Using Films to Develop Moral Reasoning
In two retrospective reviews of acclaimed director Krzysztof Kieslowski's film series The Decalogue, Keith Oatley emphasizes the storytelling power of these ten 1-hour films. He remarks that each film is a vignette raising provocative moral questions about the effects of good and bad actions on others. Specifically, he notes:
Vignettes have become useful in psychology, as they tap moral intuitions such as the one discovered by Waldemann & Dieterich (2007), that most people think it is right to affect the path of an inanimate agent such as the trolley so that it kills one rather than five people, but wrong to act on people themselves, for instance by pushing them under the trolley or in some way that directly condemns them to death.Can films really teach us about moral reasoning and moral development? If so, what is the most effective teaching method for integrating such films in the classroom? Can a person of poor moral character be positively impacted by a portrayal of a character of high moral integrity?