On initial consideration, the question posed here seemed to bracket nicely few main points of the subject, but that impression appeared to be wide of the mark, especially when it came to making judgments concerning the notions of "morals" and "morality". Really, what is a morality? What does it mean to be a moral person? Our values, both moral and non-moral, were acquired along with our basic language and socialized behaviours when we were young children and come from some very strong traditions that are part of our societies and our cultures. Law, religion, our family and peer group all tell us what we ought to do, but following these more traditional "oughts" does not necessary constitute a moral life.A great number of people, however, do live long and useful lives without ever consciously defining or systematically considering the values or moral rules that guide their social, personal, and work lives.
[...] And anything which diminishes our ability to make such relationships successful diminishes also our capacity for moral actions.” (Williams, 2003: 109) The moral development of a very young child brings out the interrelation of all ages. One cannot describe the moral development of infants without referring to the moral development of parents and grandparents. “Parenting a child is one of life's great moral adventures, and so is the "childing" of one's parents.” (Rubenstein, 1982: 89) Moral life is shaped by our responses to a pattern of relations. [...]
[...] One of the most wide-ranging descriptions of "morality," where words and are avoided, belongs to Russian psychologist Rubenstein, who believes that “morality is conformity and devotion to a set of standards initiated and/or accepted by an individual; an individual's active adherence to his accepted standards for the duration of his existence." (Rubenstein, 1982: 129) As in many areas of educational research, the field of moral education is full of controversy, which is directly connected with the debate about the definition of “morality”. [...]
[...] There are many other theories and approaches to this issue, but our question is about another aspect of the matter: who is responsible for moral development of children? To answer this question, first of all we need to determine the circle of possible relationships that can influence child's moral development. Of course, in the widest sense, all relationships may be regarded as part of social development, but the earlier, more personal relationships have a great impact on the process of moral development. [...]
[...] “Given the small amount of individual attention that the average child is likely to receive, and given its almost certain uneven spread amongst different children, it may well be that the quality of the contact, when it does occur, is of very great importance.”(Boydell, 2002: 71) Participation in the moral development of a child lays huge additional responsibility on a teacher, who already shares the responsibility for the value content of the taught knowledge and for the way in which she/he teaches knowledge and, thus, cultivates a certain attitude to the world at large. [...]
[...] Balancing the educator's moral duty to enable students to deal with the contradictions inherent in any complex value system, with the educator's role as an agent of that very society defines the core moral question confronted by any teacher. In my own teaching experience I had to face a moral dilemma of whether and to what extent to engage my pupils in consideration of such controversial matters. The breakdown of the former Soviet Union and its dispersal into component parts revitalized an already existing feeling that the Russian nation needed to return to its roots. [...]
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