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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Beyond basics: Schools must teach 'virtues and habits' of free people

"Back to basics" education isn't enough, writes Gillian Richards on The American Conservative. "Some conservatives have responded to morally toxic content in schools by implying that proper education should be morally neutral," just "the practical stuff" needed to get a job, she writes. Everything else is up to the parents.

But, "education is about forming a student’s character — about cultivating certain virtues and habits," Richards writes. While "parents are the primary caregivers and educators of their children, schools must cultivate and reinforce what’s taught at home."


"We want kids to have the basic knowledge and skills to get a job and make a living," she writes. But it's not enough to teach "facts" or "science."


As the Founders knew, students need "the virtues and habits that sustain a free and lasting republic."


Teach great literature that builds character and shapes children's "moral imagination," writes Jennifer Frey.

In great literature, characters make choices between right and wrong, they face dangers, threats, and other harms, as well as opportunities, choices, and temptations. They sometimes find themselves in extraordinary circumstances that call forth heroic virtues in them or that may bring out the worst in them. . . . Reading great fiction and literary nonfiction (such as biography) helps children to see reality in a deeper way.

Captain Underpants may be fun, but it's not feeding your child's mind, writes Frey. She recommendsThe Tales of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, Arabian Nights, the folklore of the Brothers Grimm, the fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson, children's versions of The Odyssey and Beowulf, as well as The Hobbit, The Princess and the Goblin, The Wind in the Willows, Charlotte’s Web, Number the Stars, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Wonder and other children’s classics.


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4件のコメント


phillipmarlowe
2023年6月18日

Teaching “The Long Goodbye” by Raymond Chandler in high school would help establish character and the right of living a moral life.

いいね!
phillipmarlowe
2023年6月18日
返信先

For the younger set, Sylvester And The Magic Pebble by William Steig can be used to promote the moral quality that money/wealth/riches does not bring happiness, but that the love of one’s parents would

do so.

(though some will complain that the police in the books are portrayed by pigs!”)

いいね!

ゲスト
2023年6月13日

Schools and educators have lost so much of the trust of parents, that many won't want their kids to learn any kind of habit or virtue from teachers. I've always been very glad Independence Day was in July, which means schools can't "teach" it.

Ann in L.A.

いいね!

Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
2023年6月13日

Moral education is a required subject in many nations' primary years' curricula, including that in use in One World Schools Activity, and discussing classic children's literature plays an important role in developing morality, as well as fluent reading -- and is the component most often left out by proponents of "the science of reading" and knowledge-building non-fiction, without which students may achieve high scores in reading comprehension, but may fail to develop a highly literate lifestyle as adults, in which case all that time spent building such literacy seems wasted, or at least disappointing.

いいね!
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