Developing a Compass for Everyday Moral Dilemmas

"Approach virtues as a state, not a personal trait"

"Approach virtues as a state, not a personal trait"

Wittenborg's Head of Research, Dr Nicolet Theunissen, took part recently in the 44th annual
Association for Moral Education Conference in Barcelona, Spain, where she presented a paper on a new online questionnaire she developed which allows participants to evaluate themselves in order to support their own moral growth.

Theunissen, a Dutch scientist and entrepreneur, is the founder of Future Life Research, a social enterprise which focuses on innovation for the future. It developed the questionnaire, the Virtual Mirror, which can be found on the website The organisation has made it its mission to double positive behaviour worldwide by 2030.

At the conference Theunissen gave insight on the ideas behind developing the questionnaire. The portal - which translates as "My Virtues" - provides online coaching with positive practical assignments. "It is based on the classical knowledge of virtues and strengthened with contemporary psychological and educational insights. The Virtues Mirror helps individuals to reflect on their virtuous behaviour," Theunissen told attendees.

"Virtues are defined as positive personal qualities, such as integrity, courage and wisdom. They are expressed as positive behaviour. Virtues can be acquired by repetitive practice. They
require a synthesis: a balance between virtues to ensure balance in behaviour. Together they form a moral compass during everyday moral dilemmas, and can be put into practice when needed. They give expression to universal values desired by every society, and let people and societies flourish."

According to Theunissen, the Virtues Mirror approaches virtues as state (not a trait) to promote the practising of virtues. It is created according to social sciences standards in questionnaire construction, is user-friendly and easy worded. "This helps to increase the motivation for repeated use."

WUP 22/11/2018

by Anesca Smith
©WUAS Press