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Moral Values in school textbooks during the Second Constitution and Early Republican Periods: The case of ‘The Lectures on Morality (Musâhabât-ı Ahlâkiye)'

The civics class; Lectures on Morality and Civilization (Musâhabât-ı Ahlâkiye ve Medeniye) can be considered as one the fundamental ingredient for classes taught in Turkey such as Human Rights, Citizenship and Democracy, Life Skills and Social Sciences. The main aim of the article is to analyze the moral values that are depicted in two textbooks entitled ‘Lectures on Morality’ belonging to two consecutive periods; first printed in 1333 (1917) during the Constitutional Period (1908-1918) and the latter printed in 1339 (1923) in the early days of the Turkish Republic. This research uses qualitative methodology, focusing on content analysis of these textbooks: “The New Lectures on Morality, Religion, Civilization and History” and “The New Lectures on Morality and Civilization with Illustrations.” The article asserts that the textbooks adopted a moral approach based on “sense of duty”, and explains that a moral person needs first and foremost ‘religious morality’ which is instrumental in the foundation and strengthening of moral values. That said, a person also needs to embody individual moral values that include health, cleanliness, simplicity, prudence, righteousness, self-respect, modesty, courage, cool-headedness, patience, self-confidence, entrepreneurship, tidiness and protection of life. The morals of social duties have been understood as part of duties towards humanity and are discussed under social morality. In the textbooks, social life has been seen through a functionalist approach that values social cohesion and advocates the idea of living together in a society that requires respect to human rights and knowledge on the value of helping each other, and sustaining interpersonal relations according to civilized behavior.

Elementary school, moral value, values education, second constitutional period, early republican period


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