Virtues as a Teaching Subject

self-love Natural Inclination Versus Learned Inclination

Generation after generation, teachers are complaining more and more about the students being impolite, superficial, not interested in learning, lazy and other. For this reason, material given to students should not only imply facts and information. In his book “Emile”, Jean-Jacques Rousseau emphasizes the development of “L’amour de soie”, which is the well-being and concern with own-self as a valuable existence. In contrast, children are focusing on their “amour propre”, which is the self-love that depends on social request (Rousseau, 1762). We ask children to think logically and be rational, while children actually teach us how to be natural and true to our feelings. How can a teacher expect from someone to love and be interested in learning, while at the same time ask him to give up on his “amour de soie” and be objective? Children should first learn to love themselves before learning to adhere to the laws of their society.

In the absence of discipline, how can students learn?

“Politeness comes before the other virtues in the sense that it serves as a foundation for the moral development of the individual”(Comte-Sponville, 2002). Babies don’t and can’t have moral standards, so it is our duty to teach them bit by bit the difference between the good and the bad, the harmful and the hateful, what is allowed and what is forbidden etc…(Comte-Sponville, 2002). You see children at our schools lacking discipline. In order to acquire this discipline, children should be taught respect and good manners. Of course, it should start from one’s own family, but since children are spending more than half their day at school, schools as well should play a role in teaching politeness as a basis for every science and any subject. Many children are bullied at their schools, by their peers and even by their teachers sometimes. How does the school respond to parents’ or students’ complaints? It usually doesn’t. Maybe the rules of politeness should be educated to the principals, teachers, and parents before the students. For politeness is “a small thing that paves the way for great things” (Comte-Sponville, 2002), and it should be seen as a prerequisite for any other learning.

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