (2015), “Through their appeal to specific moral foundations, elites are able to 'moralize' political issues, facilitating (and reinforcing) the connection between people's moral beliefs and their policy attitudes.” 
    They further suggested that targeting the particular moral foundations endorsed by opposing sides of an issue will encourage consensus among people with differing moral beliefs. 
  • Lakoff & Johnson (1999) claim that cognitive semantic research shows that the necessity of nurturance for well-being is one of the experiential foundations of moral reasoning. 
  • Thus, the moral mandate is reasoned to be resonant with most conceptions of morality independent of the particular moral foundations that may define the sides that have been taken on an issue.
    Explicitly activating this moral conception is intended to evoke more positive and proactive responses to the empirical findings that follow and to the policy implications spelled out after that. 
    Political elites on either side of the issue could adapt specific moral messages to appeal to their partisans without compromising the integrity of the framework, given that under the Measure, Manage, and Protect Nurturing provisions, implementation is to be guided by empirical data on need support and patterns of motivation and engagement.

The Poster and Support Resources

Here is the poster (jpg, 1Mb) about the resolution that we presented at the 6th International Self-Determination Theory Conference in June, 2016, in Victoria, BC, Canada. (For a more readable 6Mb version e-mail me.)
The donors who contributed to making this happen are listed below.


  • Vasiliy Safin
  • Alan M Burnce
  • Holly Allen
  • Nicholas Kappeyne
  • Dixie Caris
  • Cassandra E Goecks

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