Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Teaching basic values in the primary school curriculum as a foundation for character building

What are values? Value is broad tendencies to prefer certain states of affairs over others. Value also means something (as a principle or quality) intrinsically valuable or desirable" (Merriam Webster Dictionary Online). A value is a construct, a construct is not directly accessible to observation but inferable from verbal statements and other behaviors” (Hofstede, 1998).

Constructs such as values are mental programs; like computer programs, we cannot observe them directly; we can only observe what they do. In the case of people, we can observe their behaviour, their words and deeds, from which we infer the presence of stable mental programs (Hofstede, 1998).

Values are part of the culture, or “the collective programming of the mind which distinguish the members of one group or category of people from another” (Hofstede 1998). A value system refers to how an individual or a group of individuals organise their ethical or idealogical values. A welldefined value system is a moral code. Each individual has certain underlying values that contribute to their value system.

So the first key role of the school is to develop the powers of the mind. But the second key role is equally important – to train the habits of the heart.” (p. 106)

Second, it is equally important to help individual pupils to manage their emotions.” (p. 108)

Cite a survey of teachers in 2008 who reported “disruption in their lessons… answering back… abusive or insulting comments… damage to property… persistent and malicious disruptive behavior, including open defiance, and … pupil threatening violence to another pupil… pushing/touching or other unwanted physical contact… violence by a pupil to another member of staff… violence to teachers from parents.” (pp. 106-7) .

The role of the primary school teacher in Australia, to deliver Values education complete with values, purposes and goals that provide a firm foundation for providing students with a quality education.

How schools enact these is guided by dialogue between the school and its community. They will be seen in the school’s curriculum programs, philosophy, classrooms and relationships. (source: Tasmanian Department of Education).

Values guide decisions about the curriculum. They support students, teachers, parents, carers and the community.

9 values:

(i) care and compassion

(ii) doing your best

(iii) a fair go

(iv) freedom

(v) honesty and trustworthiness

(vi) integrity

(vii) respect

(viii) responsibility

(ix) understanding/tolerance/inclusion

In other words

1. Care for self and others

2. Seek to accomplish something worthy and admirable, try hard, pursue excellence

3. Pursue and protect the common good where all people are treated fairly for a just society

4. Enjoy all the rights and priveleges of Australian citizenship, free from unnecessary interference or control, and stand up for the rights of others

5. Be honest, sincere and seek the truth

6. Act in accordance with principles of moral and ethical conduct, and ensure consistency between words and deeds

7. Treat others with consideration and regard, and respect another person’s point of view

8. Be accountable for one’s own actions, resolve differences in constructive, non-violent and peaceful ways, contribute to society and civic life and take care of the environment

9. Be aware of others and their cultures, accept diversity within a democratic society, being included and including others

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