Friday, March 25, 2016

Why Teaching Ethics IS part of STEAM

Last week, I was doing a workshop on using music to teach Science & Math.  As I scrolled on my iPod to get to a song, another song appeared.  It was about telling the truth.  I paused for a moment and thought, "This song has nothing to do with STEAM." Then, I realized, it had a lot to do with STEAM.  And, music is a vehicle to teach the ethics needed to be good scientists and mathematicians!!
Imagine a world where scientists and mathematicians were never taught the value of honesty.  After spending years on research, things didn't come out as was hoped.  One must be truthful, willing to let go of years of research if the findings do not support the hypothesis.  The public must be able to trust the released results.  Lives could depend on it.  Imagine doctors who were comfortable with false reports or accountants who switched around numbers to make things work.
             It would just throw everything OfF.  We NEED to depend on one another.  

It shouldn't be easy to lie; it should make you uncoMfortable.  This is not something that just comes into being without being nurtured.  For most, human nature plays the part of making us feel badly when we are being dishonest.  Good parenting and good teachers help children understand those feelings and mold the character.  I produced a song called "Tell the Truth" .   In it, a young girl talks about how she lied and couldn't sleep.  When she told the truth, she felt better.  (I did have one parent question me about that.  Would I REALLY tell a child their belly would hurt and they wouldn't be able to sleep if they lied?  Absolutely!)

Pam Schiller has a wonderful book out called The Values Book .  It has many helpful ways to teach values and build character.

"The Boy Who Cried 'Wolf!'" is a song on my CD "The Wide-mouthed Bullfrog (and other Stories I Like to Sing)".  Children are capable of discussing the story and what it means and the consequences of his words.  Talking it out gives the brain a chance to work it out from different angles and totally comprehend the concept.

Value systems are set in place by the age of approximately 7.  Children must have an understanding of the importance of keeping their word because people are relying on them.  For the world to run well, we need a moral compass we can depend on.  When we are unsure, we feel unsafe.

Sing songs in your classrooms (homes) that value VALUES.  Am I idealistic?  At times.  I truly believe in the importance of using music as a vehicle to teach ethics and that goes hand-in-hand with being good people all around - whether we are Scientists, Mathematicians, Doctors, Accountants, Teachers, Parents or any occupation.  It just makes a better world.
                                                WHAT DO YOU THINK????

Maryann "Mar." Harman
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  1. I love the idea of using music as a vehicle to teach values. I can't wait to listen to "the boy who cried wolf" (again) and share it with the kids.

    1. Thank you. Let me know if there is a story to share

  2. I totally agree. It's important to teach 'right' and 'wrong.' With good ethics coaching, children have the tools they need to make good future choices. Otherwise, it's like expecting someone to swim who has never been in the water.


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