Academic journal article Education

Views on Values Education: From Teacher Candidates to Experienced Teachers

Academic journal article Education

Views on Values Education: From Teacher Candidates to Experienced Teachers

Article excerpt

"Values bring independence and freedom, and increase people's capacity for self-sufficiency. As we develop values within us, we share them with the world and thus move towards a better world" (UN & Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, 1995, p.v).

Most people today complain about the disappearance of the understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection for the welfare of all people and for nature and mention the importance of acquiring and using this value in their lives. Education comes into play at this point (Schwartz, 2009; Demirhan Iscan, 2007).

Values education and quality instruction should go hand in hand for effective learning and teaching. Values education is at the center of the educational process and curricula; no educational system excludes values from the process of learning. Otherwise, the potential effects of the system on student happiness and academic learning would weaken (Lovat & Clement, 2008).

Lickona (1991) mentions that values education strives to strengthen the transfer of values via the curricula and moral climate set at schools. Lickona (1991) also recommends teachers to act as models, establish moral communities, exercise moral discipline, teach values through their curricula, and teach conflict resolution in the process of values education.

Values education is an open initiative in education for the development and actualization of values. The question here is whether virtues and proper behavior should be taught or whether students should decide what is right or wrong. Some educators criticize the traditional approach of character education by taking it as brain-washing or mind control.

They emphasize the importance of clarifying values, moral judgment and consensus. This enables students to form their values from among several options and play a central role in decision-making (Superka, Ahrens, Hedstrom, Ford & Johnson, 1976; Lickona, 1993; Dale, 1994). There is no universal answer to the question "Which values should be given to students?" the answer depends on the society. Thus many educators suggest that local communities be involved in the efforts to identify and define the virtues to be included in educational goals, ft has been reported that there is a need to obtain student, teacher, family, and school-parent association views and achieve consensus as the personality traits to be developed by schools are decided (Brynildssen, 2002; Vess & Halbur, 2003).

Teachers wish to develop values in children by mentioning them in pedagogical content and interpreting the curriculum. They attempt to affect the process with content, and particularly with the interaction they have with students. As students develop their own values and construct their own meaning, teachers try to influence this process of making-meaning. In constructivism and critical pedagogy, teachers do not directly transfer values to children because it is the students' job to construct their own meaning and develop their own values. On the other hand, teachers may encourage or influence them to develop certain values (Veugelers, 2000).

Outside the school, children also get influenced by their families and the society, and if there is a conflict between the life around children and their school learning, it becomes more difficult to teach or internalize these values. It is also hard for schools to implement innovative curricula that go against social norms. Thus, the effectiveness of curricula and approaches rely on considering these social norms and meeting with the community. All constituents in the society can thus have ownership of curricula (Sinclair, 2004).

An examination of the main goal of the education system and those of elementary education in Turkey and the official elementary curricula that have been in use since the 2005-2006 school year shows that the affective domain is included in these, at least on paper.

In Turkey, the main goal of the education system is "to raise productive and creative information age individuals who are dedicated to the principles and revolutions of Ataturk, have advanced thinking, perception and problem solution skills, believe in democratic values, are open to new ideas, have a sense of personal responsibility, internalized national culture, can interpret different cultures and contribute to modern civilization, have an ease with science and technology and are highly skilled" (ME, 2007). …

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