Don’t ‘Teach’ Ethics and Values

Here’s a great TED talk that’s very thought-provoking from an educator’s perspective. How do we nurture moral skill and moral will? Barry Schwartz was very clear in this TED talk – we don’t do it by teaching morals and ethics in ‘capsules’ – in fact that ensures that children know we’re not serious!

Instead, what he advocates is we need to be ‘every day heroes’ and moral exemplars to children (and for those of is in leadership roles we owe this duty to every person in our organisations).

I particularly liked the way he talked about the work at KIPP schools in the USA emphasizing the vital importance of the development of character. It’s not for nothing that in our own school, one of the four core stated values reads as follows:

“Character Forms the Basis of a Fulfilled Life:
In an age when the media would have us all believe that ‘the cult of the personality’ is everything, we believe that individuality and personality should always be secondary to character traits that manifest in effective habits. These are habits of both self-management and those practiced in one’s relationship with others. In GDGPS, we believe that those who develop positive habits of character live the most fulfilling lives.”