Letter : Moral education or indoctrination?

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Sir: The present concern with moral regeneration raises several issues for us who teach in that area. As educators we are already working to produce critical thinking. This is perceived in some quarters as a challenge to morality: in fact it is only a challenge to an authoritarian view of morality. An authoritarian or rule-based morality is not the only legitimate moral approach. Moreover, it is not the case that teachers have somehow conspired to maintain a moral relativism or moral vacuum from which only others can rescue us,

There are many schools which maintain a proper and sensible balance in educating children in both critical thinking and moral values. These are not topics which may be taught, but skills which must be developed. We cannot agree that there is a body of knowledge called "morality" which can be taught. In the case of this school, a Philosophy for Children programme is being successfully implemented in which moral awareness and critical thinking are developed through being practised and enjoyed. To see a group of 11-year-old boys and girls engaged in moral and ethical debate is an experience which those who see schools as moral wastelands would do well to enjoy.

BERNARD TRAFFORD

Headmaster

DAVID BARLOW

PETER WHALE

Theology and Philosophy Department

Wolverhampton Grammar School

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