It is uncontroversial to say that schooling is unavoidably a moral enterprise. However, what does a moral education worthy of the name actually look like? We speak to Judith Vojta, the principal at the School of Modern Skills, to get her views and opinions on the importance of moral education now that the UAE has declared it a mandatory subject. We find out how it has affected the student body, what the syllabus and what a moral education class looks like.
Moral education is an essential component of preparing our students to become global citizens. The moral education programme has four main ‘pillars’ – Character and Morality, Individual/Community, Civic Studies, and Cultural Studies – and focuses on one pillar at a time. We reinforce the learning outcomes throughout the lesson, as well as integrating the lesson objectives into all grade level lessons. Each pillar virtues are displayed on individual bulletin boards throughout the school to remind students of the importance of these concepts.
School of Modern Skills decided that the language of instruction for moral education would be English for the 2019-20 school year. This change will allow the English teacher to integrate and reinforce lesson objectives throughout the English curriculum.
Moral education has already had a positive effect on the students. One example was the reception that the students prepared for the Special Olympic athletes from Oman. They discussed the possible feelings of the students of determination who would be visiting the school, and how important it was to be welcoming and accepting. We used our moral education time as a springboard for those discussions. The event turned into an absolutely magnificent day and a highlight of the year for most of our students.
Judith Vojta is the principal at the School of Modern Skills in Dubai and has over 35 years of education experience as a teacher, university lecturer, school principal, and education consultant.