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The role of public schools in the development of good citizens


Unfortunately, there are some who talk about our education system about product production as somehow our general and high school systems are a production line that has a production line for individuals who are able to take their place in society. Quality is measured from the point of view of academic knowledge, which is supposed to be good citizens and competent workers.

This unfortunate tendency leads us to think of schools as a kind of manufacturing organization that produces a product. The quality of the product is determined by "own" (student) ability to perform certain predefined tasks at certain levels of competence.

Since there is a sufficient number of people who have the scientific, technological and business skills to maintain the world's competitiveness, logic continues, the work of our education system is to produce individuals (the product) who have the necessary workforce competences.

While the competence of math, language, science, history, music, art and other subjects is a very desirable feature, they are not the only and even the most important property of good citizenship.

Benjamin Franklin stated that, despite the temptation, the management of individual passions, the moderation of individual acts and pleasures, are much more beneficial than "the master of all the arts and sciences of the world".

We know how to teach languages, maths and other subjects. But how do you teach kids to guide their passion and have good neighbors and citizens? How do you teach them to be in their case, to be moderate in their joys, to trust their affairs and to support themselves faithfully in misfortune?

How do you teach these concepts in public school environments? Where is the opportunity? Where do you get the time or the resources? How does character training fit into our solid curriculum?

The most important quality of good citizenship, especially in the free society, the possibility of responsible self-management. This means that not only young people must be taught virtues such as honesty, respect and responsibility, but self-restraint, self-control and self-confidence.

Good citizenship is more determined by one's desires than the individual's knowledge and less of individual ability than one character. But how can a teacher adequately influence the child's desires and help her character without violating parental concerns or the legal requirements of public schools? How can this be done within the limits of time, resources and opportunities available to the teacher?

Benjamin Franklin answered this question about two hundred and seventy-seven years ago. Answer? By teaching them how to read the holy book of nature.

The next installment of Benjamin Franklin's "The Art of Virtue" provides valuable insights into the importance of character-based learning and the key to creating effective character-based lessons.

In the summer of 1730, the Pennsylvania Gazette wrote two dialogues with Benjamin Franklin in the Book of Truth and Experience Dialogues. The conversations consist of a conversation between Horatio, the lover of joy and philocles of the wise philosopher. In the first conversation, Horatio admits to Philocle that his non-discriminatory pursuit of pleasure caused him great trouble. Crawler Philocles & # 39; Horatio likes to know his secret. Philocles explains to Horatio at the end of his conversation: Philocles: Man's leading ability is the cause, the main good or the only good thing that he calls good is a rational action. With reasonable actions we mean the measures that are conservative in the human race and naturally tend to create genuine and unmixed happiness; and we call these acts, as distinctions, morally good actions.

Horatio: You're strong, Philocles; but to have no difficulty in my mind, please tell me the real difference between natural good and evil, moral goodness and evil.

Philocles: The difference lies in this: natural good and evil pleasure and pain; moral goodness and evil pleasure or pain with intent and design; because that intent only makes the agent morally good or bad.

Horatio: But does not a very good-natured man do a vicious action?

Philocles: Yes; but you're wrong in your judgment, though your plan is good. If his mistake is inevitable or just like everything that matters, can not help it, it is inviolable; but if the lack of thought involves the judgment of the nature of human actions, it is immoral and guilty.

Horatio: So, I think we have to take great care of our opinion in order to be honest to ourselves or to others morally good.

Philocles: I do not care; like the happiness or true good of men, the right thing to do, and the right action can not be produced without the right opinion, but above all in this world you have to make sure that our own opinions are the nature of things. The foundation for all values ​​and happiness is right thinking. Those who see the act are right – that is, of course, relying on good and because of the tenderness they are just a moral person; and he alone is capable of being consistent, durable and unchanged as the subject of this conversation.

Horatio: How can I, my dear philosophical leader, be able to know and surely know what is right and wrong in life?

Philocles: It's as easy as you distinguish a circle from a square or from a darkness of darkness. Look, Horatio, in the sacred book of nature; read your own nature and see the other people in touch with you and you will see instantly what constituents make up human happiness and, consequently, what is right.

Four Points from the Dialogue above:

The true good of man is a good act.

Proper action can not be produced without a proper opinion

Right Opinions are Opinions that Respond to the Nature of Things and

The Right Opinion Can not Get Without Proper Thinking

While there are "correct" opinions "or even" right thinking ", especially when someone with a different opinion than you are doubtful that someone claims to be equivalent or equally beneficial to any opinion.

If we want to teach young people how to have a "right opinion", we must provide them with training and tools that will help them know how to "think properly", which will help them learn to think about themselves. Here, the critical component of character-based learning helps them develop the thinking skills that are needed to examine the sacred book of nature and understand what they see.

This is also a valuable key to preparatory lessons. If you know the nature of an action or thought, whether it is a natural tendency to improve or damage a human condition, then we are on the right track to help them make the right choices. Nothing can be more natural than helping young people learn to read the sacred book of nature while teaching, as teaching them about languages ​​and the meaning of words, or teaching science and nature, or the history and the human race or mathematics in which they learn the principles of symmetry, structure and order.

There is a need, there is a possibility, and the only question that still exists is "we are?" It is certain that we will not only look at the future prosperity of educated children, but also the kind of world we want to leave.

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