The Pros and Cons of Teaching Moral Values at School
Morals and values differ from child to child. Each child has different values instilled at home. Some children have good role models at home and are taught high moral values while others do not have good role models to follow. Schools should not teach personal values and morals but it is the responsibility of every adult in a child’s life to teach value and moral education.
The most important tool in helping student’s moral growth is to be a good role model. Students look up to their teachers. They value them and model themselves after them. Teachers begin moral and value education by modeling good values such as honesty, loyalty, compassion and justice. Teachers are always honest with students, loyal to them, show them compassion and are fair and just treating them equally. Character education is another way for educators to teach students morals and values.
There are several lessons available to teach values, one of those is Have You Filled a Bucket Today The objective of this activity is to teach students respect, responsibility, and caring. To complete the activity, students are given a cup which is their bucket. They label their buckets responsibility, respect, and caring. Then each student writes something on a small piece of paper about each other and places it in their bucket. After all students’ buckets are full they reflect and discuss what was placed in their bucket.
The school where I worked had character education. One of the projects they had was the High Five. Students received a hand which was the High Five when a teacher or other staff member noticed them doing something respectful or caring, or when they behaved properly. For example, one student loaned a classmate a pencil. The teacher gave him a High Five for helping his fellow classmate. Another child who had disciplinary issues received the High Five for sitting quietly in his chair when he was told to do so. This practice works great for students with behavior issues and it also promotes good value behavior for many students.
The drawbacks of the High Five and many other character education activities are that the students who already possess good values and behaviors become upset because they see classmates rewarded for behaviors that they do all of the time. These students rarely get recognized for their good behavior because it is a part of who they are and how they act. They do become upset and sometimes wonder why they should bother doing good and behaving because their behavior never gets noticed. I overheard one student make a statement after a classmate received a High Five for loaning a pencil to his classmate, he said, “so what is so special about that, I loan pencils to classmates all of the time.”
Teachers should help teach child values the lessons mostly comes from modeling good values themselves. There are ways to teach character education but it is important that schools don’t ignore the students who already possess good character in recognizing those who are learning good behavior.
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About Kim Miller
I am a single mom of two sons, 15 and 18 years old. I also have an 8 month old grandson. I recently earned my BA in Elementary Education and am working toward an MA in Elementary Education. I love working with children and watching them learn.