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10a. Duty - Jerry - Social Studies Teacher

Duty

Attitude of students and teacher

Dilemma


Duty. ‘This is the last time I will allow you back into my class!’ shouted Jerry a third year Social Studies teacher at Middletown Middle School, at one of his ninth graders. Jerry had been a good student himself and always had this dream of being a star teacher. But teaching wasn’t working for him … the students’ lack of interest in Canadian Social Studies annoyed him. He felt the students were irresponsible and immature and he let them know it.

Jerry’s beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and emotions engulfed his sense of duty about teaching adolescents … he felt a huge sense of guilt about how he felt about his students. What could he do about it?

Discussion

· Should beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and emotions be judged to be right or wrong? Explain.

  • Discuss how each judgement ( duty, rights, motive, desert, justice) contributes to a more thorough understanding a moral dilemma.
  • Discuss other situations where people use this kind of thinking.

You may want to discuss other dilemmas.

Consider this view: Can beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and emotions be judged to be right or wrong?

  • Crooked thinking

Yes. Beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and emotions can be judged to be right or wrong.

  • Straight thinking

Can beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and emotions be judged to be right or wrong? Insofar as they are mental states, they cannot be judged to be right or wrong because a person cannot cease to have a particular mental state such as a particular feeling or emotion by choosing not to have them. Similarly, a person cannot arbitrarily cease to have a certain attitude although a person can cultivate certain attitudes. It could be wrong for a person to fail to cultivate certain attitudes. For example, it would be wrong for a person to fail to cultivate an unprejudiced attitude. The same applies to thinking certain thoughts and have certain beliefs. A person cannot prevent a certain thought from crossing his mind. However, it would be wrong for a person not to cultivate the practice of carefully reviewing evidence. If a person could not be reasonable concerning the evidence, then there would be no question of right and wrong. In summary, it is dangerous to judge thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and emotions as being morally right or wrong.

Moral principle value tests

An application of the moral principle value tests probably illustrates most clearly what is entailed in evaluative reasoning. They are:

It is important to emphasize that the moral-value principle tests are not designed to resolve issues (guarantee right answers!) but to assess the ‘justification’ for moral value decisions.

To view the Dilemma from the perspective of Duty, Rights, Motives, Desert and Justice, click on the following:

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beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and emotions