Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Obey the law – Should this be taught in schools?

In a recent discussion with a friend, he felt that we should be telling our students to “obey the law and not rob banks, or commit assaults…” He felt so strongly about this but it made me feel uncomfortable that a parent thought it was my job to do this. Even some legislators feel that teachers should be doing this by requiring that we teach character education in the classroom. I feel that teachers have enough to do and that it is the parents’ responsibility to teach ethics and morals including character education. I feel that my values and morals may be somewhat different from a parent and may step on someone’s toes if I tried to instill my values on a student. By impressing my morals on a student, it may also seem judgmental towards parents. I believe that we all feel that committing crimes are wrong but I feel that this should not be taught in the schools. My friend felt that this is not being taught at home so it is our responsibility to teach this in school. But where do we draw the line? What I may feel is wrong, a parent might not view it as wrong. Then this could lead into the debate of abortion vs. the right to life, drinking alcohol vs. alcohol abstinence, safe sex and sexual abstinence and lots of other issues that I honestly don’t think teachers have time for in the classroom. I think also that we have so many more issues that need to be taught in the classroom and teachers are already overwhelmed with requirements and restrictions. I believe ethics and morals are very important and that students need to be taught them but they need to be taught at home. Parents should be teaching that lying is wrong, stealing is wrong, and honesty and integrity is important. We are already being bombarded with standards and testing so shouldn’t parents take some responsibility for their children at home? Am I the only one that feels this way?


Mathew said...

I don't think we can help but teach students to follow laws if we're teaching them to follow class rules.

Dr Pezz said...

I guess when we see something that is an obvious violation to social norms, we should step in and correct the behavior; however, I don't necessarily think we should avoid discussing and teaching about the grey areas in society's laws and standards for propriety.

Clix said...

When I get character ed stuff handed to me to teach to my students, it sucks. Invariably. Sometimes I feel like I've gotta "play nice," I guess.

Case in point: caught one of my little angels cheating. And while I was pretty blunt with him, I still found myself doing a bit of auto-editing (as follows)

"Don't cheat. Cheating is for pussies (pansies). If you don't know something, whoop-de-do. Have the balls (guts) to admit it instead of trying to weasel for a good grade."

Since then, I have gotten a few quizzes with lots of blanks and a note that said "Ms Clix, I don't know the answers because I didn't study and I know I should have."

(And thank goodness, I haven't been fired!)

loonyhiker said...

I'm not opposed to teaching students to follow class or school rules but to actually teach class lessons like: Don't rob a bank, don't assault someone, don't commit perjury in court is going a little above and beyond.