At the heart of moral education are the vital questions: Can we give
our young a moral/value education without indoctrination? Can we educate the young
to make careful decisions without imposition?
It is beyond question that a need for moral education exists. But are
educators permitted to contribute directly to the formation of specific moral
values in children?
These are difficult questions. Some people deny that educators have
this right. They believe that each individual must be free to make up his/her
own mind on moral matters and that this should be left to nature rather than educating.
However, these views raise questions as
to whether we should view moral education as essential. On the other hand, we
cannot consider life without morality and therefore it is not difficult to assume
that we should take seriously the suggestion that children should be set off
into the demands of a moral order. Not to
mention that getting the child used to these demands is not an easy task as there
are many differences including a lack of agreement on moral matters just to start
Before I continue, I would like to add this small part on the definition
of indoctrination which is held to be a particular method of bringing about
belief. The methods which the indoctrinator uses are regarded to some as unwelcomed.
However, defining indoctrination only in terms of the method criterion is not enough.
Atkinson proposes that indoctrination occurs when we use
non-rational methods which are unjustified (White, 2011). Hare agrees, his
view is that they are not bad in themselves but only if they are used to
produce the closed mind; attitudes not open to argument (Hare, 2004).
Meanwhile, moral indoctrination can be grasped more clearly by
understanding the nature of morals which are concerned with values, in contrast
to facts. The child is brought to believe that moral beliefs are conclusive and
he/she holds his/her beliefs in such a way that he/she cannot recognize their
true and logical status. He sees them only as unquestionable truths. As A.C. Kazepides states, “since young
children are not capable of deliberately choosing to do the right action or capable of being persuaded rationally some non-rational methods … must be
used in order to ensure inculcation of
the desirable habits of conduct (Kazepides, 1973).”
As a conclusion, I’m with the
idea of moral education in a way which is far from paralyzing one’s intellectual
imagination, such as a conception that encourages moral independence and in the
process, educates imaginative minds. Equipped
with moral autonomy, the child is able to develop a curious, critical and
open-minded spirit towards the moral values held. Through this process, the child
is able to imagine substitutes and willing to consider their point and value.