Friday, September 23, 2011

Teaching character and values in schools

 I welcome the decision by the Minister of Education to teach values and character in the school syllabus. This is an important lesson to be taught to your young people. It gives them the confidence and guidance on their future decisions.

I advocate teaching of the values of honesty, fairness, positive attitude, courage and public service. These are the values that have guided the important decisions in my life. With these values, I am confident of spending my mind on many issues. They guide me on differentiating what is right from wrong, good from bad. These values form my personal character.

Different people may wish to give different emphasis to other values, such as respect, compassion, care for others and innovation. It is all right for them to choose these other values. I believe that these values are already embedded in  my five core values.

I chose my five core values because I found them to be rather lacking in our society and will make an important contribution to improving life in Singapore.

Tan Kin Lian


Anonymous said...

and another value that you have but didn't mention, opportunist.

Anonymous said...

The way I see it, all Ministers of Education came in with lofty ideals. The teaching of good values etc...etc...holistic education... respect of elders.... all are in the textbooks.

But, a couple of years down the road, and it will still be Value-added exam results, Achievement Awards, etc...etc.

Can you really teach the students to respect the elders when every day their rubbish and litter are cleaned up by senior citizens?

Ask any Head of Department about the supposed sharing of best practices by departments and schools in clusters, for an honest reply. Are the HoDs and schools really willing to share their best practices?

So what values are we trying to teach the students?

What about parents? Are they willing to settle for lower grades and higher values in their children? Such values, in the first place, should be the parents' responsibility. So why do we need the schools to teach them?

Of course, there are also many enlighten parents. I hope they will be the norm instead of the exception.

yujuan said...

Quite difficult to implement in schools. Both teacher and student are too busy cramming for grades in exams, the student chasing the paper qualification, the teacher chasing prestige for her career advancement.
Materialism starts in our school, who has time for character building and moral values. No room for them any more.
Heard teachers themselves fight like dogs and cats for positions in the school hierachy, using students' score results as benchmark.

Ryan Ong said...

When it comes to moral education, history, literature, geography...the term that's bandied about these days is "extracurricular." Which I think is a sign that we've lost the plot. Schools were never meant to be places where we pump students full of information, and then subject them to a range of questionable testing standards.

There's a production line, not a school.

In its original sense, a school is meant to teach someone to be a productive member of society. We've completely forgotten that. Issues like morality are now considered extraneous.

We have increasing numbers of teen pregnancies. We have cases of teen prostitution that would have been unheard of 20 years ago. We have students who pick Hitler as a role model in school projects, and teachers too clueless to stop them. We have students dropping out because it's easier to just go work in a casino, than to be an engineer or accountant. Teachers and parents reassure themselves; when they ask students what they want to be, those students say lawyers, doctors, bankers, etc. And they heave a collective sigh of relief. Here's a better question: ask them WHY they want to be those things.

The majority of them will tell you it's to make money, or because it's what their parents want.It has nothing to do with wanting to benefit others.

I don't blame teachers and I don't blame parents. I honestly blame both. Teachers need to care about students first, and worry about their ridiculous, school set KPI second. No point producing a highly qualified student if they lack empathy and are a bunch of materialistic, arrogant punks.

Parents need to stop laying into teachers who try to teach something other than a graded subject. Some of you think you're being practical; you're the same ones who whine later, when your children have no concept of filial piety and dump you in a home.

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