Monday, May 16, 2011

Does Schooling Help Develop Conscience?

Everything that a teacher does … to enhance formal operational thought is also … enhancing the development of principled morality.
-- Michael Schleifer "Moral Education and Indoctrination" Ethics, 86,2, 154-163
Complaints from Kids about School:
In public school you can’t pray when you want to. (My Mom worries about this.)

Big deal! In most schools you can’t even pee when you need to! (Besides, it’s not that anyone much wants so much to pray; other things are funner.)
What’s going on here?
Any kid can tell you: school is about learning rules, even if lots of them don’t make much sense. (Some nasty kids even say the rules they tell us are for our own good are really to make life easy for teachers!)

You can get into trouble for doing things that are not wrong, like coming in a little bit late, or forgetting a book. (Oooh! You’re gonna get in trouble!)

You can even get into trouble for doin' what is right, like fightin' back against a bully.
What’s going on here?
And we’re supposed to read and memorize what is in the books they give us. But my dad says it’s a load of crap! (Oooh! You said “crap!”)

But my parents say I should do what they tell me to and I’ll be OK. I’ll even get good grades!
That’s what they learn in school.

For references and to examine these issues further, see Moral Education: Indoctrination vs. Cognitive Development?

--- EGR

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