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Should Schools Teach Ethics?

Updated on April 11, 2016
Diane Lockridge profile image

Lockridge holds an EdS in Curriculum and Instruction, an MS in Elementary Education, and a BA in History. She also homeschools her children.

Does your child's school teach ethics?
Does your child's school teach ethics? | Source

Many Australia schools offer Scripture from the Bible as a normal part of their classroom schedule, notes the article "NSW Government Rules Out Moving Ethics Classes". While this class is not compulsory for students-- students may abstain from this lesson if they choose-- Australian politicians have been discussing the importance and timing of ethics classes in the school day as they relate to the Scripture portion of the class time.

Students who do not currently participate in the scripture classes do non-educational things such as coloring or watching videos, which give them “no form of instruction whatsoever,” notes current NSW Acting Premier Andrew Stoner. In the case of students who do not participate in the Scripture portion of class, ethics classes have become mandatory. At the suggestion that ethics class could be implemented at a time of day that didn’t class with scripture time, Stoner made his position on the matter clear, “What we’re not going to negotiate on, though, is having ethics classes in schools…. They’re in there, they’ve been accepted, they are a useful alternative for young children who don’t want to undertake scripture classes”.

The acting Premier’s words imply that Scripture time already teaches students about ethical and moral principles, so students would not necessarily need a second dose of ethics during the day. His words also indicate that he is most concerned about students not receiving any valuable instruction during the Scripture time. If students aren't exposed to Scripture or the Bible, he thinks ethics is a good enough substitute, which this writer would agree with.

The topic of ethics in the classroom is relevant to educators leaders because it gives teachers in the public realm an idea of how they can teach ethics and morality while not seeming to proselytize students. Since many common ethical principles stem from traditional Judeo-Christian values, it gives public school teachers an option to still teach morality in the classroom. While teachers can obviously model ethical behavior in the classroom, formal instruction on the subject would help make the importance and meaning more relative to the student.


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References

NSW govt. rules out moving ethics classes. (2011, July 20). AAP General News Wire. Retrieved from ProQuest.

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