#atozchallenge: Educating without Moralising

kansai-university-84363

It is frustrating to be a teacher and not be able to talk about politics in depth with my students. I am sure that government teachers struggle even more than I. I cannot teach politics, or share my own political views, but transmitting my personal ethics and morals should not be too difficult.

I teach in Georgia, a part of the Bible Belt. I am not Christian, nor was I raised as one. My moral compass and personal ethical trail is much different from a majority of my students. How do we educate morality without forcing one’s own morals on our students? Should we even try to educate morality, or is it up to the parents, churches and non-school environments? What part do I as a teacher play in my students’ moral and ethical upbringing? Perhaps I am worrying for nothing, but we do have interesting and deep discussions about life in my classes, and I worry that sometimes I am unduly influencing them.

For me, the answer is neutrality. I teach the French point-of-view without mentioning if I agree with it or not. Since I’m German, I get a free pass for any ‘weird ideas’ I might have, but that is a lucky thing. Simple morality lessons are easy: talking about racism from the French point-of-view may open the discussion to racism in America, but my students will only hear what the French think about racism and not what I think.

Remaining neutral in the face of obvious bigotry is difficult, and I admit I’ve slipped in the past. Luckily, the easiest thing for me to say is ‘This has nothing to do with French, let’s get back on topic.’ It’s cheating, but it works. – SDM

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If you’d like to read the other posts in this year’s A to Z challenge, check them out here.

Photo by David Mark

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4 Comments

  1. Some great posts so far in this challenge. Give your students the tools and they will make up their own mind (hopefully). I like that you relate it back to France, to give them another world perspective.

    Like

  2. I’m thinking about becoming a teacher myself and this is something I’ve been thinking about as well. How to approach students displaying unethical, or bigoted attitudes without pushing your own opinions is a good question because in my book letting a comment pass without correcting it is allowing it to spread and influence the rest of the audience, in this case the rest of the class.

    Bigoted views only continue because they go unchecked. Putting it in to practice I can imagine is very difficult indeed and you are definitely right about remaining neutral through a debate and allowing them to argue the different sides and make up their own minds.

    Like

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