Monday, January 17, 2011

Morality and Values In Schools

Morality  and Values In Schools

Definition  of Morals 
  • Morals are  the rules which people use to guide  their behavior and thinking.  

  • When an  individual is dealing with, or capable  of distinguishing between, right and wrong.

Definition  of Values 
  • A principle,  standard, or quality considered worthwhile  or desirable

Morals and  Values 
  • Our children  are taught in various environments- at  home, at school, at church, at the  movies, and they are taught by reading  books or magazines, and by television  and their friends.  Whatever they are  taught will guide them in their decision  making and their problem solving.  
  • If morals are not taught our children will make decisions based on immediate needs and desires, and based on emotions, not on sound judgment.

Percent of  Adults Who Support the Teaching of Specific  Values
  • The findings  of one study indicate that the top  five values that are thought to be  the most important values to be taught  are:
    • Personal responsibility…………97%
    • Strong work ethic…………………96%
    • Honesty……………………………………96%
    • Democracy………………………………95%
    • Acceptance of people of
      different races and ethnic backgrounds……………………………91% 

Some Stats…  
  • In a statewide  poll of adults in Wisconsin, 91% thought  that schools should emphasize character education,  teaching students values such as respect  for others, personal responsibility, and citizenship.

A poll  done for the NEA found…  
  • Morality and  values topped the list of issues of  most concern to the American public.
  • The most pressing issues were said to be:
    • Morality and values..........36%
    • Education............................27%
    • Health Care........................17%
    • Crime....................................13%
    • Taxes.....................................6%

Another NEA poll,  the Shell Poll
  • The study  suggests that the three values that are  most endangered in America are respect,  responsibility, and honesty.
  • Large majorities feel that the nation has become weaker in terms of respect for other people (74%), respect for the law (77%), and respect for authority (86%).
  • 2/3 also say that society’s standards for acceptable behavior are getting worse.

  • There were  significant findings in the NEA polls  regarding three different questions.

Which issue  is the most serious problem in America? 
  • Moral values……………56%
  • Race relations……………14%
  • The environment……….12%
  • The economy………………..7%
  • National defense…………6%

Which of  these problems regarding moral standards concern  you most? 
  • A tendency  to blame others instead of taking responsibility......................................................39%
  • A lack of respect for other people...............30%
  • Too much focus on money and materialism..28%
  • Lower standards of honesty and integrity..24%
  • More permissive sexual attitudes..................15%
  • All of these..........................................................14%

What has  the most potential to create a positive  effect on a child’s moral and ethical  standards? 
  • Parents…………………72%
  • Peers/Friends…….26%
  • Teachers………………18%
  • Clergy……………………15%
  • TV…………………………….8%

Character  Education 
  • Lets get one thing perfectly clear you are a character educator. Whether you are a teacher, administrator, custodian, or school bus driver you are helping to shape the character of the kids you come in contact with. Its in the way that you talk, the behaviors that you model, the conduct you tolerate, the deeds that you encourage, the expectations that you transmit. Yes, for better or for worse you are already doing character education. The real question is what kind? Are you doing it well or poorly? By design or default? And what kinds of values are you actually  teaching?

Character  Education 
  • Character education  often is used synonymously with terms  such as moral education, values clarification,  and moral reasoning.

  • It has been  defined as “the intentional intervention  to promote the formation of any or  all aspects of moral functioning of individuals.

Traits of  Character Education 
  • Responsibility
    Being accountable in word and deed. Having a sense of duty to fulfill tasks with reliability, dependability and commitment.

Traits of  Character Education 
  • Perseverance
    Pursuing worthy objectives with determination and patience while exhibiting fortitude when confronted with failure.  

Traits of  Character Education 
  • Caring
    Showing understanding of others by treating them with kindness, compassion, generosity and a forgiving spirit.  

Traits of  Character Education 
  • Self-discipline
    Demonstrating hard work controlling your emotions, words, actions, impulses and desires. Giving your best in all situations.  

Traits of  Character Education 
  • Citizenship
    Being law abiding and involved in service to school, community and country.  

Traits of  Character Education 
  • Honesty
    Telling the truth, admitting wrongdoing. Being trustworthy and acting with integrity.  

Traits of  Character Education 
  • Courage
    Doing the right thing in face of difficulty and following your conscience instead of the crowd.  

Traits of  Character Education 
  • Fairness
    Practicing justice, equity and equality. Cooperating with one another. Recognizing the uniqueness and value of each individual within our diverse society.  

Traits of  Character Education 
  • Integrity
    A firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. Being honest, trustworthy and incorruptible.

Traits of  Character Education 
  • Patriotism
    A love for and loyalty to one's country

Traits of  Character Education 
  • Respect
    Showing high regard for an authority, other people, self and country. Treating others as you would want to be treated. Understanding that all people have value as human beings.  

Approaches  to effective Character Ed. 
  • There are  many different approaches  for providing  meaningful character building experiences for  your students, but we will concentrate  on the following:
    • The Holistic Approach
    • The Smorgasbord Approach

The Holistic  Approach 
  • Integrates character  development into every aspect of school  life.  
  • The distinguishing features of this approach are:
    • Everything in the school is organized around the development of the relationships between and among students, staff, and community.
    • The school is a caring community of learners in which there is a obvious bond connecting the students, the staff, and the school.
    • Social and emotional learning is emphasized as much as academic learning.
    • Cooperation and collaboration among students are emphasized over competition.

The Holistic  Approach  
  • Values such  as fairness, respect, and honesty are  part of everyday lessons in and out  of the classroom.
  • Students are given ample opportunities to practice moral behavior through activities such as service learning.
  • Discipline and classroom management concentrate on problem solving rather than rewards and punishments.
  • The old model of the teacher-centered classroom is abandoned in favor of democratic classrooms where teachers and students hold class meetings to build unity, establish norms, and solve problems.

      • Obviously  this is a “best-of-all-worlds” approach and requires  a significant commitment from the administration  and teaching staff.

The Smorgasbord  Approach 
    • Building a  caring community
      • This approach is about building a community in the school with students playing an active role in shaping the culture and environment of the classroom as well as the school at large.
    • Teach values through the curriculum
      • Give students opportunities to engage in thinking about character and values by asking more higher order thinking questions.
    • Class discussions
      • Includes morally challenging classroom discussion using critical thinking skills and providing a group bonding experience and engaging students in deep, meaningful reflection about the kinds of people they are and want to be.

The Smorgasbord  Approach 
      • Service learning
        • Approach to teaching in which academic goals are accomplished through community service.
      • Explicit instruction in character and values
        • This direct approach is to teach it as a subject within itself, by creating specific character education lesson plans.

Character  Education:
Why are we doing this?
  • Quality character  education helps schools create a safe,  caring, and inclusive learning environment  for every student and supports academic  development.  It fosters qualities that  will help students be successful as citizens,  in the workplace, and with the academic  curriculum.  It lays the foundation to  help students be successful in all of  the goals we have for our public  schools.  It is the common denominator  that will help schools reach all of  their goals!

Group Discussion 
  • In your  opinion, is it being done well or  poorly?
  • Do you think it is done by design or default?
  • What kinds of values do you think should be taught?

  • What  does it mean to be an American?
    • September 11 has raised this question that few Americans have seriously considered since WWII.
    • Young people especially need to reflect on patriotism, for they will soon hold the future of our democracy in their hands.

  • Most  teachers have been urged to mark September  11 with lessons that stress the need  for enhanced “tolerance” and “diversity.” 
  • Few have lessons about America’s founding principles, or the cost at which our freedom was won.

How  can our schools encourage patriotism 
  • If  students are to become patriots they must  understand and embrace the principles of  liberty, equality and justice on which  the nation is founded. 
  • They must develop the qualities of character that mark true citizenship: courage, responsibility, gratitude, and self sacrificing devotion to the common good.
  • As educators, our task is to help young people see that America is worthy of their love, and to help them become worthy of their heritage as U.S. citizens.

How  can our schools encourage patriotism 
  • A  way to go about doing this is to  change the way that our schools teach  history government and literature. 
    • Most schools use standard- issue textbooks in history and government classes. Unfortunately these text are generally dry, lacking in detail, and monotonous in style.
    • Students can never grow to love America by reading these types of text, and need stories that engage their imagination, excites their gratitude.

How  can our schools encourage patriotism 
  • America’s  story consists of two major components:  principles and people. Our challenge is  to bring both to live for students. 
  • Even though these are important components, teaching young people to be patriots requires more. It is what the Greeks call a paragon, or character ideal.

How  can our schools encourage patriotism 
  • Many  of today’s students difficulty  distinguishing between celebrities and heroes. 
  • We must acquaint them with America’s great statesmen, lawgivers, military heroes, and social crusaders, lead them to say, “I want to be like that.”

How  can our schools encourage patriotism 
  • Today’s  affluent students generally take Americas economic  freedom for granted. For this reason,  they need to hear the stories of  immigrants, who endure great hardships for  a chance to live the American dream.
  • Students should also read the inspiring stories of African Americans who despite a heritage of slavery overcame extraordinary obstacles to achieve success.

Pledge  of Allegiance and it’s controversial  issues 
  • A  federals appeals court ruled that reciting  the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional  because the pledge contains the words  “under God”
  • The U.S. court of appeals said that the phrase violates the First Amendment’s prohibition on the establishment of religion.

Pledge  of Allegiance  
  • The  court said “a profession  that we are a nation ‘under God’  is identical, for the establishment clause  purpose, to a profession that we are  a nation ‘under Jesus’,  a nation “under Zeus’, or a  nation under ‘no god,’ because  none of these professions can be neutral  with respect to religion.”

Pledge  of Allegiance  
  • The  pledge of allegiance is considered to  be an important recognition of the freedoms  on which the united states was founded  and a tribute to those who have defended  the ideals of liberty, equality and justice  for all. 

Pledge  of Allegiance 
  • Virginia  State Senator Warren Barry says not enough  schools make a regular practice of saying  the Pledge of Allegiance these days. As  a result he says he feels these students  don’t have a real appreciation of the  Pledge and should know the flag is  symbolic of “our freedoms, our liberties,  and our culture”. 

  • Should  the Pledge be recited everyday?
  • Do our students understand and respect what the Pledge stands for?
  • Do you think that it is unconstitutional to recite the Pledge?

Can “Character  Education” Reverse Moral Decline? 
  • There are  many debates about this question with  some feeling as though it would make  a significant difference, yet others view  character education as useless.

Character  Education Can Reverse Moral Decline 
  • If we want our children to possess the traits of character we most admire, we need to teach them what those traits are and why they deserve both admiration and allegiance.
        • William J. Bennet

Character  Education Can Reverse Moral Decline 
  • Many people  have come to the realization that our  society is in deep moral trouble.   Some of the signs of this include:
    • The breakdown of the family
    • The deterioration of civility in everyday life
    • Rampant greed at a time when 1 in 5 children is poor
    • A sexual culture that fills our television and movie screens with sleaze
    • Beckoning the young toward sexual activity at even earlier ages
    • The enormous betrayal of children through sexual abuse
    • A report (1992) indicating that the United States is the most violent of all industrialized nations.

Character  Education Can Reverse Moral Decline 
  • With the  awareness of these critical issues in  our society, schools cannot be “ethical  bystanders.”  Schools must do something  about this societal crisis, therefore, it  is necessary to teach morals and values  in schools.

Theodore Roosevelt  stated it best, “to educate a person  in mind and not in morals is to  educate a menace to society.
William Killpatrick  adds that “the schools are failing to  provide the moral education they once  did; they have abandoned moral teaching.”
Character education  was taught in the earliest days of  schools through discipline, the teacher’s  example, and the daily school curriculum.
Why then did Character  education decline?

Why Did  Character Education Decline? 
    • Darwinism
      • Led people to see all things, including morality, as being in flux (continually changing).
    • Logical positivism
      • Asserted a radical distinction between facts (which could be scientifically proven) and values (which were mere expressions of feeling, not objective truth).
    • Personalism
      • Celebrated the worth, autonomy, and subjectivity of the person, emphasizing individual rights and freedom over responsibility.
      • Turned people inward toward self-fulfillment
    • Pluralism of American society
      • Who’s values should we teach?
    • Secularization of public arena
      • Won’t moral education violate the separation of church and state?

Why Character  Education Now?  
  • Three causes:
    • The decline of the family
        • Schools have to teach values kids aren’t learning at home and schools, in order to conduct teaching and learning, must become caring moral communities that help children from unhappy homes focus on their work, control their anger, feel cared about, and become responsible students.

Why Character  Education Now? 
  • Troubling trends  in youth character
    • Young people have been adversely affected by poor parenting; the wrong kind of adult role models; sex, violence, and materialism portrayed in the media; and pressures of peer groups.
    • This is evident by trends in:
      • Rising youth violence, increasing dishonesty, growing disrespect for authority, peer cruelty, bigotry on school campuses, decline in work ethic, sexual precocity, growing self-centeredness and declining civil responsibility, increase in self-destructive behavior and ethical illiteracy.

Why Character  Education Now? 
  • A recovery  of shared, objectively important ethical values.
    • Adults must promote this morality by teaching the young values as respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, fairness, caring, and civil virtue.
    • Good character consists of knowing the good, desiring the good, and doing the good.

Developing  Character 
  • In order  to establish Character Education, each teacher  needs to:
    • Act as a caregiver, model, and mentor
    • Create a moral community
    • Practice moral discipline
    • Create a democratic classroom environment
    • Teach values through the curriculum
    • Use cooperative learning
    • Develop the “conscience of craft”
    • Encourage moral reflection
    • Teach conflict resolution

Developing  Character 
  • The school  as a whole should:
    • Foster caring beyond the classroom
    • Create a positive moral culture in the school
    • Recruit parents and the community as partners in character education

Challenges  Ahead 
  • The factors  that will determine if Character Education  will take hold in American schools and  succeed are:
    • Support for schools
    • Role of religion
    • Moral leadership
    • Teacher education

        • Educating for character is a moral imperative if we care about the future of our society and our children.

Which Values? 
  • Some have  argued that it is not possible to  reach an agreement regarding which values  to teach.  
  • Others are concerned about the separation of church and state and believe any attempts to teach values or morality will introduce religion into the classroom.
  • Whether or not we deliberately adopt a character or moral education program, we are always teaching values.  Even people who insist that they are opposed to values in school usually mean that they are opposed to values other than their own.

  • The fact  is that there are a lot of values  we all share.  Nobody argues that  discrimination is morally appropriate or that  lying is better than telling the truth.
  • There is no way of teaching subjects without teaching values.  So lets be up front about that and have explicit curriculum.  If we dont, we are going to teach values only in hidden and most devious ways.  Lets have discussions about the values we want to transmit.

Reason to  Oppose Character Education 
  • Alfie Kohn  does not think that Character Education  can reverse moral decline because he says  that “the techniques of character education  may succeed in temporarily buying a particular  behavior.  But they are unlikely to  leave children with a commitment to that behavior, a reason to continue acting that way in the future.

  • Today, we have children raising children, we have children in overcrowded adult prisons and jails, we have children attending drug and alcohol treatment centers, children suffering and dying from illness and sexually transmitted diseases, children killing themselves and children killing other children.  This is what happens when we do not teach our children morals or live as an appropriate example.

      Moral  Controversy  

Interesting  Facts 
  • During the  1960s, schools expelled pregnant students (married  or unmarried) and school re-admission after  delivery was prohibited.
  • The attitude in the 60s was that a pregnant students was socially contagious and that pregnancy would spread among students.
  • As sex education has increased over the decades the teenage birth rate has declined and no longer are teen mothers punished by denying them an education.

  • The United  States has the highest rate of teen  pregnancy out of any country in the  developed world.  Experts say that restriction  to sex-ed, contraception, and condoms fuel  this rate, while in European countries  (who have less than half of the amount  of teen pregnancies) teens are given confidential  access to contraceptives.
  • In 1996, the teen pregnancy rates were:
  • 93.0 per 1000 in the United States
  • 62.6 per 1000 in England and Wales
  • 42.7 per 1000 in Canada
  • 15.1 per 1000 in Belgium

Definition  of Sex Education 
  • Sex education  is education about sexual reproduction in  human beings, sexual intercourse and other  aspects of human sexual behavior. 
  • It is also about developing young people's skills so that they make informed choices about their behavior, and feel confident and competent about acting on these choices.

Aims of  Sex Education 
  • Sex education  seeks both to reduce the risks of  potentially negative outcomes from sexual behavior.   For example, unwanted or unplanned pregnancies  and infection with STDs, and to enhance  the quality of relationships. 
  • It is also about developing young people's ability to make decisions over their entire lifetime.

Worldwide Controversy
  • Although some  sort of sex education is part of  many schools' curriculum, it remains a  controversial topic in several countries as  to how much and at which age schoolchildren  should be taught about contraception or  safer sex, and whether moral education  should be included or excluded.
  • In the United States in particular, the topic is the subject of much controversial debate. Chief among controversial points is whether sexual freedom for minors is valuable or detrimental, as well as whether instruction about condoms and birth control pills reduce or increase out-of-wedlock or teenage pregnancy and STDs.

  • Only 7%  of Americans say that sex education should  not be taught in schools.
  • 15% of Americans believe that schools should teach the Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Program.
  • 36% believe that Comprehensive Sexuality Education should be taught.

Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage  Program  
  • Federal funds  are available to schools who teach using  this method.
  • President Bush has been pushing for this program since he was first instated into office.
  • Emphasizes abstinence from all sexual behaviors and does not cover information on contraceptives, STDs, masturbation, etc.

Federal Definition 
  • its exclusive  purpose is teaching the social, physiological,  and health gains to be realized by  abstaining from sexual activity; 
  • teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school age children;
  • teaches that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems;
  • teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity;
  • teaches that sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects;
  • teaches that bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child's parents, and society;
  • teaches young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances; and
  • teaches the importance of attaining self-sufficiency before engaging in sexual activity.

Problems  with this program 
  • Very little  evidence that teens who go through this  program refrain from having sex longer  than others.
  • When they do have sex, they often fail to use contraception.

Comprehensive  Sexuality Education 
  • Comprehensive  Sexuality Education is a program that  starts in kindergarten and continues through  high school. 
  • It brings up age appropriate sexuality topics and covers the broad spectrum of sex education, including safe sex, STDs, contraceptives, masturbation, body image, and more.
  • Argued that this program does not teach sexual morals.

Proponents  of this program 
  • View it  as necessary to reduce risk behaviors  such as unprotected sex, and equip individuals  to make informed decisions about their  personal sexual activity. 
  • Additionally, proponents of comprehensive sex education contend that education about homosexuality encourages tolerance, but does not "turn students gay" as some conservatives believe.

What about  Both? 
  • 46% of Americans  believe that schools should teach that  abstinence is best, but also discuss how  and where to obtain contraceptives.
  • Typically, most schools fall in the middle of the two types of programs.
  • Neither one usually provides confidential access to contraceptives.

Should morality  be included? 
  • Proponents believe  that curricula which fail to teach moral  behavior actually serve to prevent children  from making informed decisions; they maintain  that curricula should include the claim  that conventional morality is "healthy  and constructive", and that value-free  knowledge of the body may lead to  unhealthy and harmful practices.
  • Opponents of this view argue that sexual behavior after puberty is a given, and it is therefore crucial to provide information about the risks and how they can be minimized. They hold that conventional or conservative moralizing will put off students and thus weaken the message.

Study of the Effects
  • A researcher  named DiCenso compared comprehensive sex education  programs with abstinence-only programs.  
  • Their review of several studies shows that abstinence-only programs not only did not reduce the likelihood of pregnancy of women who participated in the programs, but that 'abstinence- only' actually increased it.
  • Four abstinence programs and one school program were associated with a pooled increase of 54% in the partners of men and 46% in women.
  • The conclusion of this review was that "the overwhelming weight of evidence shows that sex education that discusses contraception does not increase sexual activity".

Final Quote 
  • Education is the responsibility of the schools whether it is about smoking, alcohol, drugs, violence, racial diversity or sex. The assumption that these are the sole responsibility of someone else is a disservice to our children. Parents have a key role in the total education of their children in partnership with the schools. But too many parents fail part of their responsibility resulting in this country's highest teenage pregnancy rate in the industrialized world.– Charles Gershenson

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