Monday 11 December 2017

Teaching pupils to ask themselves difficult questions

Similar to Educate Together primary schools, there will be no formal religious education classes at second-level.

Instead, students will study an ethical curriculum, which will include education about different belief systems.

It will incorporate a module on education for sustainability, on which Dublin City University (DCU) is currently working and which will be delivered online to all three schools.

Dr Carmel Mulcahy, head of the board of management at Hansfield Educate Together Secondary School, was one of the authors of the Learning Together ethical education programme for their primary schools.

She said the DCU module would be very much about "what do we owe to the future? What we very much owe is to keep things the way they are and not make it worse.

"It is very difficult to redress some of the things that have happened, but at least have a conscience about what we are going to do going forward".

Bernie Judge said she was conscious of overlaps with subjects such as Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE), Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE) and religious studies: "We have to clarify in the coming months what makes ethical education different from what is going on in schools already.

"It is how it is constructed. That sense of putting more of a focus on ethical decision-making in society and equipping young people to critique some of content they are learning in that way."

She wants them to ask questions like: "What does this mean for decisions I make that are not just good for me as an individual, but good for society and good for society in the future; that is where sustainability comes in and morals."

Irish Independent

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