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There is a strong consensus in the educational literature that teaching is an inherently moral endeavour, and that the moral work of teachers is of central importance to education. However, programmes of teacher education in the USA typically do not reflect these beliefs in their curricula. One reason for this inconsistency is that researchers have yet to understand fully, and articulate clearly, the moral nature of teaching and classrooms in a way that can serve as a basis for building substantive programmes of close and scholarly study of the moral work of teaching. The paper argues that what is needed is a more descriptive, explicit, and systematic approach to inquiring into this domain.