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Catholic School Teachers Impart Moral Values

Paul grew up on a farm where moral virtues such as hard work and honesty were cherished. Each of his classes has a moral lesson.

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Beginning with the schools run by the Jesuits, Catholic Schools have historically played a significant role in shaping the education and character of youth. When I was growing up, my parents sent me to Catholic Schools for the first eight years of my education. If affordable, I would have studied at a Jesuit high school. During the period between 2008 and 2014, I came full circle by teaching at a Catholic school in Thailand. It was a rich and rewarding experience because I helped my students develop moral values and practice moral virtues in their lives. In this article, I examine the role of Catholic Schools in teaching moral values to youth.

Aim of Catholic Schools

A few years ago, I attended a seminar on the role of Catholic Schools in Thailand that was hosted by Father Joseph Charan. It was an excellent seminar that enabled me to better understand my role as a teacher in a Catholic school.

The first topic of the discussion dealt with the aim of Catholic schools in Thailand. According to the Catholic Church, Catholic schools are responsible for the human formation of youth. They are established to create for the school community a special atmosphere brought to life by the spirit of freedom and charity. Furthermore, they are set up to assist youth to become aware of the news of faith in salvation and to help it lead an exemplary life of moral virtues. By doing this, the youth will become an agent of change for the betterment of society.

Duties of a Catholic School

Next, the seminar topic of discussion moved to the duties of a Catholic school. Father Charan pointed out that schools must first integrate the culture and faith of students, and second, integrate the students' faith and life.

We can define culture as the moral values we want to transmit to youth. Knowledge is one of these values because knowledge is the truth. Faith is our belief in salvation by following the gospel or moral values of Jesus Christ. A synthesis of culture and faith can be reached by integrating all the different aspects of human knowledge taught in school subjects in the light of gospel or moral values. In the classroom, a teacher helps students understand, admit, and assimilate moral values. This is a process of the growth of faith. Knowledge is a value, but there are other values in the process of education, too, such as honesty, work, love, and respect.

By integrating the students' faith and life experiences, youth will gradually grow in Christian or universal moral human virtues. In the integration of faith and life, students practice, accept, and witness values until they become virtues or human strengths in their lives.

Integrating Culture and Faith as a Teacher

In understanding the integration of culture and faith, it is useful to examine different theories of human intelligence. According to the theory of Howard Gardner, people have multiple intelligences. They include spatial, linguistic, logical-mathematical, kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, and spiritual or moral intelligence.

According to another theory, we might compare the bits of intelligence which people have to a house that has four rooms. These four rooms would include one for bodily or physical intelligence (BQ); a second for psychological or emotional intelligence (EQ); a third for mental intelligence (IQ); and a fourth for moral intelligence (MQ.) What is moral intelligence? I would compare it to spiritual intelligence because everyone has a conscience.

In the process of integrating culture and faith, teachers play an important role because they serve as role models for educating students in the Gospel or moral values for salvation. To do this, teachers must be the manager of the learning process. They can only do this by being both artists and exemplary role model stars.

As an artist, a teacher has the know-how to scaffold or coach a student in acquiring moral values to enhance EQ, MQ, BQ, and IQ. Although changes in IQ and BQ will probably be negligible, a good teacher can significantly improve a student's EQ and MQ.

The teacher, as an exemplary role model, integrates his lesson plans with moral values so that students can grow in virtue.

The author as a Catholic school teacher in Thailand on a field trip with sixth grade students.  Photo taken in 2011.

The author as a Catholic school teacher in Thailand on a field trip with sixth grade students. Photo taken in 2011.

A List of Moral Values to Teach Students

According to Father Charan, the list of moral values or gospel values taught in the classroom should include:

1. Faith: Belief in Salvation

2. Hope: Expecting Salvation

3. Charity: Giving to the Poor and Unfortunate

4. Conscience/Moral Courage: Knowing What Is Right and Wrong

5. Freedom: Not Being Oppressed

6. Joy: Happiness

7. Respect: Honor Yourself and Others

8. Humility: Don't Be Proud

9. Simplicity: Self-sufficiency

10. Love: Unselfishness

11. Compassion: Caring for Needs of People

12. Gratitude: Thankfulness to People Who Do Good

13. Work: Earning an Honest Living

14. Service: Doing Work for a Good Cause

15. Honesty: Truth

16. Justice: Accountability; Judgement of What Is Right or Wrong

17. Peace/Reconciliation: Becoming Friends After Fighting

18. Forgiveness: Accept Someone for the Bad They Have Done to You

19. Unity/Community: No Man Is an Island

20. Wonder: Seeing the Glory of the Creator

How Can We Incorporate Moral Values Into Lesson Plans?

The last topic of the seminar stressed the importance of integrating moral values into the lesson plans of all subjects taught in the classroom. For example, in an English lesson, students could read one of Aesop's fables which illustrates a moral value. A science lesson on the subject of light might make associations among the values of love, honesty, and kindness and the transparent nature of light when it is shown.

Moral values should be taught in all schools, not only Catholic because our students can and must be agents of change for the betterment of society. We must start seeing our children as lamps to be lit rather than vessels to be filled.

Role of Catholic School Teachers

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Paul Richard Kuehn

Comments

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on January 24, 2020:

Senators should act upon their moral code when making a judgment on impeachment.

R.J. Witt on January 22, 2020:

How do you feel about the moral code of some senators,who are asked to judge on the impeachment of the president? What good is a moral code if not acted upon?

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on February 02, 2019:

Gerard, please excuse my long delay in responding to this comment. Yes, school is definitely a seedbed of vocation. Teachers are tasked with the responsibility of inculcating vocation to their students. The teachers best do this by being a role model and setting good examples for their students. These could be examples in how to be a good parent, child, and citizen. All of these examples must incorporate the moral values of love, charity, honesty, hard work, compassion, teamwork, and others which I have written about on Hubpages.

Gerard Ethan Tenorio on January 24, 2019:

Mr Paul Richard Kuehn

I am a seminarian of the Clerics Regular of Somasca and currently we are doing a current study about school as seedbed of vocation and i would like to ask for some opinion on how school teacher should inculcate vocation to their students

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on September 15, 2016:

I attended Catholic school from the first through the eighth grade and found them very ethical. I was even an altar boy for three years, 3rd through the fifth grade, and was never molested or abused by a priest. Experiences of your father in Haiti and paedophiles among priests as reported is not characteristic of most clergy in the Catholic Church. Thanks for your comments.

Yoleen Lucas from Big Island of Hawaii on September 13, 2016:

I feel greatly relieved to have found this article. My father attended a Catholic school in Haiti. He despised it, because the students were regularly beaten. We were talking a couple days ago, and he revealed for the first time that priests in Haiti would regularly get a woman pregnant, and when excommunicated, would form their own voodoo church.

We have all heard about the scandal of molested children. This makes me wonder if he might have been exposed to some of that...

Chilling thought! Most Catholic organisations are ethical, aren't they???

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 25, 2013:

KawikaChann,

Thank you very much for your favorable comments on this hub. I applaud you for sending your daughter to a Catholic school. I'm sure that the moral values which she learned in the school will stay with her all her life.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 25, 2013:

Rajan,

I attended Catholic schools for eight years up until high school. The moral values learned there reinforced the moral values which my parents first taught me in the home. It's great that you found this hub interesting. I really appreciate your votes and sharing this hub.

Kawika Chann from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place on June 23, 2013:

Nicely done Paul - I sent my daughter to a Catholic private school in Hawaii to give her a wholesome education with Jesus as a foundation. Although she regretted it then, I think she has come away with a better feel for doing the right things in God's eyes.

Upvoted/interesting/follow. Peace. Kawi.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 23, 2013:

Interesting read, Paul. Teaching of moral values to students or children is of utmost importance and Catholic schools do have an edge over other schools in this respect. Though other schools do teach moral values, the faith and moral value combination is only seen in Catholic schools here.

Voted up, interesting and shared.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on November 02, 2012:

deltachord,

Thanks again for stopping by.

Deltachord from United States on November 01, 2012:

You're welcome.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on November 01, 2012:

Deltachord,

Thanks for reading my hub and your encouraging comment. I appreciate it.

Deltachord from United States on October 31, 2012:

Great Hub.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 05, 2012:

Larry,

Thanks for reading and your comments.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 05, 2012:

Kbdare,

Thanks for stopping by and your favorable comments.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 05, 2012:

Thanks for stopping by and the comment Phil. The Catholic schools in Thailand are teaching the values I listed, and I certainly hope the Catholic schools in America are following suit.

Larry Wall on June 04, 2012:

Brett. Tesol:

I do not understand your comment. People send their children, at least in this country to Catholic Schools by choice, so they will learn the values listed in the Hub.

Kbdare from Western US. on June 04, 2012:

Great Hub! It is comforting to know, no matter what country you find yourself in that children are learning how to be moral individuals. Now a days with our “don’t bring religion to school” attitude, I fear many of our American children are missing out on valuable lessons of Charity, Respect, Compassion and Gratitude for others. Without these traits, humans are very cold. Thanks for sharing how Catholic school is being implemented in Thailand.

Phil Plasma from Montreal, Quebec on June 04, 2012:

I attended a Jesuit run high school and intend on sending my son there. I recall having spent a good amount of time on all of the moral values you listed above. I hope the school continues in that same light today.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 04, 2012:

Brett,

Thank you very much for stopping by and the good comments. I really appreciate you sharing and tweeting.

Brett C from Asia on June 04, 2012:

Although I do not think faith should be a part of a school program (it should be individual and available as a choice to all though), I do strongly believe that morals and children understanding the difference of good/bad & right/wrong is an important part of development.

Interesting read, sharing up and tweeting.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 21, 2012:

Larry, Thank you very much for your insightful comments.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 21, 2012:

tillsontitan,

Thanks for the comments. My comments on the Catholic Schools apply to how they are run in Thailand. The Church has had problems recently, and I really hope like you that it returns to its traditional good ways.

Larry Wall on May 21, 2012:

Catholic schools are facing problems. When the schools were established, they were staffed by religious orders, sisters, priests, etc. As the number of religious have declined, the schools has had to hire more lay people, who require real salaries and demand benefits. Many schools are in a deteriorating condition, or are so expensive, that many Catholics cannot afford them. I went to public schools. In my time we could pray in school. In the third grade we began with the Lord's Prayer. We said grace before lunch. All of that is changed. In Louisiana we have approved a system of vouchers, where students in poorly performing public schools can receive funds from the state to attend private schools. I think it is a bad idea. At some point, a group of parents using those vouchers, who are not Catholic are going to demand that their children not be forced to take religion classes, attend school Masses,etc. When that happens, the Catholic schools are going to have some serious problems. When you start taking money from the government, you are opening yourself up for more regulations and restrictions.

Mary Craig from New York on May 21, 2012:

I too attended Catholic Schools, kindergarten through business school. My fear in America is that things have changed. The morals and forgiveness we were taught is no longer being practiced never mind taught. I pray for a return of the Catholic Church to it's moral obligations and forgiveness. This hub was a great reminder of what a Catholic School should be. Voted up.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 20, 2012:

Larry,

Thank you for the very insightful comments. I appreciate them.

Larry Wall on May 20, 2012:

My wife taught in Catholic Schools for 29 years and attended Catholic Schools from kindergarten through high school. I know during the 32 years we have been married she has thought the beliefs you have mention through incorporating them into the appropriate subjects, the books she read to them and the respect she required that each student show other students. She once was at an all white Catholic school. She taught a unit on Black history each year. Later she transferred to a virtually all Black catholic school. She had a new principal the last year who was Black and had taught at the all white school after my wife left. She never taught a unit Black history. The teachings of a school, religious or secular depends on the beliefs and dedication of the teacher. Many of the values listed previously can be taught in Public schools without violating any laws. It just takes a little effort. Faith and hope as defined by the prior writer might be a little harder but they can be taught by the example of how the teacher responds to the children.