Paths and Choices:  Goals for Teaching and Learning 4.1.4

We are all sometimes in positions of teaching or leading others.  In this role we have immediate and obvious goals, but our goals can expand to include moral Growth.  Tones of voice, gestures, thoughts, words, and deeds can lead to Growth or Decay.  However, learning healthy moral Growth often requires intentional focus.   What should the leader/teacher think about in these situations?

Skills for Growth can be added to any educational experience: teaching someone mathematics, cooking, car repair, electrical wiring, writing, mountain climbing, or history.  Even though moral Growth or moral Decay are usually learned by example and not taught explicitly, Growth can be consciously encouraged inside any form of teaching and learning.  Healthy thoughts and actions can be shown by example in the practical realities of coaching sports or demonstrating wine making or instructing new employees or conducting a band.

Moral Growth attitudes and behaviors to consciously encourage and reward: 

  • The art of living – respect, justice, and dignity for all coupled with personal independence and responsibility.
  • Stimulating and interesting life examples within any learning opportunity.
  • Opportunities to “get out of the self” by helping other individuals or communities or living things.
  • An atmosphere of warmth and affection – including kindness, thoughtfulness of others to avoid objectifying or dehumanizing them, acceptance of the value of others in their own right and without economic manipulation, and mutual helpfulness and patience.
  • Examples of inner harmony and strength, self-discipline, and balanced perspective.
  • Use of critical thinking including reasoning and logic, choices and consequences, facts, and cause/effect.
  • Providing security by eliminating threats and fright, creating an atmosphere of calmness and respect, and establishing equal and uniform safety and consideration for all.
  • Understanding personal responsibility and choices, use of freedom, and the role of both success and failure in achieving a goal.
  • Recognizing alternative ways of thinking and acting, dealing with frustration, and using personal will and effort.
  • Understanding how circumstances and conscious or unconscious assumptions affect all of us.

Phyllis Ballata

Without Words We Cannot Think

“The natural tendency to think of only one thing at a time is the chief reason why we have failed to understand the environment and have blundered into destroying it.”  Barry Commoner (1917-1977), The Closing Circle: Nature, Man, and Technology (1971)


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