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3. moral issues in education

Values in education...Indoctrination or invaluable?

Mike Yule

on 7 September 2016

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Transcript of 3. moral issues in education

Values in education...
Indoctrination or

Libertarian position
THE fundamental human right
is to individual liberty,
as long as others' rights are respected
State has only a minimal role to play
I own myself
No paternalism
No morals legislation
No redistribution of wealth by taxation
They all violate the right of the individual to choose their own path
They are coercion
What should we be trying to achieve in education?
Tom Bennett
Who IS responsible for values education?
What do the standards & Ofsted say?
What's in the curriculum?
Global Citizenship
Faith schools?
Ok or not?
If not, how do YOU justify Eco schools?
"That... teachers should be formally responsible for the moral progress of children is to place an unanswerable burden on the shoulders of a profession that has no formal process for doing so." Tom Bennett
Not teachers, say some:
Not if the values have been imposed from above...
It isn't for schools to solve all of society's ills - increasingly they're being asked to
How do we view children?
responsibility of their parents
vulnerable dependents...
children, not future adults
embody a state of innocence, purity and natural goodness that is only contaminated by the outside world
rights holders

own right
open, curious, wondering
having agency,

able to make decisions
unformed until educated
(Claire Fox)
partner in educative process
Ofsted framework:
In reporting, inspectors must also consider:
the achievement of pupils at the school
the quality of teaching in the school
the quality of leadership in and management of the school
the behaviour and safety of pupils at the school.
the spiritual, moral, social and
cultural development of pupils at the school
What is school for?
Before deciding what morality we bring to bear in our schools, we have to consider:
To produce a workforce that meets the needs of society
To socialise people into the cultural values of society
To develop emotional intelligence
To make them happy
To develop potential
to pass on the very best of what humanity has learned
It's ...
Cambridge Primary Review
Education reflects values and moral purposes
Self, others, wider world
Learning, knowing, doing
to attend to children's well being
to secure children's active engagement in their learning
to empower through knowledge, skills
to foster autonomy
encourage respect and reciprocity
promote interdependence and sustainability
empower active participation in their communities (local and global)
celebrate culture and community
exploring, knowing, understanding
fostering skill
exciting the imagination
enacting dialogue
Chapter 12
To develop children's understanding of humanity's dependence for well-being and survival on equitable relationships between individuals, groups, communities and nations,
and on a sustainable relationship with the natural world
and help children to move from understanding to positive action in order that they can make a difference and know that they have the power to do so.
stands in direct opposition to the libertarian approach to the human condition
"I own myself"

"I am an interconnected
Richest man in the world
Inequality growing
Inequality leads to inequity (spirit level)
Climate change, e.g. is the result of the wealthy (see BAn Ki MOOn)
part of a society"
The individualistic approach has proved unsuccessful in dealing with 'bigger than self' problems -

These require collective action -
Collective action needs preparation
let me choose my vices, my risks, how I use my money, what I say, - I do not belong to the state
to promote notions of virtue
Are you satisfied with that?
poverty, climate change
not giving enough = letting people die
letting people die
spending money on luxuries
same as
shooting people
same as
Counter arguments
shooter (malice) has a different motive from someone who doesn't give enough to charity
At worst, luxury buyer is a bit selfish
It's not hard not to kill people, but it IS hard to help all the people we can
If I shoot someone I know who it is. If I buy an iPod, I dont know whom I could have saved
If I pull the trigger, I know I'll kill someone. I don't know if my aid will be successful
If I kill, I'm directly responsible. But the starving would still die, even if I didn't exist
Letting people die is the moral equivalent of murder?
4. Someone who poisons food in supermarket doesn't know identity of victim but crime is just as heinous
3. Recklessness is sometimes just as dangerous...e.g speeding over zebra crossing
5. We are just as responsible for our omissions as acts.
Libertarians argue:
I have right to life, against others who threaten me
BUT NOT a right to assistance when my life in danger
So I don't have to give assistance.
This theory of rights is built upon a fictional 'state of nature' where everyone lives independently of each other
But this is not the way we live - our lives are interconnected. We cannot pretend otherwise.
If we buy oil from a country whose emperor has sold out to the corporation, cheated his people, are we not in effect "handling stolen goods"?
In fact we are social beings...why build rights around the idea of lack of interference?
1. Lack of motive isn't sufficient defence...compare strict liability offences
Obligation to assist
If we can prevent something bad without sacrificing anything of comparable significance, we should
Extreme poverty is bad
There is some extreme poverty that we can prevent without sacrificing anything of compparable moral significance
We ought to prevent extreme poverty
We should look after those near to us first
Libertarian property rights - there can be no obligation to assist others [though it may be desirable]
Main cause of extreme poverty is over population and aiding these people only exacerbates the problem
Leave it to governments
It's too demanding of us - we are not saints
What do you make of these objections - are you satisfied with them?
Are we supposed
to teach the difference between
right and wrong?

Post modernism
All views are equally valid...

Teaching values is indoctrination...an imposition of the will/point of view of the teacher
(or the group with the power)
Q: Does respect for the traditions of different cultures mean that we must stand back from all moral judgements?
Q: Are we supposed to teach the difference between right and wrong?
Q: Does respect for the traditions of different cultures mean that we must stand back from all moral judgements?

Neon Roberts
SSAT...Dylan Wiliam
"Duty to promote fundamental British values"
section 78 of the Education Act 2002
Pupils must be encouraged to regard people of all faiths, races and cultures with respect and tolerance.
It is expected that pupils should understand that while different people may hold different views about what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, all people living in England are subject to its law.
Pupils should be made aware of the difference between the law of the land and religious law.
Schools should promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
Actively promoting the values means challenging opinions or behaviours in school that are contrary to fundamental British values.
Nigel Warburton on 'values education'...
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