EDU 6120 Session 3: Six Cardinal Values

Methods of Socratic method utilized by the ancient Greeks can be displayed by a triangular model including courage, wisdom, and moderation at the three outer points of the diagram, highlighting justice at the center of this model, justice connecting the other values together. Below is a diagram of the model that was presented to the class:

diagram 2

The Greeks understood this concept as the balanced life, noting that too much of too little of one of these three values would throw off the outcome of justice. For example, to be too courageous would potentially provide a display of recklessness therefore justice may not be achieved. To lack the appropriate level of wisdom may result in excessive foolishness. Furthermore, to live a life of too much excess or limitation, will outweigh a life of moderation. In this model, in order for justice to prevail, there must be a balance of the three cardinal values, courage, wisdom, and moderation.

This week six cardinal values to a moral education, developed by the United States Government, were also presented to the class. This example was detailed on an elevation drawing of the Pantheon, representing these six values as the six pillars that support the freeze and roof of the architecture. Commitment, participation, kindness, civility, honesty, and service are all structural columns, supporting the freeze and roof above, including the individual, political, and economic structures of society. Without the foundation and columns of this metaphorical structure, the freeze and the roof would most likely collapse. This model is useful when approaching a pedagogical design for any classroom environment; academics can be transferred through lesson planning and instruction, using a balance of these six cardinal values/pillars to verify a solid framework to mold a moral individual, preparing them for societal responsibilities. Examples of these six values can be modeled in anything an educator does, such as planning lessons around community service, exhibiting kindness in challenging situations, exhibiting honesty (especially when one is wrong), respecting colleagues and others surrounding them, participation in the community and school, and a commitment to work ethic. When working with children at any age level, it is appropriate and important to consistently utilize these six values. Instruction requires a balance of approaches, to reach all students on varying levels of participation; it is important to be kind, but without the other five values represented on the Pantheon model, there would be an imbalance of responsibilities. Furthermore, teaching a moral education, without leading by our actions, is a lazy and inefficient example of transferring knowledge.

In everything that we do as educators, we should lead by example. Our responsibility to our students is to teach by communicating. Communication, by definition, is a means of transferring information and connecting people and places together. While knowledge may be provided in a worded format, knowledge is also transferred through our actions. We as teachers have a moral requirement to provide knowledge to our students through an equal distribution of commitment, participation, kindness, civility, honesty, and service. To add to that, we should continue to exhibit a passion for what we do and ambition for successful outcomes, for this could serve us well in remembering to use these values throughout our lives and careers. Without passion and ambition, the six cardinal values represented on the Pantheon example would be quite difficult to achieve with balance and integrity. As the actual Pantheon has eight columns on its front elevation, perhaps passion and ambition would fit perfectly in a revised metaphoric model of moral education.

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