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道徳の教科化 規範意識の涵養につながるか

The Yomiuri Shimbun January 12, 2014
Moral education classes could enhance social norms of kids
道徳の教科化 規範意識の涵養につながるか(1月12日付・読売社説)

It is important to cultivate from childhood the awareness to abide by the rules of society and show consideration to others. Therefore, it is crucial to improve moral education.

A report, compiled by an experts’ panel on moral education set up by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, calls for moral education, which is not a regular subject at primary and middle school levels, to be treated as a “special subject” to improve the teaching of such classes.

The experts’ panel examined the issue after the Education Rebuilding Implementation Council, which works directly under the prime minister, proposed in February that moral education should be made a regular subject as part of measures to prevent bullying at schools.

It is reasonable that the government aims to call on schools to realize how important moral education is by giving it the status of a regular subject, thus improving teaching methods.

Less value has been attached to moral education since the end of World War II in reaction to the moral education in prewar years that was propagated by nationalistic elements.

Currently, one moral education class is offered per week. However, it is up to teachers to decide how to conduct such classes because there is no official textbook. There are differences among schools and teachers in regard to moral education classes.

Some people have pointed out that moral education has lost substance, as some schools use slots designed for moral education to hold supplementary classes in other subjects.

However, many problems must be worked out before moral education can be made a regular subject.

For instance, what kind of teaching materials should be used for moral education classes? The panel’s report called for the introduction of textbooks approved by the official screening system to provide teaching materials for such classes.

Forcing values on children

Strong criticism has been voiced about making moral education a regular subject, with some people saying it could lead to the government forcing certain values on children. The panel apparently aimed to dispel these concerns by proposing that private-sector companies should compile textbooks for moral education.

Innovative efforts by publishers on creating textbooks for moral education should be respected. However, to what extent should their products be approved if they are based on biased values or peculiar ideas?

When working out standards for screening textbooks for moral education, education authorities should have in-depth discussions by coming up with various scenarios.

Moral education classes are supposed to be handled by homeroom teachers. This means that teacher-training programs at the university level and those for teachers offered by boards of education also should be reviewed. Teachers should be given access to appropriate methods for these classes.

Providing academic assessments for children’s achievements in moral education classes is difficult, as they focus on students’ psychological development.

It is understandable that the report proposed that children’s performances in moral education classes should be evaluated in written form, rather than numerical evaluations like Japanese, mathematics and other subjects.

Education authorities are encouraged to come up with an evaluation method under which teachers can make detailed records on each student’s efforts and development during moral education classes, rather than deciding who performs better than others.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 12, 2014)
(2014年1月12日01時15分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2014-01-14 07:55 | 英字新聞

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