Monday, March 22, 2010

Lessons in living

If you thought the old ‘Moral Science' classes were boring, here's OUP's new series on ‘value education' that attempts to make it fun and interesting…

One class per week, one book for the year. The teacher would walk in, read or get the kids to read pages from the book. Each “lesson” was a story “with a moral” — the moral printed in italics at the end of the passage. Moral Science was no fun, but no pressure either. If you slept through the class, well, you showed honesty and courage.

The eight graded Living in Harmony text books from Oxford University Press have been trying to change all that. The “Moral” in the subject has morphed into “value”, and rightly so, “Science” is now liberal art. In answer to the times we live in, “Peace” is coupled to value education. The course is meant to go beyond the classroom, the school and family to embrace life itself in all its aspects.

The books cover 84 values, phew! — from being honest to being happy to being tolerant! But the format compels attention and interest. Each value has one main story illustrating it and is neatly wedged between the introduction and the explanation part. The stories come from everywhere — folklore, literature, anecdotes, inspiration — reminding us of the rich story-telling legacy we are heir to. Comprehension questions follow and the lesson is rounded off with an extrapolatory activity. More activities fill the “peace pages”, to reinforce values the authors feel are of universal relevance.

Full report here Hindu

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