Academic journal article European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, The

Promoting Positive Education, Resilience and Student Wellbeing through Values Education

Academic journal article European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, The

Promoting Positive Education, Resilience and Student Wellbeing through Values Education

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Values education is often seen as a multi-faceted process and different approaches have been used over time to initiate young people into society's behavioural norms. Some early researchers define values education as concepts that include moral education and citizenship while Kohlberg et al. (1985, 1989) identified a number of stages of moral development, and believed that children needed to be involved in open and public discussion of day-to-day conflicts and problems in order to develop their moral reasoning ability.

In more recent times an increasing number of concepts, addressed under the umbrella of values education, include: moral development, citizenship education, personal development, social development, cultural development, spiritual development and religious education (Taylor, 2006). Values education has been a focus in many countries globally and Taylor's comparative overview indicates the current variety of approaches taken by 26 different countries in Europe and the United Kingdom in 1993.

2. Values education good practice schools project - national perspective

The Australian perspective on values education began in 2003 when the Australian Government funded a Values Education Study followed by widespread consultation on a draft framework. This framework acknowledged the significant existing background in values education in both government and non-government schools at that time, and also identified the need to develop effective approaches for the twenty-first century.

Nine common values emerged from the school communities engaged in this first stage of consultation: care and compassion; doing your best; fair go; freedom; honesty and trustworthiness; integrity; respect; responsibility and understanding; tolerance and inclusion (Department of Education Science and Training, 2003, p.4). Based on the identification of these nine common values, additional funding was made available for a much more detailed national implementation of values education in government and non-government schools throughout Australia.

Stage 1 - Implementing the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools followed with a report published in 2005. The 166 schools involved across Australia worked within their own contexts and developed a variety of values education projects. Findings from these projects led to recommendations that

identified principles of good practice in values education and informed the work of the increased number of schools participating in the subsequent Stage 2 of the project.

Stage 2 - Involved an additional 143 schools and distilled ten further principles of good practice in values education. New understandings that were not obvious in Stage 1 resulted in the following findings and recommendations as a result of Stage 2 research and evaluation (Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, 2008, pp.9-12).

1. Establish and consistently use a common and shared values language across the school.

2. Use pedagogies that are values-focused and student-centred within the curriculum.

3. Develop values education as an integrated curriculum concept, rather than as a program, an event, or an addition to curriculum.

4. Explicitly teach values so students know what the values mean and how the values are lived.

5. Implicitly model values and explicitly foster the modelling of values.

6. Develop relevant and engaging values approaches connected to local and global contexts, and which offer real opportunity for student agency.

7. Use values education to consciously foster intercultural understanding, social cohesion and social inclusion.

8. Provide teachers with informed, sustained and targeted professional learning and foster their professional collaborations.

9. Encourage teachers to take risks in their approaches to values education.

10. Gather and monitor data for continuous improvement in values education. …

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