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ByDr. Thilagavathi G. Joseph   posted on01 May, 12 7303 Views 0 Comments Regular Feature Add to favorite

In most schools and colleges, Ethics is just another subject, not to be taken seriously and Ethics class is the time to relax. For this scenario to change, and for the students to imbibe values consciously or unconsciously, I suggest that ethical thinking should be integrated into the entire curriculum, and teachers should integrate this approach into their classroom methodology.

“The terms “ethics” and “values” are not interchangeable. Ethics (Greek ethika, from “ethos”, “character”, “custom”) are principles or standards of human conduct, sometimes called morals and, by extension, the study of such principles, sometimes called moral philosophy.” (Microsoft Encarta Reference Library 2003). Ethics is concerned with how a moral person should behave, whereas values are the inner judgements that determine how a person actually behaves. Values concern ethics when they pertain to beliefs about what is right and wrong. Most values, however, have nothing to do with ethics. For instance, the desire for health and wealth are values, but not ethical values. Quite often we tend to position ethics and values in separate compartments and behave according to our convenience, limiting ethics only to the classroom or places of worship. Integration of ethics and values is possible only if this is formed as a natural habit during the process of growing up.

School children, especially, are in an impressionable age and hence helping them to analyse and distinguish the right from the wrong and form good values is a task worth accomplishing, as the disposition of the future generation lies in the way they are groomed at present. Hence, educational institutions where a child spends about six hours a day, during the prime period of his/her life have a significant role to play in laying the roots of a strong value system.

However, society seems to have become materialistic and the only goal most parents set for their wards is to reach the highest point on the salary index. Standard of living is measured by the number of luxury items an individual or a family owns and not by the quality of life constituted by happiness, peace, contentment etc. So, curriculum has fallen prey to this social ideology and teachers too have fallen in line with this system and lead the young ones entrusted to them towards higher scores and higher pay. As soon as a student reaches Class XII, he is treated as a special entity whose only occupation in life is to study day and night and score above 90%. At the age of 18, the young citizen of India is given to understand that his sole aim in life is to earn as much as possible for his own self, unmindful of what may happen to her/his fellow citizens. This perception can be changed in the classroom.

The methodology of teaching adopted in the classroom should have two objectives: to help students learn the subject well, to score good marks and to sensitise them to moral and social issues. If these two objectives are not integrated into the curriculum, then the goal of education is incomplete.

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