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Moral and Spiritual Values in Education

Moral and Spiritual Values in Education: A Challenge to Every American

William Clayton Bower
Copyright Date: 1952
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Moral and Spiritual Values in Education
    Book Description:

    This book deals with the multiple problem of education in the public schools as it relates to moral and spiritual values. The author cuts a wide swath through the tangled underbrush of church and state, religion and education, sacred and secular, spiritual and materialistic, "body and soul," and lets in a lot of light. To these problems the author brings a lifetime of courageous reflection and experience. To them he also brings, as case studies, the actual experiences of actual children and teachers in actual classrooms in Kentucky, where an experimental program of education in moral and spiritual values has been in process for the past several years.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6219-5
    Subjects: Education, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Preface
    (pp. v-viii)
    Raymond F. McLain
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
    William Clayton Bower
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    Herman Lee Donovan

    A prime purpose of all education is good character.

    The first schools in this country were established as the result of a religious conviction our Pilgrim Fathers brought with them: they believed that it was essential to know how to read the Scriptures to obtain eternal life. For a long time the Bible was the principal textbook.

    During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and reaching into the first decade of the twentieth century, the curriculum of our schools was heavily loaded with materials that emphasized moral and spiritual values. Bible readings, Aesop’s fables, the McGuffey readers, carefully selected gems from...


    • Chapter One The Problem
      (pp. 3-13)

      American education can be understood only when viewed as a historical process, the evolving character of which is the result of the interaction of many social factors. During the somewhat more than three centuries of national history, it has undergone many and fundamental changes. At no time have these changes been more profound than since the beginning of the present century.

      The basic characteristics of early American education were carried over from its European backgrounds. But with the development of the frontier and the occupation of a vast continent, with their attendant cultural changes and demands, American education assumed characteristically...

    • Chapter Two Toward A Solution
      (pp. 14-24)

      The main outlines of the problem arising from the neglect of moral and spiritual values in American education are quite clear; but the solution of the problem is anything but clear. It involves the nature and ends of education, the origin and nature of moral judgments and spiritual attitudes, and the interrelated functions and responsibilities of church and state in a democratic society.

      Moreover, the problem has not remained the same. American culture has passed through many changes since the thirteen colonies were founded on the eastern seaboard. The development of the frontier and its later disappearance, the vast tides...


    • Chapter Three Separation of Church and State
      (pp. 27-37)

      As suggested in Chapter I, the divisive influence of sectarianism and the competition of rival ecclesiastical bodies to control public education led to the adoption of the basic doctrine of the separation of church and state in education. While the earliest solution was aimed at the exclusion of sectarianism from the schools, its practical result was the exclusion of religion in its nontheological and nonecclesiastical form.

      Now that a new and widespread concern has arisen over the restoring of moral and spiritual values to education, the issue between church and state has again become a live one. Is the responsibility...

    • Chapter Four Personality and How It Develops
      (pp. 38-47)

      Education as modernly conceived has a twofold function, each inseparably related to the other. From the individual point of view, it is concerned with the fullest possible development of the whole person. From the social point of view, it involves the promotion of understandings regarding the social relations in which the growing person is involved, attitudes of co-operation, techniques of effective social participation, and citizenship.

      A program of moral and spiritual values within this larger framework of education is concerned with the development of a certain quality of person whose attitudes and behaviors are inspired and controlled by moral and...

    • Chapter Five The Nature of Experience and Its Control
      (pp. 48-60)

      If given the original nature with which the human being is born, personality is the result of the experiences which persons have, it logically follows that the way to control the development of personality is through control of the growing person’s experience. Such control will be possible through an understanding of the source of experience, of its structure, and of the factors that determine outcomes of given units of experience. If the fullest possible development of desirable personality by self-realizing persons is the objective of education, and of moral and spiritual education in particular, the procedures by which experience is...

    • Chapter Six The Functional Relation of Values to Experience
      (pp. 61-73)

      If values are of such fundamental importance in the education of self-realizing persons, where are those who are responsible for the education of children and young people to look for them? Upon the answer to this question will depend the method employed for their discovery and development. It is with regard to this issue that the basic differences in the approach to so-called character education arise. If moral and spiritual values have their origin outside human experience and have to be imported into it from some supposed “supernatural” order, the method obviously will be external and authoritative and will assume...

    • Chapter Seven Values Are Indigenous to the School Community
      (pp. 74-82)

      In the light of the nature and origin of experience and of the functional relation of values to it, the question is sharply raised about where teachers and administrators are to look for moral and spiritual values. The answer to this question will determine the basic pattern of procedure in any program of moral and spiritual education.

      Analysis shows that most programs of character education in the school rest upon the implicit assumption that the school itself and the learning process are devoid of positive value content. Consequently, moral and spiritual values have to be imported from some external source...

    • Chapter Eight A Program of Emphasis
      (pp. 83-90)

      If moral and spiritual values are indigenous to the school community and the learning process and if morality and spirituality are qualities that potentially attach to each response to the situations that arise in the school community, it follows that a program for the discovery and development of moral and spiritual values should be one of emphasis integral to the total school program rather than one of additional courses or a separate department.

      In such an approach no new subject matter is needed. This is true whether one thinks of the curriculum as having primarily to do with responding to...


    • Chapter Nine Techniques of Guidance: Developing Situations
      (pp. 93-116)

      The technique of guiding growing persons in responding to situations in moral and spiritual ways consists of at least four identifiable but overlapping steps: (1) developing sensitivity on the part of teacher and pupil to potential moral and spiritual values as they emerge in the process of responding to a situation; (2) identifying the values involved; (3) developing potential values into actual and operative values in the weighing, motivation, and execution of the pupil’s choice of alternatives in action; and (4) giving adequate and appealing symbolic expression to the emergent values.

      The specific situation will determine the order of these...

    • Chapter Ten Techniques of Analysis: The School Community
      (pp. 117-128)

      The first necessity in the discovery and development of moral and spiritual values in the school community is the development of awareness of the school as a community on the part of administrators, teachers, and pupils. The frequently all but exclusive emphasis upon subject matter in formal education has tended to obscure this awareness. When it is fully realized that it is through the process of socialization involving group status and roles assumed in group relations that growing persons achieve selfhood and that it is through the harmonious integration of these many and often conflicting roles that one becomes a...

    • Chapter Eleven Techniques of Analysis: Curriculum Content
      (pp. 129-142)

      The Curriculum, whether it is concerned with the cultural heritage or life adjustment problems, is a fertile field for the discovery and development of moral and spiritual values. This is particularly true when the curriculum is thought of in terms of its functional relation to the life process. It then becomes a sequence of experiences which grow out of teachers and learners working together on individual and group concerns of everyday living. So understood, the curriculum is designed to do more than pass on the cultural heritage from one generation to another. It will give children and young people experiences...

    • Chapter Twelve Techniques of Analysis: Counseling
      (pp. 143-151)

      We are coming to see that education is concerned with the normal growth of the whole person in relation to his natural and social world and not, as so often has been thought, exclusively or primarily with basic knowledge and skills. Also, among the major discoveries of modern psychology has been the fact of individual differences and the social nature of personality. As a result, increasingly the objective of education is coming to be thought of as the development of the wholesome personality of the pupil in the light of his unique interests and capacities and in constructive adjustment in...

    • Chapter Thirteen Techniques of Analysis: Sports and Recreation
      (pp. 152-164)

      Since physical education was dealt with under curriculum content, the present chapter will be concerned only with sports and recreation.

      The educational value of play has long been recognized. It was an integral part of Greek education. The modern appreciation of play as a medium of education, however, began with Froebel in the early part of the nineteenth century. With the increase of leisure time under the conditions of modern industrialization, the importance of play in its various aspects has assumed vastly greater proportions, particularly as a fundamental objective of education, not only in the constructive use of sports and...

    • Chapter Fourteen Techniques of Synthesis: Symbolic Expression
      (pp. 165-178)

      The techniques of analysis are concerned with the breaking down of the school experience into specific situations in order to locate the value potentials inherent in them. The learning process, especially as related to living, requires that these disparate learnings shall be brought together into functioning wholes in the form of generalized meanings, convictions, and ideals, and, at the highest level through revaluation, into a philosophy of life. After analysis should come synthesis. This is primarily the function of symbols, which are for the most part art forms. Art, like religion, is a comprehending experience in which life is seen,...

  9. Retrospect and Prospect
    (pp. 179-186)

    This account of an experimental program for the discovery and development of moral and spiritual values in education may well conclude with an interpretative retrospect on its progress thus far and a forward look into its potential future.

    The changing problem of moral and spiritual values in American education has been viewed in relation to the dynamic changes in American culture. The contemporary situation demands a new approach and a new solution. In the light of the present world situation, it begins to appear that perhaps the most pressing task that confronts our generation, next to achieving a just and...

  10. A Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 187-198)
  11. Appendix
    (pp. 199-208)
  12. Index
    (pp. 209-214)