Jeff Haanen

Articles Tagged with

moral formation


Notes: Learning for Moral Formation


I find that becoming good is difficult, painfully difficult. As I’ve been on my own moral journey, I’ve become more interested in the question, “How are people morally formed, especially in contexts of work, for the sake of leadership?”  In other words, what tend to be the social, spiritual and psychological elements present in a person’s life when they experience significant moral transformation? Might it be possible to even design such learning experiences that lead to moral formation?

Below are some rough notes I’ve written on what I think tends to be the process of moral formation, especially for adults. I’ve posted them on this blog hoping you’ll help me to refine my idea. I’d be grateful if you’d reply on elements I’ve left out, overemphasized, or should not have included. I look forward to getting your feedback.

Notes: Learning for Moral Formation 

1. Learning begins when an individual with a self-identified Problem/Need/Point of Suffering joins a high commitment Community. The Community is first formed by an Emotional/Relational context of genuine vulnerability, bound together by a common Story or Universal History and defined by a set of shared Habits and Practices.

2. Over time, there is a deeper engagement of Ideas and intellectual concepts, discussed in community that affirm the story; a Broader Network which exposes students to new emotions, stories, ideas, habits, and practices; Significant Work which the student is called to perform, challenging the use of new skills and knowledge; and Public Recognition for accomplishment, affirming inclusion in the community and signaling value to the broader public.

3. Through relationship the community facilitates a Deeper Self-Awareness and cultivates new Spiritual Disciplines which open the soul to the transformative power of the Holy Spirit.

Change is facilitated through a combination of:

  • Genuine relationship/friendship
  • Emotional vulnerability and deeper self-awareness
  • A set of new habits and spiritual practices, learned principally through imitation
  • Elevated “loves” founded in a deep, all-encompassing story or theory of history
  • Ideas and concepts which challenge the status quo
  • The interplay between new practices and projects, and learning from those practices (both successes and failures) in community
  • A broader social network, particularly across vocational, ethnic, and gender barriers, and opportunities for professional advancement through loose mentoring networks
  • Learning in context (workplace, clinic, business) rather than a static environment (classroom)
  • The acquisition of new work-related skills, perspectives, and opportunities usually learned not abstractly but through modeling and imitation within the community
  • Developing the habit of leadership, solving problems and taking initiative
  • A deeper sense of both personal humility yet an increased sense human agency
  • “Sending.” A comparison of where the student started, and where she/he is at today

To further study:

  1. Spiritual Formation (Disciplines)
  2. Adult Learning (Conscious direction of learning, isolating need)
  3. Psychology (Habits, emotions, relationships, past)
  4. Narrative and Film (Story)
  5. History (Story)
  6. Psychology (Emotions)
  7. Sociology (Golden web & networks; cultural formation, networks & institutions)
  8. Theology (Virtue, discipleship, biblical studies)
  9. Leadership Studies (Significant work, influence)
  10. Higher Education (Core ideas; New Skills, etc.)
  11. Neuroscience (Brain studies)
  12. Physiology (Habit, Workplace Rhythms as Formative)
  13. Economics (Work, commerce)
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