Thursday, October 6, 2016

Successful Children: Morals and Ethics

Last time, we learned more about PISA, an  international test where high schools students scores are compared worldwide. We also found out about how significant this test really is in terms of job growth and the economy.  But first, let me tell you about an experience I had as a kid, and what I learned from what I call, The Barnyard Philosophy.

My best childhood friend, of whom I will name Melody, had brown hair, brown eyes and red, rosy cheeks.  Melody and I had great fun and we used our imaginations at play. I remember creating a massive maze in her front yard, where we had to remember what one another did... like jumping over a stump, running around a tree three times, and hopscotching through a pattern on the driveway. We sometimes held picnics in between 2 large pine trees that had grown together, as Melody once found there was space in between them. 

Melody was a year younger than me. One day when I was at school, I walked across the hallway to say hello to her. I was stunned by what I saw. The other kids were chanting "fat-so!" at Melody in scathing tones over and over again. What is worse, the teacher, who I will call Mr. X, was sitting there at his desk observing the whole scenario as though nothing was wrong with the other children's behavior.  I left her there really saddened. Later, when I asked her about it, she laughed it off and said,   " I love Mr. X. That class is s-o-o-oo funny!" .

 A few years ago, I asked her about that old class again. She said although she laughed at herself on the outside, she really hurt inside and she didn't know what to do. So, she  laughed and went along with it, as if she didn't care She dreaded every school day for that entire year. Unfortunately, Melody currently suffers with health issues, nervous type disorders and even bulimia in her adolescent life. Anyway, Mr. X  must of  had what I call, The Barnyard Philosophy.

What is The Barnyard Philosophy? 

I will fill you in. One day, I asked another teacher whom I will call Ms. Y.,  how she handled kids that are being mean or cruel. Ms. Y. replied, " There is a natural pecking order, you know." 

What is a pecking order? 

Visualize a barnyard full of chickens. At feeding time, each chick pecks and claws at the others in order to get more food, or feed. Some chicks are dominant and get the most food. This might be done by pecking each other on the head and body with beaks and claws. Many thanks to my husband for this information. He grew up around farms.

Of course, I don't condone this Barnyard Philosophy. I am sure many other teachers don't either, and have vastly different views of dealing with any classroom verbal abuse assailants. And guess what? 

Congratulations, kind-hearted professionals! So does Singapore, a top PISA performer. Singapore combines core-based learning with a holistic approach AND ethics, or how we treat ourselves and others. The Singaporean Ministry of Education includes these values for their students, among others:
●  self -assured individuals who know right from wrong
 know themselves
●  perceptive in their judgments
 well spoken
  works cooperatively with others 
●  sympathetic citizens who have a substantial understanding of civic obligations
(Atencio, M., Tan, Y. S., Ho, S., Ching, C, T., 2014).

The US has academic objectives in our Common Core State Standard (CCSS). Maybe we need to think about ethics and personality attributes we appreciate, and want to instill in our children, too.

Lynn @ TiePlay Educational Resources

Imagery supplied by Thinkstock

Atencio, M., Tan, Y. S., Ho, S., Ching, C, T. (2014). The place and approach of outdoor learning within a holistic curricular agenda: development of Singaporean outdoor education practice. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 15, 10. 1080/14729679.2014.949807.

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