29. května 2012 v 8:50 | Prof.PhDr.Rudolf Kohoutek,CSc.
As a philosophical discipline, it ethics concerned with responsible behaviour within human
community. Every school should be competently engaged in the area of moral and health
education and self-education of their students. The implementation of moral education
should reside in concrete formation of pro-social and supportive communication modes of
student behaviour.
From the psychological viewpoint, ethical education and self-education consists in lifelong
and systemic development of desirable character qualities and traits with the use of
exemplification, persuasion and experience in a suitable environment.
Key words
Health, ethics, moral education, health education, self education

Importance of ethics and ethical education at schools is given by the fact that present
society shows low level of ethical behaviour and experiences, especially in the field of social
Ethics is understood as a philosophical discipline engaged just in responsible action
inside human coexistence (see Velký sociologický slovník, 1996, t.1, p. 269). Formation of
humane and really ethical interpersonal relations belongs to the most actual calls of the post
totalitarian present. Underrating of this fact at the beginning of the nineties of the last century
led to identification of the present times as post ethical and post moralistic and to many
problems in global social range.
German sociologist Niklas Luhmann (1927 - 1998) even came to a disputable reason that
morale has to be delegitimated as the highest judge of human action and a society has to be
"removed from moralisation" because the most of people do not act morally anyway and
morale in socially unfunctional act and nobody approve seriously its obligation and validity. It
is impossible to agree with this opinion. Absence of morale is destructive. And destruction of
civilisation values has to be hindered, it is act of self-preservation.
With regard to ethics-health relationship, we can assume that moral personal as well as
occupational lifestyle is a guarantee of mental and social well-being experiences at the
majority of people. And just mental and social well-being (aside from physical well-being)
belongs to health definition and basic characteristics.
Thoughts on ethical, pro-social, responsible behaviour and experiences are always at
the same time, even though indirectly, thoughts on health supporting. Morality - health
relationship is undeniable.
We consider return of morality, morale and humanism and development of wider
responsibility in the 3rd millennium to be necessary. But it concerns as most as possible
people to be determined above all by cultural and moral standards, not by egoisms, in their
behaviour and action. I would emphasise words "as most as possible". There will never be all
The present society is evidently in moral crisis which use to be typical for revolution
and post revolution stages of society development.
If the moral progress in present time and in future should be reached, the outlet from
this moral crisis is needed to be found by new emphasis on ethical standards need, ethical
communication, information and determination in interpersonal relations as well as man -
nature relation and extend programmatically competences of ethics, relation responsibility and
man obligations.
French philosopher Giles Lipovetski expresses an opinion that the 21st century will be
either ethical or it will not be at all. Ethical access to the world and life is necessary if the fear
conceived by sociologist Max Weber (1864 - 1920) should not be filled up, namely that a
modern man becomes to be "specialist without spirit and consumer without heart" who will
consider not only things but also people to be goods.
Some futurologists, e.g. A. Toffler (1980), speak about necessity of global spiritual
revolution comparable by its importance with industrial revolution.
Restoring of interpersonal relations to health and community development and their
survival depends on it.
Often (and by right) is spoken about sustainable development and quality of life.
Conception of sustainable (and therefore considerate development) reflects pursuit of joint
requirements of economic development (economic dimension) and needs of environmental
and natural resources protection (ecological or environmental dimension) and human
development care (social or anthropological dimension).
Radical conception of environmental ethics says if the mankind is endangered by
ecological catastrophe, the new ethics not clustered around idea of human value
(anthropocentrism) but with centre in idea and all nature value (biocentrism) is needed to be
Deontological ethics, i.e. ethics of obligations, typical for example for I. Kant (deon =
obligation) is replaced by ethics of responsibility in present.
We identify with ethics of responsibility formulated by Hans Jonas (1993) who
consider social responsibility principle to be a base for new ethics for technological
civilisation namely for individuals and groups. Naturally the question of responsibility
towards future gains ground.
Our effort has to aim at elaboration of theory and practice of ethics and ethical
communication and education.
Program of development of educational system in the Czech Republic (chap. I) states
rightly in its main principles of educational system transformation after the November 1989:
"The function of educational system is to provide education to every individual what can
evolve their abilities and cultivate their character and attitudes. It equips them with knowledge
and skills so as to assert themselves in life as soon as possible and to use their rights and fulfil
obligations of free citizen in democratic society. The target of education is to contribute to
formation of personality connecting in itself freedom and responsibility."
As the basic factor of education at schools was traditionally and rightly considered to be moral education what is
an educational impact on intellect, feelings, volition and action, opinions, attitudes and
imagination in order to be in accordance with recognised principles and legal, mercy,
responsibility, good and ethics standards.
The moral education at schools should have a form of education towards pro-social
and supportive communication climate (i.e. towards social cordiality and social support)
where participants respect each other, communicate and comment openly their opinions and
feelings, where there are opened also ethically relevant issues freely discussed and adequate
ethical rules are deduced from them.
Ethical issues pass across various subjects at school and across various life situations
not only at school but also out of school (especially in family). Each teacher aside from his
special professional specialisation should be a carrier of ethical education and an ethical selfeducation at students maker.
Consider pupils' and students' moral education and self-education at schools, we have
to go out from the thesis of the leading Czech pedagogue prof. Jan Průcha (1997) that
psychosocial climate at school, sometimes called "ethos" of school, communication climate
and moral environment are the main indicators of curricular as well as educational quality of
Pedagogical-psychological aspects of ethics and moral education
If teaching of ethics and ethical education should be successful at schools, it would
require all teachers' competent pedagogical approach to all pupils and students.
The right education has to be responsible self-education stimulator and has to respect
freedom and unique of human personality.
Moral education is in fact education of a character. In personality psychology the
moral character (ethos) is defined as a stabile man's readiness to act according to some ethical
principles, i.e. it expresses such qualities as discipline, responsibility, integrity (see Milan
Nakonečný, 1993).
A lack of moral personalities makes for risk to society and civilisation in consequence
of its moral devastation. A regression to "moral stone age" threatens (see J. Šolc, 2001).
An important part of character is a volition bearing on active advancing individual life
objectives based on dominance of specific values in personal value orientation, on individual
man's value system what is taken to be eligible (e.g. health life style, altruism, but also profit,
personal property, etc.). In individual's value structure the values are inserted in specific
pyramidal order.
At the same time, dominant values in man's personal value structure has a form of
causes of human behaviour and action, then man's motives and objectives.
A process of ethical revolution of personality is a process of a birth and loss of various
ethical values. It is a process of perpetual changes and ripening.
Personal value structure is often determinative for all man's action. There is need to
take account of the fact that every period and every society has its own specific value
orientation (see Martinkovičová, 2002) as well as particular social groups inclusive of
students groups.
Personal value structure impresses dynamically people's daily behaviour, their
personalities, their individual life style, i.e. solid individual line (screenplay) of their
behaviour. There is often used a term "value orientation" for personal value structure. Internal
people's value system impresses also their action and behaviour. Loss or reduction of
preferred working, personal and life values could be a cause of diseases or a factor negatively
impressing a disease course.
A significant help at personal value structure formation could provide teachers of
humanities and pedagogical-psychological counselling workers at schools.
Let's take note of basic characteristics, at whose development should an ethical
education aim.
According to Ladislav Lencz (1993) the basic value developed by an ethical education is selfconfident
personality with pro-social orientation. There would be evidently rather cited prosocial
orientation at first even if a level of man's self-confidence belongs undoubtedly to
central personal characteristics which have a big impress on man's behaviour and experiences
what emphasise especially American psychologist and pedagogues. American ethical
therapists consider self-confidence support to be first-rate question of therapeutic ethics.
Pro-sociality as a willingness to make something cooperatively for others without
expectation of equivalent or premium is the basic condition for social stability and harmonic
interpersonal relations, the key issue of value orientation and the key competence of man. It is
a base of morality. The motive and assumption of pro-social behaviour is an internal need to
do what could do others good. Insufficiency of cooperation is one of the causes but also one
of the consequences of the fact that families are unfunctional, economic and political systems
do not function and there comes to conflicts. Consensus (accordance and harmony) finding
among opinions takes precedence to compromises (i.e. accordance acquired by mutual
concessions) finding.
Pro-social behaviour as moral - social competence is an attribute of humanisation and
democratisation in the field of education. It belongs to characteristics of eligible life culture
generally. Pro-social behaviour should go hand in hand with an adequate level of professional
education and professional careers competence.
There is surprising and stimulative that sociological research of values of our young
people between age 18 and 25 confirms preference of health, love and friendship values.
Present young people do not proclaim property at the first place even though its importance
increased in comparison with previous researches (see Martinkovičová, 2002). Preference of
family value increases with age. Arrogant, unruly and egoistic narcissism does not prevail
presently or is not strictly proclaimed at least what means it is understood as a negative value.
In our research of personalities of students at Brno University of Technology we were
engaged, among other things, in investigation of social responsibility level at 128 students and
we applied a method of interpersonal diagnose ICL of T. Leary et al. at them. The result 6,9
from possible 10 marks reflects above average level of social responsibility at students at
Brno University of Technology.
Responsible pro-social behaviour assumes to have an advanced ability to be one's own
man, to be a purposeful personality, to have one's own identity, to behave expressively, feel
for other people and have a motivation to help them. In this conception, pro-sociality is
actually systematic psychical regulator (Damián Kováč, 2002).
Relationships between man and other people are all-important but we may not forget
even man-nature and man-future relationships. According to German philosopher H. Jonas
(1984), man and technique are able to create a future striking dread into. However, this dread
could become a positive ethical value if it awakes our responsibility for future generations.
Hans Jonas formulates categorical ethical imperative like this: "Act so as to consequences of
your action would be in accordance with authentic human life, so as not to be destructive for
future life. Think of future human well-being when you make decisions at present."
Human social behaviour is liable to social presses, social control of public. Its
breaking causes sanctions (ostracism, ridicule). However, social behaviour has also internal
regulators (feeling of shame, blame, displeasure, internal tension, resentment, dissatisfaction
with oneself, inferiority complex) at negative activities at the same time.
Conscientious abidance by morality principles is considered rightfully to be also the
base of prevention and therapy of some diseases. The wide discussion about extra
unfavourable impresses on human state of health of their hostility (compulsion to hurt
somebody, unfriendly relations, hate), depression, phobia, obsession, compulsivity, blazes of
affects, insobriety, epicurism, cupidity, paranoia, etc. is passing in professional literature at
Topics and recommendations for moral education at students in families and at schools
An eminent program of ethical education is a system of character development created
on the basis of investigation into big significant group in San Francisco (see Plunkett, D.,
System of character development leans here above all on two psychologists' work - E.
A. Wynne and K. Ryan.
Research group of thirty workers elaborated a program for pro-social behaviour
education which has five particular tasks. The first three aimed at young people:
1. concerning young people connection to activities aimed at mutual help in family and
at school;
2. next it concerns sensibilisation of empathy, i.e. perception of needs, feelings and
thinking at others. (For detailed information see A. Ellis' publication: Training of
emotions, catch title: Work with emotions on the basis of rational emotional therapy);
3. and finally it concerns development of team work with contemporaries and family
The other two tasks aimed at adults:
4. how to provide positive models of pro-social behaviour continuously also through
educational actions;
5. how to support positive discipline, especially by presentation of definite behavioural
orders, by discipline methods use, by self-regard support, by maintenance of positive
relation to young people and high level of expectations (Pygmalion effect).
American researches consider moral codex including 7 character streaks to be a base of
character development. Man should be led to become
1. honest (unfailing, straight and truthful)
2. responsible (conscientious, considerate and trustworthy)
3. kind (respect authority, correct)
4. loyal (staunch, brave)
5. sedulous (painstaking and diligent)
6. expressive (plain, frank, cooperative)
7. healthy self-confident (with respect to oneself but also self-critical)
This moral codex should be modified for Czech society conditions. We miss there e.g.
patriotism and responsibility to one's own health.
Strategy of good or moral character development by creation of relevant conditions for
ethical values, principles, attitudes and standards interiorisation was summarised into five
items by psychologist K. Ryan:
1. an example
2. explanation
3. exhortation and encouragement
4. environment
5. experiences (see also J. Smékal, 1998)
Strategy of character development program by five mentioned approaches could be elaborated
in details as follows:
1. An example
Every pedagogue should labour for so behaviour, action and approach to pupils and
students as to become to be an identifying ideal for them. Present moral crisis is
namely, above other things, characterised by lack of positive identifying ideals.
People imitate functionally behaviour of persons that they hold in high regard or are
fond of them, consider them to be likeable or even they like them and therefore they
identify with them.
What should ethical codex of teachers who are ideals for their pupils and students
contain? It should contain, above all, items which mention that teachers should be
ideals of humane approach to children, teenagers as well as adults as to respectable
human being which have a right to social well-being when they communicate with
pedagogues. They should not abuse children and teenagers as means to reach their
own egoistic objectives. They should not associate pupils and students only with
appropriate roles but they should see autonomous personalities with concrete human
needs and values behind them. They should always abide by principles of moral and
social style; their appearance should be so treated as to well represent teacher's
position, they should be patient and painstaking at getting over educational difficulties
with children and teenagers and they should use standard language and adequate
verbal as well as nonverbal and emphatic communicational means. They should
contribute by their behaviour to positive image of their workplaces and practise their
pedagogical activities as well as possible.
2. Explanation (persuasion)
Spontaneous question of pupils and student concerning correct ethical behaviour are
natural resource for explanation.
The most appropriate form of explanation is discursive (logic) dialogue, but also
intuitive dialogue is possible. A pedagogue should be able to open space for ethical
dialogue with students. This should be his responsibility. But not directively
paternalistic (or manipulative) approach to students.
Advice is really appropriate, e.g. in the field of anti-drug prevention. There is eligible
to develop anti-drug attitudes, skills turn down a drug. Advice is eligible also in the
field of health and ethical therapy. There is need to warn teenagers that for example
hateful behaviour and experience (hostility), envy, egoism, avarice and other moral
defects aggravate various illnesses (C. Bezděk, 1998). Connections between morality and
health are undeniable. Unfortunately, various charlatans, accented persons and fanatics
are often engaged in these connections unscientifically and incompetently.
3. Exhortation, positive stimulation and encouragement, persuading
Exhortation of pupils and students to personal and identical responsibility and to
autonomous finding of varieties of oneself own problems has to be carried out slightly,
kindly, without dehonestation of pupil's and student's personality, without exorbitant
authoritative prescriptive, by form of various manipulative instructions, rules and
dispositions on the basis of ethical audit. Čáp, J. and Mareš, J. (2001) were engaged in
concrete positive approaches of encouragement. They recommend not to link
encouragement with dehonestive moralising (e.g. supplement: "So why do not you do
it always that way?" or "There was already about time!") because moralising disrupts
an effect of previous positive information.
4. Environment
Not only family and ancestry create or impress a personality and a character too. Also
the world forms a man; it educates him, teaches him but naturally also deforms him.
Man is educated or impressed by all things what surround him. Thus, also by
civilisation and nature. Also imagination and thinking are supported considerably by
civilisation and nature. School is an important background where for example vexation
should be eliminated as well. Balance between pupils' and students' competitiveness
and cooperation and volition of social background to make a good are considered to be
an important factor conductive to environment.
Also inner school curriculum, so ethical and traditional school atmosphere perceived
by pupils and students, belongs to effective ethical impression. A measure of harmony
between ethical values proclaimed by teachers and their everyday life practice, which
should support creation of stabile and well-balanced pupils' personalities resistant to
stress and difficult life situations, is crucial.
5. Experiences (including corrective experiences)
Present environment where young people live is rich in information but poor with
regard to positive group experiences including corrective experiences.
Young people should be more oriented to objectivisation of their social perception and
to greater participation in useful cooperation and in acquirement of practical
experience not only in their professional area but also in the field of social
communication (see Šramová, 2001). Experience study of ethical attitudes, initiative,
relationships and forms of pro-social behaviour is represented for example by socalled
active social learning.
Experience education is lately elaborated within so-called social pedagogy and
experience therapy. For example projects Summer school Lipnice, OUTDOOR and
GO movement make use of experience pedagogy as learning by active act combined
with following discussion and reflection. It concerns methods of experience learning
and its utilisation for global development of human personality especially in the field
of team work, communicative skills and social feeling and behaviour. It concerns
above all utilisation of all possible kinds of games. There somewhere comes also to
so-called "touching the bottom of own abilities and potential".
For example publication of H. Belz and M. Siegrist: Key competences and their
development includes valuable, but also some quite forced impulses to experiences.
Therefore we have to take account of an effect of experiences which pupils and
students acquire from their contemporaries. Their impact could be even greater than
teachers' and parents'. Authors of reported American character development program
consider explaining of behavioural rules, school objectives and not only in verbal but
also in written form to students to be a priority. Competitions of individuals and
groups, cooperative behaviour at team work, ability and skills to accept winnings and
losses are parts of character development program.
Also a variety of out-of-school activities allows every pupil and students to utilise and
experience personally pro-social form of active civil and professional behaviour
influencing also their psychical and social well-being and consequently their health.
Teachers should aim at development and cultivation of children's and teenagers'
whole autonomous personalities, not only their cognitive structure.
In above mentioned San Francisco program, we miss an analysis of ancestral genes
(predispositions) for ethical part of behaviour and experiences, an analysis of
importance and influence of individual bio-psycho-social trends which could have a
crucial role in some cases.
We have to take account of the fact, that ancestral and congenital defects could quite
complicate international and functional moral education. But there is not possible to
step down moral education and self-education after all these limitations although we
know they are not all-powerful.
An inner school curriculum, so ethical school atmosphere and infrastructure and its
traditions perceived by students, is an important part of ethical education at schools. Prosocial
and supportive school climate is optimum. Optimum measure of harmony between
proclaimed ethical values and principles and their everyday concrete practice is crucial for
pupils' and students' moral education. From this viewpoint, double and egoistic morale of
teachers who state something else than practise, is damaging. An example of that conflict
could be giving preferences to personal private goals, needs and activities of some teachers to
the detriment of proper professional pupils and students care.
Presumption of successful students' moral education should be recognition and
purposeful cultivation of personal individuality of each young person.
All teachers should get through a course of ethics and ethical education.
There is necessary to learn them to influence pupils' and students' value structures to
eligible trend, to educate rating competences.
There would not be right to step down ethical education although it is quite difficult.
Morality remains, if we want or not, the base of our civilisation.
Moral codex of pedagogues, advisory teachers and school psychologists are an aid for
improvement of ethical education in school system.
Efforts at life style honour everyday ethics and aesthetics have also positive health
consequences and effects. It concerns above all healthy life style, pro-social relations and
optimum communication in family, at school and at work.

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