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Strategies

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  Strategies: Ethical development does not mean the imposition of do's and don'ts. Rather it calls for devising means and wa...

 

Strategies:

Ethical development does not mean the imposition of do's and don'ts. Rather it calls for devising means and ways of helping children learn to make choices and decide what is right, what is kind, and what is best for the common good, keeping in view the broader implications for personal and social values. 

Children can understand almost everything they hear and see, but are often not able to reconcile contradictions between what is said and what is done. Even a minor disagreement at home can affect children very deeply. A state of permanent disaffection amongst the elders in the house or a disintegrating relationship between parents creates the kind of incalculable fear and depression that is often manifested as aggression a few years later in early youth. There is a need to bring parents and teachers together for more than only academic purposes. The responsibility of development of personal ethics does not rest solely with either parents or with the school. 

Ethical development follows different patterns characterising different age groups. During the primary years, children are still exploring their immediate environment and developing a consciousness of their own self. Their behaviour revolves around avoiding punishment and seeking rewards. They form notions of good and bad, right and wrong depending upon what is approved or disapproved by their elders. At this stage, what they see in the behaviour and action of adults prompts them to construct their own understanding of ethical behaviour. 

As children grow older, their reasoning capabilities develop. However, they are still not mature enough to question assumptions and norms. Inspired by the need to impress others and validate their self-image as strong and capable individuals, they tend to violate rules. At this stage, facilitating reflection on the basis of rules and norms, restrictions, constraints, duties and obligations, etc., through discussion and dialogue, produces insights into the linkage between the collective good, the value of restraint, sacrifice, compassion, etc., which constitute the moral ways of being. 

Still later, as abstract thinking is fully developed, individuals can make well -reasoned judgements about what constitutes ethical behaviour. This may lead to the acceptance and internalisation of ethical principles, which then can be sustained in the long run. Even in the absence of an external authority, ethically mature individuals behave in just and appropriate ways, and understand the basis of rules and, norms, and appreciate how these contribute to overall peace and order in society. 

Our earliest and best teachers found stories and anecdotes the best way to get across an important spiritual teaching or social message. Along with this is the universal fact that every child, no matter how dull or uninspired his home life, has something to say, some insight to contribute to a class discussion. The teacher needs to draw out the children, gain their confidence, and avoid using threatening language or hostile body language. 

Teaching values has often meant exhortations about desirable behaviour. It has also meant the suppression and denial of "improper" and "unacceptable" feelings and desires. This often leads children to hide their own real feelings, desires, thoughts and convictions and simply pay lip service to moral values and ideals, without making any commitment. Hence the need to move away from mere talk, to a meaningful discussion of experiences and reflections, eschewing a simplistic approach to moral behaviour, and instead exploring and understanding complex motivations and ethical dilemmas associated with human behaviour and actions. 

Teachers should make deliberate attempts to infuse and reinforce the importance of peace-related values that are commensurate with the textual material taught in school and the developmental stages of children. For example, teachers can take advantage of the hidden components in a lesson by using appropriate strategies to awaken positive feelings, identifying experiences worth reflecting and, exploring, discovering, constructing understanding peace-related values. 

Strategies like questions, stories, anecdotes, games, experiments, discussions, dialogues, clarification of values, examples, analogies, metaphors, role playing, and simulation are helpful in promoting peace through teaching-learning. The teaching and practise of ethics go from the personal sphere to social and community-oriented thinking and then link up with global perspectives. A teacher who is oriented to the perspective of peace can introduce such opportunities for reflecting at these scales, and identifying the inter linkages between them. Teacher education programmes should consider introducing peace education as an optional subject of study.
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CLEAR CTET: Strategies
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