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Drowning in the Clear Pool

Cultural Narcissism, Technology, and Character Education- A Primer for Secondary Education


Francis J. Ryan, John J. Sweeder and Maryanne R. Bednar

With marked increases in school violence, educators have again been called upon to emphasize character education in their classrooms. While diversity of community values has rendered such efforts increasingly problematic, a more fundamental impasse to character education is cultural narcissism. Adolescents influenced by an inflated sense of grandiosity, entitlement, devaluation of others, and self-absorption often dismiss character education as irrelevant or constraining to their «me-centered» life-styles. To counter cultural narcissism, teachers need to foster character education by developing the moral system (self-understanding, social cognition, moral sentiments, and moral judgment) in each of their students. A creative use of educational technology can help teachers raise moral sensitivity, while simultaneously diluting the negative influences of cultural narcissism that pervades much of contemporary American life.