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Teaching Children to Think Ethically

Author(s): Susan T. Gardner

Journal: Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis
ISSN 0890-5118

Volume: 32;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 75;
Date: 2012;
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There is much that we teach our children—that, for example, Napoleon was defeated at the battle of Waterloo, pasta is the national dish of Italy whose geography closely resembles a boot, 3 x 3 = 9, and salt ismade of Sodium and Chloride. Though some of our students do not fare as well as we would like in our educational systems, nonetheless there is much of which we can be proud. The literacy rate in North America is 99%(as it is in most of Western Europe), which contrasts markedly with, for instance, Ethiopia where the literacy rate is approximately 35%, while Chad’s is near the bottom at approximately 25%.There is a lot, then, that we do well in teaching our children. Given that this is the case, why do we fall so short in the ethical domain? Why is it that we don’t just teach our children to be kind to one another so that it actually happens? Why don’t we instruct our children to refrain from verbal and physical abuse so that we actually get rid of, or at least minimize, violence? Why don’t we just send lying and cheating to the dustbin of history by seriously motivating our children to refrain from doing so?
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