Sheryl Lee Rogers
Senior Manager – Digital Professional Learning & Development
Sheryl is responsible for the design, development and deployment of digital resources
and environments that are at the heart of TELLAL’s methodologies.
If you began your teaching career outside of the UAE, you may well have noticed that there is an additional subject on your timetable that you haven’t seen before; Moral Education.
It was in July 2016, that the UAE Government launched Moral Education as a school curriculum subject, “to promote tolerance and instil universal principles and values shared by humanity; in line with the UAE’s broadened vision of building a sustainable society, grounded in the happiness, wellness and social well-being of its people.” While, as yet, the course isn’t graded or subject to examinations, this weekly lesson plan has become quite the talking point amongst educators as debates rage over whether it is strictly necessary or utterly essential in an increasingly modern world.
The overall aim of this holistically-inspired course is to link all children in the UAE, regardless of nationality, to the common thread of humanity and share with them universal values and morals. The students are encouraged to explore every day issues and engage with innovative ways of analysing and determining appropriate reactions, actions and consequences. While one of its key columns is UAE Civics, which details the development and journey of the UAE, the course itself is specifically designed to foster universal moralities that transcend culture and hold true across every community. The course is broken down into four pillars:
‘The character and morality curriculum is centred around developing each student as honest, tolerant, resilient and persevering individuals’
‘A true citizen is one that takes care of themselves in addition to caring about the good of society and participating actively to make things better’
‘Whether a student was born in the UAE or moved here with their family, it is essential to understand the fundamentals of how the UAE was formed and how it is governed today’
‘Culture is an inherent part of a society and the program wants to highlight UAE’s shared human culture that encapsulates the traditions and symbols that help define who we are’
At its heart, the Moral Education course aims to teach children to participate in life, locally and globally, in a responsible, productive and engaged manner.To give them the tools to make morally sound decisions as they grow into the adults who will shape tomorrow. It is less about telling students what to do and how to behave and more about facilitating their ability to determine the right course of action on their own, resulting in a far more powerful (and lasting) lesson.
Whilst many career teachers across all subjects may have considered the imparting of lessons of integrity and friendship to be necessary facets of every educators responsibilities, there is a strong argument that a dedicated class is not only able to offer a more focused avenue for learning, but that it is particularly useful in the hugely diverse environment of the UAE. With so many children hailing from all over the world, with different experiences, backgrounds, cultures and customs, any time utilised for the pursuit of lofty and laudable goals of tolerance, understanding and usefulness can only be a good thing for generations to come.
What are your thoughts about the Moral Education course? How is it taught in your school? Do you cover some of the topics in your own classroom? Do you think it is having a positive impact on your kids?