Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. G. Thomas Ray

Second Advisor

Dr. Allison Kelaher-Young

Third Advisor

Dr. George J. Haus

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The purpose of this paper is to illuminate the implicit curriculum of high-profile theories of identity and moral development as commonly found in collegiate-level educational psychology texts. My primary concern is the manner in which Erik Erikson's and Lawrence Kohlberg's theories of development implicitly convey modernistic frames of mind of the autonomous individual at a level that goes unnoticed. The manner in which the implicit curriculum socializes future educators to adopt the autonomous individual frame of mind is problematic for our natural world.

The aims of this paper are significant because they illuminate the notion of the autonomous individual as a culturally constructed world view of the modem age that advances ecologically unsustainable practices due in large part to its distancing frame of mind. Thus, as high-profile theories of development are reinforced in teacher preparatory programs to teach identity and moral development, there is an inadvertent, multifaceted side effect. This side effect being the implicit conveyance of taken-for-granted modernistic assumptions that shape aspiring teachers' frames of mind to think about and perceive human development in terms of the rational, autonomous, and morally self-directing individual. It is primarily this frame of mind that perpetuates ecologically destructive behaviors on the part of human beings toward our natural world.