Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Values Education as Perceived by Social Studies Teachers in Objective and Practice Dimensions

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Values Education as Perceived by Social Studies Teachers in Objective and Practice Dimensions

Article excerpt

Education is a concept about which all individuals in the society have something to say. Because education aims to achieve certain objectives on both an individual and a social basis, its process and outcome dimensions directly influence both the individual and society. Because of this mutual impact, inquiries about what qualities are desired in an individual and how these qualities should be taught incorporate both individual and social expectations. Thus, dimensions of education such as changing behaviors, raising individuals who can adapt to the society, cultivating individuals with qualities beneficial for the society, and achieving personal development through conscious activities (Demirel & Kaya, 2007) are emphasized and elaborated. Based on this elaboration, education may be defined as providing individuals with knowledge, attitudes, values, and behaviors that will positively impact their lives. Since qualities positively impacting individuals' lives are unlikely to form on their own, implicit and explicit programs are employed to cultivate these qualities in individuals (Ek§i, 2003, 2004). The content of these programs are shaped by specific conditions of the specific area or country where the program is to be implemented as well as by the social and material resources currently available (Demirel, 2007). In this context, values education became a higher priority in explicit teaching programs toward the end of the 20th century with the impact of specific qualities of the era (Akbaç, 2004; Katilmiç, 2010). Parallel to this development, values education began to be discussed intensively in academic and popular publications. It has been noted in these publications that values that promote correct behaviors are not sufficiently respected by youth; thus, problems stemming from undesired behaviors have increased both quantitatively and qualitatively (Lickona, 1991; Ryan & Bohlin, 1999; Topçu & Kaya, 2014). The negative effect of change and segmentation in the traditional family structure on children's moral development, the popularity of negative modes presented to youth by the media, and the inability to provide youth with basic humanitarian values such as respect, responsibility, solidarity, and justice have been suggested as reasons for this situation (Lickona, 1993). Following this reasoning, it has been recommended that values education be given higher priority in schools along with raising individuals with high levels of both academic achievement and basic humanitarian values (Ekçi, 2003; Katilmiç, 2010). Values education has been deemed important for cultivating citizens able to find ethical solutions to current problems (Kale, 2007). However, some have been critical of values education and have been skeptical of applications of values education. Some critics have interpreted values education as a strategy of the ruling class to maintain the conservative social order by suppressing social change, imposing the dominant culture on all of society, and reinforcing the perpetuation of their rule (Kiroglu, 2009). Hence, the initiatives implemented within the scope of values education are not universally understood and supported in the same way. When we consider both supportive and critical approaches toward values education together, the most notable objectives in values education initiatives are those that directly affect the course of values education activities. This is because if values education is taught within narrow ideological templates, it may result in cultivating individuals inclined to perpetuate current problems originating in religion and culture, rather than raising a generation able to contribute to ethical solutions to such problems. In other words, if the objective of teaching humanitarian values such as justice, respect, responsibility, honesty, tolerance, and peace is adopted, values education may cultivate individuals able to address many problems. Thus, the concept of reciprocity or the principle of "Do as you would be done by," which has existed for thousands of years, may be sustained in social life, and an environment that contributes to cultivating individuals acting freely and justly based on respect and responsibility can be developed. …

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