Should morals be taught in schools? What do you think and why?

Expert Answers
ashwren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In an ideal world, parents would teach morals to their children. However, we do not live in a perfect world. It's not, necessarily, the parents fault. I feel that, for the most part, parents do the best they can. We live in a world where there are a lot of single parent homes. Some parents are working 2 or 3 jobs to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. That sometimes makes them absentee parents.

So, that leaves children without role models at home. They go off to school with out knowing what is polite or respectful. They say the first thing that comes to their mind, without thinking about how it might hurt others. They use violence because they do not know how to deal with the emotions they are feeling.

What are we as educators supposed to do? Should we sit by and watch them scream at each other? Are we going to let them bully us and others? NO. We are supposed to be preparing them for the future. Our students cannot go into a job and scream at or hit their employer, they won't have a job for long. And I refuse to let a child or teenager talk to me like have a power over me. In a perfect world I would not have to teach them these things. They would come to school knowing how to talk to adults, understanding respect. But they don't. This isn't a perfect world.

bigdreams1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Actually, morals are already taught in schools. Walk into many elementary schools and you will see the "Character Counts" program in action. Children are taught the 6 pillars of character (trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship). I see no problem at all with this. In fact, if these basic morals/values are taught young, I can tell you from experience that we see fewer problems with morals/disrespect in the high school. Students will often live up to whatever is expected of them, so if it is expected that they behave under the Character Counts guidelines, they very often will.

Also, I have seen so many parents in recent years that have abdicated their role as morals teachers to their children because they are too busy to take the time to do it. I am not espousing that any one religion be taught to children in public schools, but I think as educators that we have a responsibility to teach our kids about the basics of character for their good, and the good of the future of the country since today's students will be tomorrow's leaders.

booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This has been an age-old debate. I remember in the past that moral "education" was included (in some way) in the classroom. Then there came a time when parents didn't want teachers instructing their children on values or morals. We have come full circle in that many parents want (and some even expect) this to be a part of what youngsters take with them from school.

There are several difficulties here: we are not parents at school, but teachers. Next, how is my value system valid in the life of someone else's child? At the same time, while I try to point value-conscious decisions out in the classroom, it is easier for me in that I teach English/Literature. We often discuss good vs evil in literature. I try to get students to be kind and respectful in class. My biggest concern, however, is why this is not being taught at home. One might ask, how can we teach anymore than we do, with the limited time we have—which with testing and special programs—is already not enough?

This is a tough call.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with #25 in that the emphasis is on values in the education system. However, by interacting with young people in a community environment for five days a week, 7 hours a day, there is bound to be some morals 'teaching' (and hopefully learning). Thinking back to the old adage, 'it takes a village to raise a child', surely we should give young people information on our moral beliefs - as parents and teachers - in order to help them develop their own? if morals were only taught in schools, I would be of the belief that corporal punishment is acceptable, as it was in my own school. If morals are only taught in the home, many of my present students would never learn that domestic violence does not have to be a way of life.

Young people need a range of viewpoints from which to steer their own path.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Whether we like it or not, schools will always be involved with teaching moral behavior. An important part of the educational process is the learning of how to become a functioning member of the larger society that exists outside of the family unit.

Some students come from families that are very involved outside of themselves and that do a great deal of providing experiences and direction in how to relate to others in moral and respectful ways. Other students, for any number of reasons, do not come to us with those kinds of awarenesses - or with attitudes already in place that scream "I am entitled! You will cater to my needs! I don't have to do it if I don't want to and you can't make me!"

We don't always call it teaching morals, but we do it many times every day.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think they should be.  I do not think that the government should choose what morals my kids will be exposed to.  That is up to me.  Imagine, for example, if the government wanted to teach my daughters that it is moral for them to submit to their future husbands because that's the way God wants things.  I would not want my kids being told that.  I think that parents are the only ones who should be chosing the moral messages their kids are getting when they are very young.  Later, when they're in high school, let them hear whatever because they'll be old enough to decide for themselves.  But when they're at a more impressionable age, I want to be the only one picking what morals they are taught by authority figures.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Those who insist that morals should only be taught at home apparently have not seen some of the homes many kids come from. In many instances they have no guidance at home and zero social skills. A major part of a student's education today is the "unwritten curriculum" of how to cope in society. If schools only teach academic subjects, then the student has only been partially educated. It is necessary to train him/her to be a responsible law abiding citizen. I think it is not only proper but absolutely necessary that students be taught proper behavior and a clear distinction between that which is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. It is a dangerous assumption to assume they will learn it at home.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

True it is the responsibility of the parent to teach matters of a moral nature to children, however, many parents are not doing this. Many parents excuse and even encourage their children to make choices that are contrary to what most of society considers "moral." Why parents choose this has varying reasons. Perhaps it's easier to be a child's friend than a good parent. Perhaps, it's apathy on the parent's part. Perhaps these parents were raised without being taught moral principles. Regardless of the reason, more and more students are in the need of moral guidance from sources outside the family home.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Schools already teach and uphold many moral principles.  I give explicit instruction about what constitutes plagiarism and how theft of an idea is as bad as theft of a physical item.  I expect honesty when it comes to student work!  We have a tight no-bullying policy -- we are teaching moral behavior as it pertains to how the students and teachers treat one another.  Whenever there are expectations for behavior, there is a moral lesson to be taught and learned.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A large role of schools in our society is socialization of commonly held beliefs and values, of how to conduct oneself in our society.  But more importantly, I believe that schools should be instrumental in teaching students how to search for their own values and beliefs, to find their own truths, as opposed to superimposing those of society as a whole on minds that are still developing.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the world today the school district has to teach morals. Many of our students are not learning them at home. I agree that it can be a tricky situation addressing morals, as some may not have the same view of what is and is not moral. However, the school has to address the issues of what is right and wrong in the real world.

josharnott976 | Student

If we were all perfect, schools would not have the responsibility of teaching this to their students. I think the schools should continue to do so, basic things such as obedience, respect, ect.

mahmood786 | Student

the new generation is continuously bombarded with the information which they are unable to sort out  wrong and right , good and bad , moral or immoral if ther be no one to tell them they will be an easy prey to the evil which have taken the guise of good. there are so many things which parents don't know about their kids only teachers know them. As the teachers are their role models so they can easily influence as my personal experience goes. many of the students turn up to me for the very personal problem which they could not share with their parents because of fear , respect or  afraid of being snubbed. teacher should not be a robot just to teach the text book he should be a person who ought to care about the moral grooming of his/her students.

eilarmos | Student

Its not moral that we are teaching in school, it's NORMS and VALUES. Moral is somehow a vague term, and it is subjective. One thing could be moral for me but immoral for you.

This world is following cultural patterns that dictates how the members of the society should behave, those patterns include NORMS and VALUES.

At the end of the day, it is still the individual person who decides if what he did throughout the day is moral or immoral. But anybody could rigt away judge if someone violates a particular expectation set by society.

sebnumbah1 | Student

I believe that they should, in fact, not be. You see, teachers are people. People are different. Therefore, teachers are different from one another. You could go to one grade and the teacher could be instructing you in a way that is offensive or opposing to another. For example, one teacher could say that Catholics are the best, and Protestants are paganistic heathens who defile the name of Jesus Christ as well as the Catholic Church and the entire Christian faith. And another could say that Protestants teach a more traditional way, similar to how Jesus taught his disciples. She could say that Catholics are traditionalistic and corrupt. Basically, no, because morals are basically opinions and ethical codes. In different places they are different. In order to remain open and tolerant, we must retain our differences in morals as well as religions, languages, etc.

shizza123 | Student

Morals don't really need to be taught in school... They are something children should be brought up with. This will really help make a better society.

They make you do Civics and careers in high school. It is manditory to graduate. We alo learnt about a part where there are some things that are not mentioned in the constitution, but one must decide whether or not they are MORALLY correct. so, in order to do that, I guess kinds need to knoe morals..... Religious beliefs should not be forced on them, though...... :)

gradegrumber | Student
In reply to #20: Fail.
gradegrumber | Student

I don't think they should be.  I do not think that the government should choose what morals my kids will be exposed to.  That is up to me.  Imagine, for example, if the government wanted to teach my daughters that it is moral for them to submit to their future husbands because that's the way God wants things.  I would not want my kids being told that.  I think that parents are the only ones who should be chosing the moral messages their kids are getting when they are very young.  Later, when they're in high school, let them hear whatever because they'll be old enough to decide for themselves.  But when they're at a more impressionable age, I want to be the only one picking what morals they are taught by authority figures.

First of all, not only religious morals are taught in schools. There are many Public and Private schools that do not teach any morals about God and such. Second of all, many morals that are taught in schools are very general morals that each individual has to learn. Morals affect our every day lives! Morals teach us not to steal, not to hurt others, think before we act, and most importantly make decisions, which brings me on to your next point.  Decisions are based a universal tool of morals that influences greatly on our daily decisions. For example, Kevin sees a man being assualted by another man. If kevin has good morals, he will either rationally confront them to stop the violence or call and report an assualt to the police. Without morals, it would be almost impossible to make rational and meaning descisions because morals is a basis where it shape our lives in one way or the other.

littleliar13 | Student

I don't think so. You decide what you believe to be right and wrong.

yoangyo | Student


silvercat | Student
Should morals be taught in schools?

What do u think? and why?

I believe that basic morals should be taught in school such as:obedience, consequences, honesty, ect. Catholic schools are alread taught religious morals not only of their religion but of world religions aswell. Schools should not teach world religion morals because if you are in a catholic school, you should be learning about your religious morals. I think that the morals we do learn in school are ok because its not like we're forced to follow them. They are more like guidelines and they are not written in stone. And morals is defined as what the government and society decides what is right and wrong and since the government chooses school cirriculums, there is no harm in teaching morals in school because everyone can apply them to real life and parents can still decide what morals they believe their kids should have. Morals are different for everyone and is therefore harmless to teach in schools. Should morals be taught in school? Absolutely. School is a big part of a person's life and the school they attend has a part in raising that child. There's nothing wrong with teaching morals to kids.

mikeeverett99 | Student

Yes, especially to whomever is behind all these internet scams.

woaded | Student

In China,elementary school already teach and uphold many moral principles to students many years ago.I also is taught when I studied in elementary school. I think it is to helps a child foster a sense of repect,understand,communication and filial piety etc. I support school should teach moral.

she-chemist | Student

Why  not? If  it  is paid!))) Seriously  -education  of moral  is  begun  with  appearance  of teacher  in  a classroom. It is possible don't  talk  about  it,  but  to be such  teacher,  whose  behaviour's  line  becomes as  example  for  an imitation. Such  methods  of teaching  of moral  are named  suggestological, but    to possess  them, it is necessary to be self-improved/

fawadphysics | Student

simple answer.......


but not as a seperate subject which is a very difficult one and students just memorize them in order to get pass in the examination.....

but teachers should be trained enough to show to taught it by their actions....bring them in their discussions......during each topic there is a scope of including moral values and ethics........

americangenius | Student

I believe morals should only be taught at home because everyone has theirown set that they follow, and I don't believe that any childs parents would want you to influence their children on what they teach them at home.

krcavnar | Student

In teaching history I have a platform for teaching right and wrong through the acts of governments, individuals, court cases, etc. I don't teach "morality" as such but i do try to get the students to identify moral behaviors whether right or wrong. I find it very funny that they always hold other people to higher standards than their own behavior. For example, they will criticize a corrupt politician but yet defend stealing something themselves. They rationalize their own behavior and this does allow for some very interesting converstations about conduct, morals, etc.