The role of education on moral behavior development



Education, has for a very long time now, proved to be a very integral aspect in the United States of America. In as much as it has been redefined and revolutionized over the years, it still holds a great deal of value in the American society and culture. In light of that, education has always been tied up with the moral and behavioral standards of the society. Thus, in a society where education levels are high, the moral standards of the same society tend to be high as well. Having said that, this paper seeks to evaluate the role that is played by education in the development of positive moral behaviors, its impact and importance in enhancing good moral reasoning and appropriate behaviors in the society.


In most cases, the primary goal of having an education has always been to provide an individual with a career and a platform on which one is able to make a livelihood from. Nonetheless, other objectives are aimed at being achieved other than making a career out of education. One of these goals is instilling behavioral decency in an individual as they receive an education (Doyle and Joanne 377). In developing tremendous intellectual abilities in students as they grow up, the education system of the United States is also geared towards instilling behavioral decency in the students as well. For instance, in a normal school setting, students are obliged to adhere to all the school rules and regulations that are set to govern the normal running of the school. As a result, the students are subjected under the authority and develop a sense of obedience in them. This in turn results to the students acquiring the discipline to work under authority. Consequently, the students will eventually carry on the same discipline into the future as adults, collectively leading to a morally upright society that obeys and follows the laws of the land. The genesis of behavioral decency in an individual begins during the educational period where the character is instilled and developed over duration of time (Greenfield 174). It is something that is inculcated in an individual which then reciprocates to the whole society at large, resulting to a community and a nation with moral and civic standards that are essentially high.

Apart from instilling behavioral decency in an individual, education also plays a very significant role in promoting moral mental reasoning and positive cognitive abilities. A positive mental and cognitive ability in any individual goes a long way in determining the resultant character that is portrayed (Tan 560). The character of an individual is primary determined by the manner in which one thinks and reasons out issues. Therefore, arguing that education is absolutely significant in developing ideal cognitive abilities and positive moral reasoning in any individual would be essentially correct. For instance, in educational institutions, learners are equipped with academic knowledge as well as critical and creative thinking skills. In so doing, individuals are able to acquire critical reasoning abilities that the can apply in their academic life as well as in their general life as well. As a result, the reasoning ability largely influences the mental and cognitive skills of an individual (Doyle and Joanne 377). Consequently, the individual’s character is molded and shaped in such a manner that it is morally upright. This in turn translated to the whole society at large, where citizens have characters that are founded on very strong reasoning and cognitive skills that are acquired through getting an education. Furthermore, one is able to apply these skills in real life situations where one is required to weigh options on offer and pick out the options that are ethically and justly acceptable in the eyes of the law and to the general public as well.

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Apart from that, education systems in the United States also play a very significant role in contributing to a morally upright community. Morally upright personalities are developed right from the childhood phase of an individual (Bissoli 587). It is for this reason therefore that education is introduced as early as when the child is five years. The significance of Early Childhood Education has always been underscored with an aim of introducing intellectual abilities to the child in the early years. Owing to the fact that development of morally upright personalities in individuals is usually a gradual process, beginning it as early as during childhood would definitely go a long way in promoting a character and personality that is acceptable to the society (Bissoli 587). Most of the attributes that are later manifested in adulthood are usually obtained during the early years of the individual’s life. At the tender ages of children, the preschool teachers and the parent turn out to be the focal point for the child. The young child will always look up to his or her teachers as well as the parents and he or she will, to a very large extent, take up the different traits that are within their spheres of contact. In light of this, Early Childhood Education forms a very vital stage for each and every individual. As the child ages into adolescence and adulthood, the psychological and personality development is greatly founded on the kind of exposure that the child received while they were young (Bissoli 587). Therefore, it beats total logic to agree that the role played by education in good personality development is extremely important. Thus, the burden falls greatly on the preschool teachers and the parents to expose the child to a morally upright environment in which they can grow up in learning to distinguish what is wrong from that which is right. By doing so, it ensures that the child is deeply rooted into the right and morally upright behaviors and will grow up with the knowledge of what is wrong and what is right.

Moral decay has often been associated with illiteracy and lack of an education. Looking at it from a broader perspective, uneducated societies and communities tend to have dilapidated moral standards (Zdenek and Daniel 514). Illiteracy breeds a wide range of unethical social vices that end up resulting in a community that has very low standards of morality and positive social behaviour. For instance, an individual who did not receive any kind of formal education may not stand the chance of having a good job and decorated career compared to the one who went through school. As a result, the uneducated person will resort to other mechanism of making a livelihood regardless of their legitimacy (Zdenek and Daniel 514). Consequently, social vices such as theft, drug abuse, drug peddling, carjacking, kidnapping and even prostitution, to mention just a few, arise in a community. The moral standards of the entire community are therefore compromised with the youth being the victims of these social vices within a society. Likewise, children growing up in such environments are inducted into the norm of life within the community much to the displeasure of their parents and when all is said and done, these characters actually turn out to be a huge burden to the community as cases such as insecurity are reported. Furthermore, most uneducated people, to some extent, lack the necessary reasoning and cognitive abilities that are acquired through education (Zdenek and Daniel 514). As a result, they are unable to make perfectly weighed decisions on different situations that affect their lives as they lack critical and creative thinking skills. For that reason, they end up making poor life choices that could not be necessarily morally upright. Such choices could include; indulging in prostitution, abuse of drugs and getting into acts of crime. From this reflection, it would be right to say that most social vices and incidences of moral decay in the society are largely attributable to the lack of an education in the society. Therefore, these deliberations emphasize greatly on the important role that is played in the development of a morally upright culture and just how education forms an important framework in ensuring that the society sets a high standard of good behaviors.


In conclusion, it is clearly evident that education plays a very important role in the development of good and upright moral behavior in the society. Right from the very beginning of life, as a child, education has proven to be quite significant in instilling the correct civil and social behaviors that are acceptable in the society. Even as the government tries its best to curb the increasing rate of immoral behaviors in the country, it should seriously consider adopting education as a strategic and long-term solution to the problem. If the perpetrators of social vices and immoral behaviors were to receive any form of education to enable them acquire various skills of life, they would shun their habits. As a result, morality in the society is restored. Therefore, education should be embraced in all societies across, all boarders with an aim of developing morally upright personalities and societies in the long run.

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  1. Bissoli, Michelle de Freitas. “Development of Children’s Personality: The Role of Early Childhood Education.” Psicologia em Estudo 19.4 (2014): 587-597.
  2. Doyle, Elaine, and Joanne O’Flaherty. “The Impact of Education Level and Type on Moral Reasoning.” Irish Educational Studies, vol 32, no. 3, 2013, pp. 377-393. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/03323315.2013.823273.
  3. Greenfield, William D. “Moral Leadership in Schools.” Journal of Educational Administration, vol 42, no. 2, 2004, pp. 174-196. Emerald, doi: 10.1108/09578230410525595.
  4. Tan, Charlene. “Two Views of Education: Promoting Civic and Moral Values in Cambodia Schools.” International Journal of Educational Development, vol 28, no. 5, 2008, pp. 560-570. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.ijedudev.2007.07.004.
  5. Zdenek, Brad, and Daniel Schochor. “Developing Moral Literacy in the Classroom.” Journal of Educational Administration, vol 45, no. 4, 2007, pp. 514-532. Emerald, doi: 10.1108/09578230710762481.
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