“Moral Illiteracy and the Case for Character Education”

From Memoria Press | The Classical Teacher Archives, POSTED ON  BY WILLIAM KIRK KILPATRICK

The new approach is one from which the concepts of character and virtue are entirely missing. From its point of view, the life of a man is envisioned not as a personal story in which accumulated habits and actions may eventually harden into virtue or vice, but as a disconnected series of ethical and other dilemmas—all amenable to rational solution. If we return to the heroic, classical, and Christian stories, we can see how stark this contrast is and how radically novel the new approach is. And although the current techniques of moral education are largely the offspring of psychologists, we may note that the ancients had a more profound grasp of the psychology underlying moral education…

What, then, is the proper form of education in regard to morality? It is, necessarily, an initiation, “men transmitting manhood to men,” as C. S. Lewis puts it. And this is best accomplished not by direct moral exhortation but indirectly through example and practice. One cannot have classes in moral education. It is, rather, more like an apprentice learning from a master.

“Moral Illiteracy and the Case for Character Education”

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