VIEW THE MOBILE VERSION of Informational Site Network Informational


From: How to Teach

Morality has been defined in many ways. t has been called "a regulation
and control of immediate promptings of impulses in conformity with some
prescribed conduct"; as "the organization of activity with reference to
a system of fundamental values." Dewey says, "nterest in community
welfare, an interest that is intellectual and practical, as well as
emotional--an interest, that is to say, in perceiving whatever makes for
social order and progress, and in carrying these principles into
execution--is the moral habit."[17] Palmer defines it as "the choice by
the individual of habits of conduct that are for the good of the race."
All these definitions point to control on the part of the individual as
one essential of morality.

Morality is not, then, a matter primarily of mere conduct. t involves
conduct, but the essence of morality lies deeper than the act itself;
motive, choice, are involved as well. Mere law-abiding is not morality
in the strict sense of the word. One may keep the laws merely as a
matter of blind habit. A prisoner in jail keeps the laws. A baby of four
keeps the laws, but in neither case could such conduct be called moral.
n neither of these cases do we find "control" by the individual of
impulses, nor "conscious choice" of conduct. n the former compulsion
was the controlling force, and in the second blind habit based on
personal satisfaction. Conduct which outwardly conforms to social law
and social progress is unmoral rather than moral. A moment's
consideration will suffice to convince any one that the major part of
conduct is of this non-moral type. This is true of adults and
necessarily true of children. As Hall says, most of the supposedly moral
conduct of the majority of men is blind habit, not thoughtful choosing.
n so far as we are ruled by custom, by tradition, in so far as we do as
the books or the preacher says, or do as we see others do, without
principles to guide us, without thinking, to that extent the conduct is
likely to be non-moral. This is the characteristic reaction of the
majority of people. We believe as our fathers believed, we vote the same
ticket, hold in horror the same practices, look askance on the same
doctrines, cling to the same traditions. Morality, on the other hand, is
rationalized conduct. Now this non-moral conduct is valuable so far as
it goes. t is a conservative force, making for stability, but it has
its dangers. t is antagonistic to progress. So long as the conditions
surrounding the non-moral individual remain unchanged, he will be
successful in dealing with them, but if conditions change, if he is
confronted by a new situation, if strong temptation comes, he has
nothing with which to meet it, for his conduct was blind. t is the
person whose conduct is non-moral that suffers collapse on the one hand,
or becomes a bigot on the other, when criticism attacks what he held as
true or right. Morality requires that men have a reason for the faith
that is in them.

n the second place, morality is conduct. deals, ideas, wishes,
desires, all may lead to morality, but in so far as they are not
expressed in conduct, to that extent they do not come under the head of
morality. One may express the sublimest idea, may claim the highest
ideals, and be immoral. Conduct is the only test of morality, just as it
is the ultimate test of character. Not only is morality judged in terms
of conduct, but it is judged according as the conduct is consistent.
"Habits of conduct" make for morality or immorality. t is not the
isolated act of heroism that makes a man moral, or the single unsocial
act that makes a man immoral. The particular act may be moral or
immoral, and the person be just the reverse. t is the organization of
activity, it is the habits a man has that places him in one category or
the other.

n the third place, morality is a matter of individual responsibility.
t is "choice by the individual," the "perceiving whatever makes for
social order and progress." No one can choose for another, no one can
perceive for another. The burden of choosing for the good of the group
rests on the individual, it cannot be shifted to society or the Church,
or any other institution. Each individual is moral or not according as
he lives up to the light that he has, according as he carries into
execution principles that are for the good of his race. A particular
act, then, may be moral for one individual and immoral for another, and
non-moral for still another.

n the third place, morality is a matter of individual responsibility.
t is "choice be the individual," the "perceiving whatever makes for
social order and progress." No one can choose for another, no one can
perceive for another. The burden of Choosing for the good of the group
rests on the individual, it cannot be shifted to society or the Church,
or any other institution. Each individual is moral or not according as
he lives up to the light that he has, according as he carries into
execution principles that are for the good of his race. A particular
act, then, may be moral for one individual and immoral for another, and
non-moral for still another.

To go off into the forest to die if one is diseased may be a moral act
for a savage in central Africa; but for a civilized man to do so would
probably be immoral because of his greater knowledge. To give liquor to
babies to quiet them may be a non-moral act on the part of ignorant
immigrants from Russia; but for a trained physician to do so would be
immoral. Morality, then, is a personal matter, and the responsibility
for it rests on the individual.

Of course this makes possible the setting up of individual opinion as to
what is for the good of the group in opposition to tradition and custom.
This is, of course, dangerous if it is mere opinion or if it is carried
to an extreme. Few men have the gift of seeing what makes for social
well-being beyond that of the society of thoughtful people of their
time. And yet if a man has the insight, if his investigations point to a
greater good for the group from doing something which is different from
the standards held by his peers, then morality requires that he do his
utmost to bring about such changes. f it is borne in mind that every
man is the product of his age and that it is evolution, not revolution,
that is constructive, this essential of true morality will not seem so
dangerous. All the reformers the world has ever seen, all the pioneers
in social service, have been men who, living up to their individual
responsibility, have acted as they believed for society's best good in
ways that were not in accord with the beliefs of the majority of their
time. Shirking responsibility, not living up to what one believes is
right, is immoral just as truly as stealing from one's neighbor.

The fourth essential in moral conduct is that it be for the social good.
t is the governing of impulses, the inhibition of desires that violate
the good of the group, and the choice of conduct that forwards its
interests. This does not mean that the group and the individual are set
over against each other, and the individual must give way. t means,
rather, that certain impulses, tendencies, motives, of the individual
are chosen instead of others; it means that the individual only becomes
his fullest self as he becomes a social being; it means that what is for
the good of the group in the long run is for the good of the units that
make up that group. Morality, then, is a relative term. What is of
highest moral value in one age may be immoral in another because of
change in social conditions. As society progresses, as different
elements come to the front because of the march of civilization, so the
acts that are detrimental to the good of the whole must change. To-day
slander and stealing a man's good name are quite as immoral as stealing
his property. Acts that injure the mental and spiritual development of
the group are even more immoral than those which interfere with the
physical well-being.

A strong will is not necessarily indicative of a good character. A
strong will may be directed towards getting what gives pleasure to
oneself, irrespective of the effect on other people. t is the goal, the
purpose with which it is exercised, that makes a man with a strong will
a moral man or an immoral man. Only when one's will is used to put into
execution those principles that will bring about social progress is it
productive of a good character.

Thus it is seen that morality can be discussed only in connection with
group activity. t is the individual as a part of a group, acting in
connection with it, that makes the situation a moral one. ndividual
morality is discussed by some authors, but common opinion limits the
term to the use that has been discussed in the preceding paragraphs.

f social well-being is taken in its broadest sense, then all moral
behavior is social, and all social behavior comes under one of the three
types of morality. Training for citizenship, for social efficiency, for
earning a livelihood, all have a moral aspect. t is only as the
individual is trained to live a complete life as one of a group that he
can be trained to be fully moral, and training for complete social
living must include training in morality. Hence for the remainder of
this discussion the two terms will be considered as synonymous. We hear
it sometimes said, "training in morals and manners," as if the two were
distinct, and yet a full, realization of what is for social betterment
along emotional and intellectual lines must include a realization of the
need of manners. Of course there are degrees of morality or immorality
according as the act influences society much or little--all crimes are
not equally odious, nor all virtues equally commendable, but any act
that touches the well-being of the group must come under this category.

From the foregoing paragraph, the logical conclusion would be that there
is no instinct or inborn tendency that is primarily and distinctly moral
as over against those that are social. That is the commonly accepted
belief to-day. There is no moral instinct. Morality finds its root in
the original nature of man, but not in a single moral instinct. t is,
on the other hand, the outgrowth of a number of instincts all of which
have been listed under the head of the social instinct. Man has in his
original equipment tendencies that will make him a moral individual _if_
they are developed, but they are complex, not simple. Some of these
social tendencies which are at the root of moral conduct are
gregariousness, desire for approval, dislike of scorn, kindliness,
attention to human beings, imitation, and others. Now, although man
possesses these tendencies as a matter of original equipment, he also
possesses tendencies which are opposed to these, tendencies which lead
to the advancement of self, rather than the well-being of the group.
Some of these are fighting, mastery, rivalry, jealousy, ownership. Which
of these sets of tendencies is developed and controls the life of the
individual is a matter of training and environment. n the last chapter
it was pointed out that morality was much more susceptible to
environmental influences than intellectual achievement, because it was
much more a direction and guidance of capacities and tendencies
possessed by every one. One's character is largely a product of one's
environment. n proof of this, read the reports of reform schools, and
the like. Children of criminal parents, removed from the environment of
crime, grow up into moral persons. The pair of Jukes who left the Juke
clan lost their criminal habits and brought up a family of children who
were not immoral. Education cannot produce geniuses, but it can produce
men and women whose chief concern is the well-being of the group.

From a psychological point of view the "choice by the individual of
habits of conduct that are for the good of the group" involves three
considerations: First, the elements implied in such conduct; second, the
stages of development; third, the laws governing this development.
First, moral conduct involves the use of habits, but these must be
rational habits, so it involves the power to think and judge in order to
choose. But thinking that shall result in the choice of habits that are
for the well-being of the group must use knowledge. The individual must
have facts and standards at his disposal by means of which he may
evaluate the possible lines of action presented. Further, an individual
may know intellectually what is right and moral and yet not care. The
interest, the emotional appeal, may be lacking, hence he must have
ideals to which he has given his allegiance, which will force him to put
into practice what his knowledge tells him is right. And then, having
decided what is for the social good and having the desire to carry it
out, the moral man must be able to put it into execution. He must have
the "will power." Morality, then, is an extremely complex matter,
involving all the powers of the human being, intellectual, emotional,
and volitional--involving the cooeperation of heredity and environment.
t is evident that conduct that is at so high a level, involving
experience, powers of judgment, and control, cannot be characteristic of
the immature individual, but must come after years of growth, if at all.
Therefore we find stages of development towards moral conduct.

The first stage of development, which lasts up into the pre-adolescent
years, is the non-moral stage. The time when a child may conform
outwardly to moral law, but only as a result of blind habit--not as a
result of rational choice. t is then that the little child conforms to
his environment, reflecting the characters of the people by whom he is
surrounded. Right to him means what those about him approve and what
brings him satisfaction. f stealing and lying meet with approval from
the people about him, they are right to him. To steal and be caught is
wrong to the average child of the streets, because that brings
punishment and annoyance. He has no standards of judging other than the
example of others and his own satisfaction and annoyance. The non-moral
period, then, is characterized by the formation of habits--which
outwardly conform to moral law, or are contrary to it, according as his
environment directs.

The need to form habits that do conform, that are for the social good,
is evident. By having many habits of this kind formed in early
childhood, truthfulness, consideration for others, respect for poverty,
promptness, regularity, taking responsibility, and so on, the dice are
weighted in favor of the continuation of such conduct when reason
controls. The child has then only to enlarge his view, build up his
principles in accord with conduct already in operation--he needs only to
rationalize what he already possesses. On the other hand, if during
early years his conduct violates moral law, he is in the grip of habits
of great strength which will result in two dangers. He may be blind to
the other side, he may not realize how his conduct violates the laws of
social progress; or, knowing, he may not care enough to put forth the
tremendous effort necessary to break these habits and build up the
opposite. From the standpoint of conduct this non-moral period is the
most important one in the life of the child. n it the twig is bent. To
urge that a child cannot understand and therefore should be excused for
all sorts of conduct simply evades the issue. He is forming habits--that
cannot be prevented; the question is, Are those habits in line with the
demands of social efficiency or are they in violation of it?

But character depends primarily on deliberate choice. We dare not rely
on blind habit alone to carry us through the crises of social and
spiritual adjustment. There will arise the insistent question as to
whether the habitual presupposition is right. Occasions will occur when
several possible lines of conduct suggest themselves; what kind of
success will one choose, what kind of pleasure? Choice, personal choice,
will be forced upon the individual. This problem does not usually grow
acute until early adolescence, although it may along some lines present
itself earlier. When it appears will depend to a large extent on the
environment. For some people in some directions it never comes. t
should come gradually and spontaneously. This period is the period of
transition, when old habits are being scrutinized, when standards are
being formulated and personal responsibility is being realized, when
ideals are made vital and controlling. t may be a period of storm and
stress when the youth is in emotional unrest; when conduct is erratic
and not to be depended on; when there is reaction against authority of
all kinds. These characteristics are unfortunate and are usually the
result of unwise treatment during the first period. f, on the other
hand, the period of transition is prepared for during the preadolescent
years by giving knowledge, opportunities for self-direction and choice,
the change should come normally and quietly. The transition period
should be characterized by emphasis upon personal responsibility for
conduct, by the development of social ideals, and by the cementing of
theory and practice. This period is an ever recurring one.

The transition period is followed by the period of true morality during
which the conduct chosen becomes habit. The habits characteristic of
this final period are different from the habits of the non-moral period,
in that they have their source in reason, whereas those of the early
period grew out of instincts. This is the period of most value, the
period of steady living in accordance with standards and ideals which
have been tested by reason and found to be right. The transition period
is wasteful and uncertain. True morality is the opposite. But so long as
growth in moral matters goes on there is a continuous change from
transition period to truly moral conduct and back again to a fresh
transition period and again a change to morality of a still higher
order. Each rationalized habit but paves the way for one still higher.
Morality, then, should be a continual evolution from level to level.
Only so is progress in the individual life maintained.

Morality, then, requires the inhibition of some instincts and the
perpetuation of others, the formation of habits and ideals, the
development of the power to think and judge, the power to react to
certain abstractions such as ought, right, duty, and so on, the power to
carry into execution values accepted. The general laws of instinct, of
habit, the response by piecemeal association, the laws of attention and
appreciation, are active in securing these responses that we call moral,
just as they are operative in securing other responses that do not come
under this category. t is only as these general psychological laws are
carried out sufficiently that stable moral conduct is secured. Any
violation of these laws invalidates the result in the moral field just
as it would in any other. There is not one set of principles governing
moral conduct and another set governing all other types of conduct. The
same general laws govern both. This being true, there is no need of
discussing in detail the operation of laws controlling moral
conduct--that has all been covered in the previous chapters. However,
there are some suggestions which should be borne in mind in the
application of these laws to this field.

First, it is a general principle that habits, to be fixed and stable,
must be followed by satisfactory results and that working along the
opposite line, that of having annoyance follow a lapse in the conduct,
is uneconomical and unreliable. This principle applies particularly to
moral habits. Truth telling, bravery, obedience, generosity, thought for
others, church going, and so on must be followed by positive
satisfaction, if they are to be part of the warp and woof of life.
Punishing falsehood, selfishness, cowardice, and so on is not enough,
for freedom from supervision will usually mean rejection of such forced
habits. A child must find that it pays to be generous; that he is
happier when he cooeperates with others than when he does not. Positive
satisfaction should follow moral conduct. Of course this satisfaction
must vary in type with the age and development of the child, from
physical pleasure occasioned by an apple as a reward for self-control at
table to the satisfaction which the consciousness of duty well done
brings to the adolescent.

Second, the part played by suggestion in bringing about moral habits and
ideals must be recognized. The human personalities surrounding the child
are his most influential teachers in this line. This influence of
personalities begins when the child is yet a baby. Reflex imitation
first, and later conscious imitation plus the feeling of dependence
which a little child has for the adults in his environment, results in
the child reflecting to a large extent the characters of those about
him. Good temper, stability, care for others, self-control, and many
other habits; respect for truth, for the opinion of others, and many
other ideals, are unconsciously absorbed by the child in his early
years. Example not precept, actions not words, are the controlling
forces in moral education. Hence the great importance of the characters
of a child's companions, friends, and teachers, to say nothing of his
parents. Next to personalities, theaters, moving pictures, and books,
all have great suggestive power.

Third, there is always a danger that theory become divorced from
practice, and this is particularly true here because morality is
conduct. Knowing what is right is one thing, doing it is another, and
knowing does not result in doing unless definite connections are made
between the two. nstruction in morals may have but little effect on
conduct. t is only as the knowledge of what is right and good comes in
connection with social situations when there is the call for action that
true morality can be gained. Mere classroom instruction cannot insure
conduct. t is only as the family and the school become more truly
social institutions, where group activity such as one finds in life is
the dominant note, that we can hope to have morality and not ethics,
ideals and not passive appreciation, as a result of our teaching.

Fourth, it is without question true that in so far as the habits fixed
are "school habits" or "Sunday habits," or any other special type of
habits, formed only in connection with special situations, to that
extent we have no reason to expect moral conduct in the broader life
situations. The habits formed are those that will be put into practice,
and they are the only ones we are sure of. Because a child is truthful
in school, prompt in attendance, polite to his teacher, and so on is no
warrant that he will be the same on the playground or on the street.
Because a child can think out a problem in history or mathematics is no
warrant that he will therefore think out moral problems. The only sure
way is to see to it that he forms many useful habits out of school as
well as in, that he has opportunity to think out moral problems as well
as problems in school subjects.[18]

Fifth, individual differences must not be forgotten in moral training.
ndividual differences in suggestibility will influence the use of this
factor in habit formation. ndividual differences in power of
appreciation will influence the formation of ideals. Differences in
interest in books will result in differing degrees of knowledge.
Differences in maturity will mean that certain children in a class are
ready for facts concerning sex, labor and capital, crime, and so on,
long before other children in the same class should have such knowledge.
Differences in thinking power will determine efficiency in moral
situations just as in others.

The more carefully we consider the problem of moral social conduct, the
more apparent it becomes that the work of the school can be modified so
as to produce more significant results than are commonly now secured.
ndeed, it may be contended that in some respects the activities of the
school operate to develop an attitude which is largely individualistic,
competitive, and, if not anti-social, at least non-social. Although we
may not expect that the habits and attitudes which are developed in the
school will entirely determine the life led outside, yet one may not
forget that a large part of the life of children is spent under school
supervision. As children work in an atmosphere of cooeperation, and as
they form habits of helpfulness and openmindedness, we may expect that
in some degree these types of activity will persist, especially in their
association with each other. n a school which is organized to bring
about the right sort of moral social conduct we ought to expect that
children would grow in their power to accept responsibility for each
other. The writer knows of a fourth grade in which during the past year
a boy was absent from the room after recess. The teacher, instead of
sending the janitor, or she herself going to find the boy, asked the
class what they were going to do about it, and suggested to them their
responsibility for maintaining the good name which they had always borne
as a group. Two of the more mature boys volunteered to go and find the
boy who was absent. When they brought him into the room a little while
later, they remarked to the teacher in a most matter-of-fact way, "We do
not think that he will stay out after recess again." n the corridor of
an elementary school the writer saw during the past year two boys
sitting on a table before school hours in the morning. The one was
teaching the multiplication tables to the other. They were both
sixth-grade pupils,--the one a boy who had for some reason or other
never quite thoroughly learned his tables. The teacher had suggested
that somebody might help him, and a boy had volunteered to come early to
school in order that he might teach the boy who was backward. A great
many teachers have discovered that the strongest motive which they can
find for good work in the field of English is to be found in providing
an audience, both for the reading or story-telling, and for the English
composition. The idea which prevails is that if one is to read, he ought
to read well enough to entertain others. f one has enjoyed a story, he
may, if he prepares himself sufficiently well, tell it to the class or
to some other group.

Much more emphasis on the undertakings in the attempt to have children
accept responsibility, and to engage in a type of activity which has a
definite moral social value, is to be found in the schools in which
children are responsible for the morning exercises, or for publishing a
school paper, or for preparing a school festival. One of the most
notable achievements in this type of activity which the writer has ever
known occurred in a school in which a group of seventh-grade children
were thought to be particularly incompetent. The teachers had almost
despaired of having them show normal development, either intellectually
or socially. After a conference of all of the teachers who knew the
members of this group, it was decided to allow them to prepare a
patriot's day festival. The idea among those teachers who had failed
with this group was that if the children had a large responsibility,
they would show a correspondingly significant development. The children
responded to the motive which was provided, became earnest students of
history in order that they might find a dramatic situation, and worked
at their composition when they came to write their play, some of them
exercising a critical as well as a creative faculty which no one had
known that they possessed. But possibly the best thing about the whole
situation was that every member of the class found something to do in
their cooeperative enterprise. Some members of the class were engaged in
building and in decorating the stage scenery; others were responsible
for costumes; those who were strong in music devoted themselves to this
field. The search for a proper dramatic situation in history and the
writing of the play have already been suggested. The staging of the play
and its presentation to a large group of parents and other interested
patrons of the school required still further specialization and ability.
Out of it all came a realization of the possibility of accomplishing
great things when all worked together for the success of a common
enterprise. When the festival day came, the most common statement heard
in the room on the part of the parents and others interested in the work
of the children was expressed by one who said: "This is the most
wonderful group of seventh-grade children that have ever seen. They
are as capable as most high school boys and girls." t is to be recalled
that this was the group in whom the teachers originally had little
faith, and who had sometimes been called in their school a group of

Some schools have found, especially in the upper grades, an opportunity
for a type of social activity which is entirely comparable with the
demand made upon the older members of our communities. This work for
social improvement or betterment is carried on frequently in connection
with a course in civics. n some schools there is organized what is
known as the junior police. This organization has been in some cases
coordinated with the police department. The boys who belong pledge
themselves to maintain, in so far as they are able, proper conditions on
the streets with respect to play, to abstain from the illegal use of
tobacco or other narcotics, and to be responsible for the correct
handling of garbage, especially to see that paper, ashes, and other
refuse are placed in separate receptacles, and that these receptacles
are removed from the street promptly after they are emptied by the
department concerned. n one city with which the writer is acquainted,
the children in the upper grades, according to the common testimony of
the citizens of their community, have been responsible for the cleaning
up of the street cars. n other cities they have become interested, and
have interested their parents, in the question of milk and water supply.
n some cases they have studied many different departments of the city
government, and have, in so far as it was possible, lent their
cooeperation. n one case a group of children became very much excited
concerning a dead horse that was allowed to remain on a street near the
school, and they learned before they were through just whose
responsibility it was, and how to secure the action that should have
been taken earlier.

Still another type of activity which may have significance for the moral
social development of children is found in the study of the life
activities in the communities in which they live. There is no reason why
children, especially in the upper grades or in the high school, should
not think about working conditions, especially as they involve
sweat-shops or work under unsanitary conditions. They may very properly
become interested in the problems of relief, and of the measures taken
to eliminate crime. ndeed, from the standpoint of the development of
socially efficient children, it would seem to be more important that
some elementary treatment of industrial and social conditions might be
found to be more important in the upper grades and in the high school
than any single subject which we now teach.

Another attempt to develop a reasonable attitude concerning moral
situations is found in the schools which have organized pupils for the
participation in school government. There is no particular value to be
attached to any such form of organization. t may be true that there is
considerable advantage in dramatizing the form of government in which
the children live, and for that purpose policemen, councilmen or
aldermen, mayors, and other officials, together with their election, may
help in the understanding of the social obligations which they will have
to meet later on. But the main thing is to have these children come to
accept responsibility for each other, and to seek to make the school a
place where each respects the rights of others and where every one is
working together for the common good. n this connection it is important
to suggest that schemes of self-government have succeeded only where
there has been a leader in the position of principal or other
supervisory officer concerned. Children's judgments are apt to be too
severe when they are allowed to discipline members of their group. There
will always be need, whatever attempt we may make to have them accept
responsibility, for the guidance and direction of the more mature mind.

We seek in all of these activities, as has already been suggested, to
have children come to take, in so far as they are able, the rational
attitude toward the problems of conduct which they have to face. t is
important for teachers to realize the fallacy of making a set of rules
by which all children are to be controlled. t is only with respect to
those types of activity in which the response, in order to further the
good of the group, must be invariable that we should expect to have
pupils become automatic. t is important in the case of a fire drill, or
in the passing of materials, and the like, that the response, although
it does involve social obligation, should be reduced to the level of
mechanized routine. Most school situations involve, or may involve,
judgment, and it is only as pupils grow in power of self-control and in
their willingness to think through a situation before acting, that we
may expect significant moral development. n the case of offenses which
seem to demand punishment, that teacher is wise who is able to place
responsibility with the pupil who has offended. The question ought to be
common, "What can do to help you?" The question which the teacher
should ask herself is not, "What can do to punish the pupil?" but
rather, "How can have him realize the significance of his action and
place upon him the responsibility of reinstating himself with the social
group?" The high school principal who solved the problem of a teacher
who said that she would not teach unless a particular pupil were removed
from her class, and of the pupil who said that she would not stay in
school if she had to go to that teacher, by telling them both to take
time to think it through and decide how they would reconcile their
differences, is a case in point. What we need is not the punishment
which follows rapidly upon our feeling of resentment, but rather the
wisdom of waiting and accepting the mistake or offense of the pupil as
an opportunity for careful consideration upon his part and as a possible
means of growth for him.

There has been considerable discussion during recent years concerning
the obligation of the school to teach children concerning matters of
sex. Traditionally, our policy has been one of almost entire neglect.
The consequence has been, on the whole, the acquisition upon the part of
boys and girls of a large body of misinformation, which has for the most
part been vicious. t is not probable that we can ever expect most
teachers to have the training necessary to give adequate instruction in
this field. For children in the upper grades, during the preadolescent
period especially, some such instruction given by the men and women
trained in biology, or possibly by men and women doctors who have made a
specialty of this field, promises a large contribution to the
development of the right attitudes with respect to the sex life and the
elimination of much of the immorality which has been due to ignorance or
to the vicious misinformation which has commonly been spread among
children. The policy of secrecy and ignorance cannot well be maintained
if we accept the idea of responsibility and the exercise of judgment as
the basis of moral social activity. n no other field are the results of
a lack of training or a lack of morality more certain to be disastrous
both for the individual and for the social group.


1. How satisfactory is the morality of the man who claims that he does
no wrong?

2. How is it possible for a child to be unmoral and not immoral?

3. Are children who observe school rules and regulations necessarily
growing in morality?

4. Why is it important, from the standpoint of growth in morality, to
have children form socially desirable habits, even though we may not
speak of this kind of activity as moral conduct?

5. What constitutes growth in morality for the adult?

6. n what sense is it possible for the same act to be immoral, unmoral,
and moral for individuals living under differing circumstances and in
different social groups? Give an example.

7. Why have moral reformers sometimes been considered immoral by their

8. What is the moral significance of earning a living? Of being prompt?
Of being courteous?

9. What are the instincts upon which we may hope to build in moral
training? What instinctive basis is there for immoral conduct?

10. To what extent is intellectual activity involved in moral conduct?
What is the significance of one's emotional response?

11. What stages of development are distinguishable in the moral
development of children? s it possible to classify children as
belonging to one stage or the other by their ages?

12. Why is it true that one's character depends upon the deliberate
choices which he makes among several possible modes or types of action?

13. Why is it important to have positive satisfaction follow moral

14. How may the conduct of parents and teachers influence conduct of

15. What is the weakness of direct moral instruction, e.g. the telling
of stories of truthfulness, the teaching of moral precepts, and the

16. What opportunities can you provide in your class for moral social

17. Children will do what is right because of their desire to please,
their respect for authority, their fear of unpleasant consequences,
their careful, thoughtful analysis of the situation and choice of that
form of action which they consider right. Arrange these motives in order
of their desirability. Would you be satisfied to utilize the motive
which brings results most quickly and most surely?

18. n what sense is it true that lapses from moral conduct are the
teacher's best opportunity for moral teaching?

19. How may children contribute to the social welfare of the school
community? Of the larger social group outside of the school?

20. How may pupil participation in school government be made significant
in the development of social moral conduct?

* * * * *



Add to Informational Site Network

Viewed: 2985