You may have listened to a recent episode of the Moral Maze (link below) which debated the issue of moral education in schools. I found the programme confusing; it suggested to me that even well educated and thoughtful people may be sadly ignorant of the elements involved. You may disagree.
This week I am listing some questions inspired by the programme because you may well be able to throw some light here. Given that we may sometimes find ourselves discussing these issues with non-Catholics, it will be helpful if you do not major on ‘Catholic’ answers, remembering that morality throws up questions to non-believers just as it does to believers.
1 Is moral education primarily about teaching the young which actions are wrong and which actions are right?
2 Is moral education primarily about developing the skills of moral thinking so that pupils are able to decide on moral codes themselves?
3 Is moral education best not taught directly, but incidentally – when issues arise within other subjects such as science and history?
4 Should schools have no responsibility for moral education? This is the duty of parents: the schools’ job is to teach facts not values.
5 What common basis do we have for moral principles, or is any basis a matter of personal choice? (I think here particularly of teaching in non-faith schools.)
6 How would moral education deal with the fact that different cultures have different moral bases? For example, a culture with different approaches to the rights of women, homosexuality, capital punishment, democratic tolerance, etc.
While I have numbered the questions so that you can identify to which one you are referring, feel free to give more general answers. Raising additional questions on this subject would be valuable. What I have written is only a start point.
Moral Maze http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04md589