Moran’s view on Teaching morally and teaching morality Term Paper

December 31, 2020 by Essay Writer


The issue of morality has been a subject of debate in teaching field. Christian scholars are more concerned about achievement of students in terms of moral grounds and not about academics only. It has been argued that a teacher can not teach morality in schools unless he teaches morally. The moral values of teachers have been a big concern of many scholars.

There are much discussion regarding the moral values in the context of teaching and their implications in the achievement of the student. The moral features of learning or teaching situations are also considered important parameters in measuring the performance of the students and the success of teaching and learning.

The big question has been whether the teachers’ moral values should be communicated to the students that that particular teacher is teaching. This term paper critically evaluates Gabriel Moran’s ideas in ‘Teaching morally, teaching Morality’. And the implications it has in religious education.

Moran’s view o n Teaching morally and teaching morality

Moral education in schools is taken as the channel of transmitting moral values from one generation to another. There are moral education programs curricula in schools that are meant to communicate moral values to the students in the name of making them morally upright persons.

There are other cases whereby these moral programs are criticized and are denied chances in education centers on the allegations tat morality is not a communal thing but a personal preference. Others believe that morality is a matter of religious conviction and a subject of culture that should take personal initiative to acquire.

This view of morality has greatly affected the integration of moral matters in education. The teachers, the state and the entire society are the main player in the act of including morality education in schools but have been blocked from doing so by the people’s view of morality as a personal preference, a religious matter or the cultural commitment.

The two concepts teaching morally and teaching morality differs from each other in some respects. To teach morally entails teaching in a manner that is acceptable and considered good or right on moral grounds. This calls for the teachers to act morally or in the right manner in the course of teaching. The teacher has to be good or righteous and should conduct himself in the right manner. Teaching morality on the other hand entails transmitting good and acceptable values to anther.

Gabriel Moran (1997, 201) argues that if teaching is what the teacher struggle to do in class, then the issues of morality have no connection with education. According to him, the real meaning of education should consist of moral teaching and educators should be morally upright. When education does not emphasize the issue of moral teaching in schools, then it either loses its meaning or totally disconnects from morality.

According to Moran (1997, p. 205), morality should be a quality of teaching but not an object of teaching. In other words, quality teaching should include morality or moral teaching. Taking morality as an object of teaching results in to educators teaching what they do not even practice.

They teach morality but they d not model it to their students. This means that the students might never develop the moral values that are taught in class because their teachers do not practice them. They also learn morality as an object but not as a quality they should acquire. It should be emphasized that teachers should act morally while teaching morality.

Moran (1997, 211) feels that, professional people are not actually the better people but they just have what they claim about their profession or the value of their work which may be morally right but done on wrong moral grounds. The professional that are used in teaching morality in schools may not be the right people in teaching morality because they may not teach it morally. They have what they profess about their work but they o not practice it.

This will mean that they are teaching morality as an object but not as a quality in education. Therefore unless morality is taught morally with teachers as 6he role models, the products of education will be morally corrupt but with a moral profession.

If teachers were to practice what they teach, then they will produce morally upright students. If teaching is transmitting values to the students, then morality as a virtue should be transmitted from the teachers to the students. The sense in this case is that the teacher cannot transmit what they do not have.

The school environment and all its constituents is a good teacher of morality. The arrangement of school, the interaction of people within and its physical space can act as the agent of morality that students can learn from. According to Moran (1997), “the school in its total environment of physical space, temporal arrangements, and human interaction is a main teacher of morality” (P, 210). In other words, if the school is set up morally, the moral values will be adopted by the students.

The physical space and the arrangement of the school should be mad of what is capable of inculcating moral values to the students. The kind of human interaction within the school is also capable of transmitting moral values to the students so long as it is done on moral grounds. The interaction of the students and the teachers can be a source of moral values better than when morality is taught as just an object in class.

The purpose of classroom instruction should be well defined and moral education should be pointed out clearly (Moran, 1997, 296). If the whole purpose of classroom instruction is not to instill moral values to the students, then all the other teaching s will have no oral ground and may not be of benefit to the students.

The question of morality is the greatest test for the success of the class room instruction. According to Moran, the aim of classroom instruction should be to inculcate good morals to the students. The school as an agent off morality should reach student how to live and the best and acceptable way to live. In so doing, the school will teach morality to the students because morality is taught in the act of telling someone how to live in the right way (Moran, 1997, 206)

The religious bodies do well in teaching morality than the school set up. According to Moran (1997, 198), religious bodies have diversified way of teaching morality and can be more effective ion teaching morality than the schools themselves. They use stories, example and rituals that are more practical than the theoretical format that is used in class.

The stories and the examples given are related to the real life situation and give the students a concise understanding of the moral values that they should have. More emphasis should be placed on the morals taught by the religious bodies because they are effective is shaping the individuals behavior on moral grounds.

He stated that, “the major religions are very practical and thoroughly realistic about morality” (Moran, 1997, 200). Religions could therefore be more reliable in teaching morality than what the schools can give out. Religions teach morality by giving examples about life in a morally upright community or a virtuous community which can serve better in showing the students how to live a better life.

Te term “morality” is actually not adequate to describe the academic aspect of teaching morality especially in the 20th century where morality has not been given the due emphasis.

Teaching morality carries more weight than the meaning of the word morality. It involves all the stakeholders in a school and especially the teachers to shift from just being the carriers of moral values and be doers of morality. This will make the whole school a good environment for teaching morality and produce morally upright students who will be doers of morality.

According to Moran (1997, 214), schools teach students ethics and not morality where the ethics only entails teaching the students to be conversant with the language of morality.

However, this may only enable them understand morality but may never make them good people in the society. Students need to be taught how to live a consistently moral life so that morality becomes their lifestyle. Dealing with the language of morality alone may not be effective in getting students at morality or teaching them to become better people.

Morality and religion are two closely related concepts and should not be confused. Religion teaches morality and is shaped by morality therefore; it is not possible to separate them. Class room is a place of critical thinking which is carried out in appraised by the speech. However, this does not mean that the aspect of religion and morality should be left out in the class room.

In fact, they should be the basis of every conversation in class so that the school can produce better people. Moran (1997, 218) is not concerned about morality as it may be defined by the law of land and soldiering which reflects both human and nonhuman perspectives, but morality defined by human consciousness and religious values.

Implications of Gabriel Moran’s views for religious education

Moran’s view seem to be quite enriching the religious education and at the same time giving it a new paradigm. According to his arguments, religious education should be handled in a more serious manner than it is today. Religious education should be teaching about morality.

He advocates that religions have a better way of teaching morality than the any other body. He also seems to advocate that moral teaching which is mostly regarded as the core reason for the religious education should not be taught by teachers who are just professionals but the morally upright people.

Religious education should be taught in the family, school, work place and even during leisure. This means that people will be well fed with the moral values at all places. This confirms his argument that moral life should be consistently lived. Students should be engaged in moral teachings at all levels of their life. He added that family, work, school and leisure are the agents of community values that are generally accepted and should therefore be emphasized in teaching religious education.

Moran also challenges morality educators to be the role model as they teach religious education and morality. He urges them to teach morality morally. This will enable them to teach by modeling and not by language alone. Religious education is taught well by the religious groups than the schools and therefore more emphasis should be put on the religious education because they have better ways of teaching morality.

Religion and morality should therefore be integrated in the education system and morally upright educators be accorded the responsibility of teaching them. Religious education and morality are inseparable because religious education is all about morality and is shaped by morality.

The central theme of religious education therefore is morality. According to Moran (1997, 214), religious education should shift its focus from teaching ethics as it is in most schools today and focus on teaching morality. People should be taught to be moral and religious so that they become better people.

Moran’s view about teaching morality and teaching morally is a wakeup call to the religious education and morality teachers to consider practicing what they teach. In so doing, the religious and morality education will be worth teaching in school. This will also ensure that morally and religious people are produced by the schools.

Following the views of Moran, religious education can be reshaped and become a subject of paramount importance as the key transmitter of moral values to the students. It can be more instrumental in shaping the students moral behaviors than it is today. It should be emphasized with the weight placed by Moran and schools will become moral institutions.


Morality teaching and teaching morally should be emphasized in schools, work place and religious groups. As teacher of morality should teach morally and should be morally upright. Religious education should also be emphasized as the core agent of morality.

Reference List

Moran, G. (1997). Teaching morally, teaching morality. In showing how: the act of Teaching, (pp. 195 – 218). Valley Forge, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International

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