Inclusive pedagogies belong to the diversity agenda in higher education and so their teaching methodologies should be tested to ensure the effective training of students in democratic and inclusive citizenship competencies, such as moral competence. Moral-dilemma based methods have proven to be effective in learning about morals in specific programmes, but there is still no evidence for their cross-cutting application in regular courses. These methods could also be enriched by strategies aimed at learning competences that have been identified as predictive factors in theories of moral judgement and development, such as empathy. The current study examines the effects of a 10-hour teaching intervention on learning moral competence using a version of the Konstanz Method of Dilemma Discussion (KMDD), either applied in isolation or using a mixed strategy of dilemma discussion and narrative persuasion activities, this last method with the aim of verifying the contribution of empathy to moral learning. The hypotheses regarding the two methodological approaches were tested using a quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design with a control group in the ecological context of the first semester of teacher training. Data were collected using the Moral Competence Test and were analysed with linear mixed models. The results did not support the expected empathy-induced moral learning. However, significant progression in moral competence when using KMDD is shown. The discussion considers the disassociation between empathy/altruism and moral competence in order to interpret the ineffectiveness of the mixed strategy. The need to apply pedagogies with a more experiential focus is suggested in order to foster moral learning by means of activities in community diversity environments.

Please, cite this article as follows: Fernández-Caminero, G., Álvarez-Castillo, J. L., González-González, H., & Espino-Díaz, L. (2023). Enseñando moralidad como competencia inclusiva en educación superior: efectos de la discusión de dilemas y contribución de la empatía [Teaching morality as an inclusive competence in higher education: Effects of dilemma discussion and contribution of empathy]. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 81 (286), 489-509. 10.22550/REP81-3-2023-03

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Author Biography

Gemma Fernández-Caminero has a doctorate from the Universidad de Córdoba, a licentiate degree in Pedagogy from the Universidad de Burgos and a diploma in Social Education from the Universidad de Valladolid. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational at the Universidad de Córdoba. Before working in higher education, she held various posts as an educator in areas of non-formal education. Her research interests centre on diversity and inclusion in education.


José-Luis Álvarez-Castillo has a doctorate in Philosophy and Educational Science from the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca. He is currently Professor in the Department of Education at the Universidad de Córdoba. His research interests centre on diversity and inclusion in education and particularly in intercultural education and in strategies for reducing prejudice in the training of professional educators. He has directed various national research projects. He coordinates the “Education, Diversity, and Society” group of the Plan Andaluz de I+D+I, which has formed part if the “University, Innovation, and Learning in the Knowledge Society” Excellence Network (Ref. EDU2017- 90651-REDT).


Hugo González-González has a doctorate from the Universidad de Córdoba, a licentiate degree in Physical Activity and Sports Science from the Universidad de Granada, and a diploma in Primary Education and Teaching from the Universidad de Córdoba. He is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Education at the Universidad de Córdoba. His research interests centre on diversity and inclusion in education, particularly in intercultural education.


Luis Espino-Díaz has a doctorate and a licentiate degree in Educational Psychology from the Universidad de Córdoba. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at the Universidad de Córdoba. He has worked as a religious education teacher in secondary education. His research interests centre on values education and religious and interreligious education.


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Palabras clave | Keywords

empathy, inclusive pedagogies, moral competence