Morals in the balance

4th December 1998 at 00:00
WHY MORALITY?. A video resource pack for 14-17 year olds. Team Video Productions. Pounds 35.25 plus Pounds 4.50 postage. Contrary to popular opinion, schools are very moral places, but teaching about moral issues is often poorly done and strikes a false note with many young people.

High quality teaching resources are rare. To be effective they have to achieve a delicate balance - being relevant and accessible while ensuring children's decisions are well informed. This video resource falls well short of such expectations.

The pack contains nine video units of five to 10 minutes on topics ranging from sex before marriage to morality and the press. The accompanying photocopiable activity sheets are either too undemanding for the target audience or pose sophisticated questions without any planning guidance.

The video would be dismissed by most key stage 3 or 4 students for its crude production values alone. Many amateur videos have better camera work. Some of the video units rely entirely on a selection of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and atheist talking heads, who offer snippets of opinion but seldom probe in depth. There is no perspective from the Indian or Chinese traditions.

Occasionally, the complex nature of morality is explored, but generally this video is shallow and makes no attempt to point students to further reading.

Graham handscomb is principal adviser quality assurance and school development, Essex Learning Services

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