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Twenty-one values and attitudes for education

The effort to develop a consensus, in a pluralistic society, on the common virtues all students should be taught has prompted some educators (known humorously as ``listmakers'') to codify these virtues, so that teachers may have a clear guide. Some lists resemble the Boy Scout Law (cheerful, thrifty, brave, etc.). Others are fantastically complex or obscure. The list receiving the best reviews so far is by Reo M. Christenson, a Miami University (Ohio) professor:

1.Acknowledging the importance of self-discipline, defined as the strength to do what we believe we should do, even when we would rather not do it.

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2.Being trustworthy, so that when we say we will or will not do something, we can be believed.

3.Telling the truth, especially when it hurts us to do so.

4.Being honest in all aspects of life, including in our business practices and in our relations with the government.

5.Having the courage to resist group pressures to do what we would refuse to do if we were alone.

6.Being ourselves, but being our best selves.

7.Using honorable means, those that respect the rights of others, in seeking our individual and collective ends.

8.Conducting ourselves, where significant moral behavior is concerned, in a manner that does not fear exposure.

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9.Having the courage to say, ``I'm sorry. I was wrong.''

10.Practicing good sportsmanship. Recognizing that although the will to win is important, winning is not all-important.

11.Maintaining courtesy in human relations, including the courtesy of really listening to others.

12.Treating others as we would wish to be treated, recognizing that this principle applies to persons of every class, race, nationality, and religion.

13.Recognizing that no person is an island, that behavior that may seem to be of purely private concern often affects those about us and society itself.

14.Bearing in mind that how we conduct ourselves in times of adversity is the best test of our maturity and our mettle.

15.Doing work well, whatever that work may be.

16.Showing respect for the property of others - school property, business property, government property, everyone's property.

17.Giving obedience to law, except where religious convictions or deeply held moral principles forbid it. Civil disobedience should be nonviolent and should accept the penalties prescribed by law.

18.Respecting the democratic values of free speech, a free press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and due process of law. Recognizing that this principle applies to speech we abhor, groups we dislike, persons we despise.

19.Developing habits that promote physical and emotional health and refraining from activities destructive of those ends.

20.Abstaining from premature sexual experience and developing sexual attitudes compatible with the values of family life.

21.Recognizing that the most important thing in life is the kind of person we are becoming, the qualities of character and moral behavior we are developing.

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