Tag Archives: Horace Mann

Making the case for teaching morals in the classroom…

“Living is a constant process of deciding what we are going to do.”    Jose Ortega y Gasset

The study of morals and values dates back thousands of years.  Within the United States – hundreds of years.  Its inception began with Horace Mann (1796-1859), the Massachusetts statesman and champion for morals education in the classroom.  John Dewey (1859-1952), educational reformer, followed suit stating morals education was of significant importance in schools.  Sadly, morals instruction has eluded successful drafting into a definite curriculum.  Instead, it has been “thought” intuitively learned at home, school, and church.

Although assumptions of morals learning sound good in intent, it is clear that time has come to seriously consider “making time” for morals education in schools as shown in the recent bullying of a school bus monitor in Greece, New York.

Society has changed – most children come from single parent families, one out of three teenage girls is a mother, and church memberships are down.  While bullying and character programs have been on the rise in the classroom, they do not adequately set the purpose for the learning that needs to take place, which is “learning to do what is right for right’s sake.”

Morals learning should scaffold like any successful curriculum, beginning with a foundation in the early years and emerging over time.   Unless educators provide adequate morals instruction in the classroom, our students have a slim to none chance of developing moral values on their own…

Alice came to a fork in the road. “Which road do I take?” she asked.

“Where do you want to go?” responded the Cheshire cat.

“I don’t know,” Alice answered.

“Then…,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”

                                                                  Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland