In her article, “Teaching the Virtues”, Christina Hoff Sommers addresses that the main problem today is that kids are unaware of their moral values and are unable to define what is right and wrong. Sommers suggested the teachers to teach their students individual virtues as they are further away from their morality. Striking changes have taken place from the more directive teaching of right and wrong, by study and example, to situation ethics, dilemma ethics and other approaches that rationally dissect moral acts. The set of approaches imply that there are no moral absolutes to uphold. Sommers feels that if students are taught that way they can lose a sense of moral direction and not take personal responsibility for their actions.
Now the question arises here, is it really necessary to teach someone individual virtues? If you ask someone to justify any matter, and he cannot give a rational judgment then he does not have individual virtues. How can a person judge rationally if he himself has no morals? “When a person does not have any knowledge about virtues, he will be a hypocrite, self-deceptive, cruel and selfish” (Sommers). He will deceive everyone and create huge problems in society. Contemporary teachers are teaching students about the social policies but students cannot learn anything from this. It is because the teachers are not teaching them any individual virtues. For example, Sommers’ shows a teacher telling her students “cheating is not wrong if you can get away with it” (Sommers). As a result, her students do not have any moral values as their teacher is telling them she will not allow them to cheat in her class, but says if they can get away with it in life its ok. However, if the teacher strictly tells them cheating at anything in life is wrong, then chances are they will be less likely to attempt cheating. This case shows that private morality is indeed necessary for someone rather than teaching social policy. For that reason, the...
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