Moral education in the school context

In the following section I would like to show how morality and moral education are anchored in the school context.

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Every society that wants to ensure its existence has to make special efforts to look after its children and young people. School education plays a central role here, because in addition to imparting the necessary specialist knowledge, moral, social and emotional skills should also be promoted in order to ensure the viability of our democracy. “In a democratic society in particular, the task of the school is to help pupils to become politically competent, politically ready and responsible persons.

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In times of diverse possibilities for action, values, norms, conventions and traditions have increasingly lost their binding force. People and groups judge values ​​and value priorities differently in their specific social contexts. As a result, children and young people are increasingly dependent on themselves “to find their sense of orientation as well as acceptable standards of behavior and assessment.” [16] This complexity of our modern, pluralistic society is also reflected in the educational mandate of schools, if it says, for example, in the Hessian School Act.

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“The schools should enable the pupils, in recognition of the value system of the Basic Law and the Constitution of the State of Hesse, to make the basic rights effective for themselves and for others, […] to take on civic responsibility, both through individual action and through the perception of common interests with others to contribute to the democratic formation of the state and a just and free society, […] to shape relations with other people according to the principles of respect and tolerance, justice and solidarity, […] people of others To encounter origin, religion and worldview without prejudice and thus to contribute to the peaceful coexistence of different cultures and to stand up for equality and the right to life of all people .

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The school’s task is therefore not just to impart knowledge, but also to impart certain values ​​that enable the aforementioned competencies to be achieved. The focus is on the individual, who should gain a personal relationship to knowledge in order to positively shape the character through what has been learned and to avoid outside determination. [19] So it is important that pupils are put in the foreground and experience a certain amount of attention from parents and teachers. The learners should be made the subject of the lesson and understand that it is largely about themselves, because this is the only way to build such a personal relationship to knowledge and to actively use it.

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In summary, four sub-tasks of education and upbringing can be identified that all students should develop:

  1. a) independence,
  2. b) the ability to take on responsibility,
  3. c) political ability and
  4. d) democratic ability .

It should therefore be about giving people a solid basis for a self-determined, responsible life in a free, democratic state. This is where the term “maturity” comes into play, which not only focuses on the best possible advancement of the individual, but also aims to optimize further development of society as a whole. Moral questions should therefore be anchored in the school framework, because the educational mandate is prescribed by law and can only be fulfilled through an awareness of values.

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However, it must be borne in mind that developing these skills is a long process. There is no guarantee of morally ‘correct’ action, and neither parents nor teachers can teach children morality overnight, because “moral attitudes and willingness to act must be built up and anchored by the individual.” [21]In addition to imparting factual knowledge, the goal must be to accompany children on their way, to develop empathy and sensitivity for moral questions in order to ultimately be able to judge them autonomously, reflectively and responsibly. Because with this promotion of moral judgment and not with the attempt to convey or transfer a certain morality, the school can contribute to a democratic education in accordance with its educational mandate.



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