Values education and its place in the modern-day classroom

Values education and its place in the modern-day classroom

In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a certain understanding - or acceptance - that teachers’ roles were to teach students the curriculum, and not much else.

In his 2005 keynote address at the National Values Education Forum, Professor Terence Lovat from the University of Newcastle suggested: “This was the classic ‘you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’ kind of belief.” In other words, educational professionals at the time felt that the personality and success of a student was already determined, and there was little a teacher could do to effect this.

Enter the concept of values education: it promotes students’ comprehension of values, developing certain skills and characteristics so they can uphold particular values as individuals and members of the community.

From this advancement of values education within the sector, the Department of Education, Science and Training worked to develop a National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools to appease growing discussion around how young people develop values and how they make sense of them. It states that values education is an essential part of effective schooling.

The first step towards embracing values education and integrating it into your classroom is to understand the core values as set by the National Framework. The nine values that have been identified are:

  • Care and Compassion
  • Doing Your Best
  • Fair Go
  • Freedom
  • Honesty and Trustworthiness
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Understanding, Tolerance and Inclusion.

In a general sense, values education is about encouraging students to be good people, to realise their role in society and to encourage meaningful relationships with their peers. It has been demonstrated that students taught with a strong values education cause fewer disruptions and are more receptive to learning; not only is values education morally important, it can help the wider goal of why students are at school in the first place.

A teacher must be a role model for students, encompassing all the above values and characteristics. It goes without saying that students of all ages and abilities should be treated with care, compassion and respect. Encourage students to share their views and what traits they think make a good, pleasant person. Being a focused and fair teacher will make you more approachable, creating an honest community which is essential for instilling strong values inside and outside of the classroom.  

It is also important that the wider school community recognises and embraces these values, and explores their own. Parents, support and administrative staff should be involved when implementing values education across the school.

Our online Master of Education can help you further understand the research and theory behind effective teaching practices, and set you up to be a leader in education. To learn more, get in touch with our Enrolment team on 1300 917 916.