MARCH 03, 2015
Moral Education in Public Elementary Schools
Recently, we have witnessed a surge in crimes in the US like a massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut and a mass shooting in Missouri. Moral education, which is a curriculum that teaches people to recognize the right and the wrong, has become an urgent act needed more than ever. More importantly, the public elementary schools should offer the moral education as it not only helps the youth recognize what are right and wrong according to consequences, but it also improves their moral reasoning through peer interaction.
To begin with, the public elementary schools should provide moral education; thus, based on observations and experiences from the results they have received, the youth can determine whether or not their behaviors were right. In a clearer way, schools create a “reward and punishment system” for students’ behaviors or acts. For example, if anyone hits others, he or she will be punished like cleaning the bathroom or getting expelled for one day. From this, students recognize that hitting people is bad, and they avoid it. Thus, the youth gradually perceive what they should and should not do in society. Public elementary students need moral education because they can merely conduct a certain self-interest moral code, and they tend to behave according to their wishes. They also lack experiences to make a meaningful judgment. Therefore, it is important that the public elementary schools introduce moral education to help the youth form their moralities. The curriculum supports the youth in adjusting their morality to live in a society without harming the others. For instance, some kids usually think that all their friends should be physically and mentally same as them. Hence, if someone is different from these kids, they may think it is right to mistreat them. Following the human instinct, these kids use violence to harm or control the others, and then they turn out to be bullies. Consequently, these kids are seriously punished because they have violated regulations. However, if the public elementary schools provide moral education, some kids may learn to act differently. The curriculum points out that bullying is morally wrong and leaves a lot negative consequences such as detention or being expelled from school. Thus, they observe and learn that mistreating lead to negative results for themselves. Therefore, they will avoid mistreating them and help the others.
In addition, providing moral education in public elementary schools creates a myriad of opportunities for the youth to interact with others; hence, it encourages them to develop moral reasoning. As Xiaozhen Fang, Xiaofeng Sun, experts and researchers in moral study, writes, Tao Xingzhi, a Chinese educator, asserts in his paper that "Moral is only study from others' interaction"(728). The youth learn the moral reasoning by reaching agreements of cognitive reasons to conduct a behavior; therefore, it requires the youth to interact with other students. In other words, the youth will discuss their viewpoints together to discover a behavior’s intension. Generally, the youth have narrow experience, so they are able to practice critical thinking in moral education while they are honing moral reasoning. Moral education’s interaction includes the communication and understanding; hence, the youth can create moral discussions in depth and argues the others points of views to enlarge their living experience. In public elementary schools, the youth mainly focus on universal values because they usually encounter those values every day. My English class’s discussion about honesty when I was an elementary student in Vietnam is a good example. I took an Abraham Lincoln story, in which Lincoln returned a penny to a store even though he had been miles away from it, as my support for honesty. I persuaded my class that honesty was always appropriate because it help people avoid…