Thursday, April 15, 2010

GRE Issue Task 1

Issue Statement
“Schools should be responsible not only for teaching academic skills but also for teaching ethical and social values.”

Addressing the issue of involving ethical and social values in schools is apparently more complicated than it is stated by the speaker. Despite my concordance to this idea, I am aware that its application is rather intricate and inherent to various aspects, not only that of the students but also that of others associated to the educational system.

First of all, the school must decide which ethical and social values necessary to be taught. In a homogenous environment, such as an all-Christian school or an all-Chinese school, this problem might not entail too many concern and mystification. On the other hand, it would be more difficult for any level of educational institute with diverse backgrounds among its teachers and students. However, there are universal values decent enough for students of any upbringing to learn. Simple values such as respecting others and solving problems without conflict can be taught in neutral contexts.

An argument to support the critical need of teaching ethical and social values at schools is that students spend almost one-third of their time a day there. Therefore, schools play an important role as places where children and teenagers develop their attitude and behavior. If the pedagogues ignore this and only focus on their students’ academic achievements, these youngsters would have to learn such values from the rest available sources, namely family, friends, and media. The problem is however good-natured their parents are, they simply cannot always follow the children at schools and tell what is good and bad. Meanwhile, friends do not feel like they have responsibility to guide others to good deeds, and media is exploiting anything sold well regardless of its impacts.

Unfortunately, there is a drawback of imposing the teaching of such values at schools. Teachers will bear a larger responsibility, exhausting their time and energy. This fact might end up in teachers’ demanding a payment rise, and then trigger a rise of the school fee as well. Curriculum would have to be reconstructed, and it would take a while before managing to establish a proper one to pursue both academic record and values teaching. Nevertheless, these are trivial compared to what might and had happened to children studying at schools which neglect this issue. There are those bullied by his or her friends, being called as a “gay” or a “whore” continuously until they cannot stand it and then they commit suicide. It is very likely to happen when these children do not understand that they should not intimidate others and the consequences that might follow.

In the end of the day, schools must also teach ethical and social values at any cost. Any problem and complexity occur is expected, but letting schools to abandon it is a worse alternative.

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