On January 21st this year, I wrote in the newsletter about the notion of respect, its sources and its importance in teaching and learning.
Our vision of respect is certainly closely linked with the idea of learning moral values which is today’s theme for my newsletter article. It seems that one of the greatest challenges in the current, often chaotic world is the duality between ethical relativism and a need for providing moral guidance to the society and to the people. It is the duality between embracing and celebrating diversity and providing young people with a moral compass that is not subject to relative interpretations based on upbringing or culture.
Many years ago, while living in Canada, I was impressed by the cultural diversity of the society where the right to celebrate your own heritage was a part of country’s constitution. When exploring cultural identities in class I kept hearing students proudly saying: I am Italian, I am Spanish, I am Ukrainian, and so on. TBS Warsaw is a similar place with 68 different nationalities represented across the school, all proud of their cultural and moral heritage yet all being a part of our community that celebrates being respectful, caring and open-minded.
When living in Canada or the UK, I also recognized that the celebration of our cultural diversity does not always go hand in hand with the existing social and moral norms and standards. Yet such moral standards are necessary for us to co-exist peacefully as a society within the governing law. The same applies to TBSW where having students adopt social and moral norms is a part of our regular teaching and learning process. Our mission is to guide our students towards recognizing cultural diversity and celebrating inclusion. At the same time, we also aim to empower our students with an ability to think critically and to shape their character so they can recognize what is right and wrong. In addition to all the subject knowledge acquired during their time at TBSW, we want our students to gain a special knowledge about themselves which will help them in their future personal and professional challenges.
Dr Jacek Łatkowski