Role Of Moral Values In Education

Role Of Moral Values In Education-23
The preceding five chapters have dealt with the proper place of religion in particular courses.Moral education, however, is generally understood to cut across the curriculum and is appropriately integrated into all courses as well as into the extra curricular activities and ethos of schools. There is not a lot of agreement about what moral education should be, and there is no “discipline” of moral education corresponding to the disciplines that define the courses we have discussed so far.

The preceding five chapters have dealt with the proper place of religion in particular courses.Moral education, however, is generally understood to cut across the curriculum and is appropriately integrated into all courses as well as into the extra curricular activities and ethos of schools. There is not a lot of agreement about what moral education should be, and there is no “discipline” of moral education corresponding to the disciplines that define the courses we have discussed so far.

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Finally, we note what is conspicuous by its absence: although all universities offer courses in ethics, usually in departments of philosophy or religious studies, very few public schools have such courses.

Unlike either values clarification or character education programs, the major purpose of ethics courses is usually to provide students with intellectual resources drawn from a variety of traditions and schools of thought that might orient them in the world and help them think through difficult moral problems.

As important as we all agree morality to be, it is striking that schools do not consider ethics courses an option worth offering.

In Chapter 2 we distinguished between socialization, training, and indoctrination on the one hand,and education on the other.

Indeed, schools teach morality in a number of ways, both implicit and explicit.

Schools have a moral ethos embodied in rules, rewards and punishments, dress codes, honor codes, student government, relationships, styles of teaching, extracurricular emphases, art, and in the kinds of respect accorded students and teachers.According to the “Character Education Manifesto,” “all schools have the obligation to foster in their students personal and civic virtues such as integrity, courage, responsibility, diligence, service, and respect for the dignity of all persons” (Boston University, 1996).The goal is the development of character or virtue, not correct views on “ideologically charged issues.” Schools must become “communities of virtue” in which “responsibility, hard work, honesty, and kindness are modeled, taught, expected, celebrated, and continually practiced.” An important resource is the “reservoir of moral wisdom” that can be found in “great stories, works of art, literature, history, and biography.” Education is a moral enterprise in which “we need to re-engage the hearts, minds, and hands of our children in forming their own characters, helping them `to know the good, love the good, and do the good'” (Boston University, 1996).In teaching history we initiate students into particular cultural traditions and identities.Although economics courses and texts typically avoid overt moral language and claim to be “value free,” their accounts of human nature, decision making, and the economic world have moral implications, as we have seen.To put a little flesh on these theoretical bones, we will take sex education as a case study.We trust that it is uncontroversial to say that schooling is unavoidably a moral enterprise.For the past several decades values clarification programs have been widely used in public schools.In this approach, teachers help students “clarify” their values by having them reflect on moral dilemmas and think through the consequences of the options open to them, choosing that action that maximizes their deepest values.Of course, good people can make bad judgments; it's often not easy to know what is morally right.The second task of moral education is to provide students with the intellectual resources that enable them to make informed and responsible judgments about difficult matters of moral importance.

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