Topics: Education, Value, Teacher Pages: 8 (3939 words) Published: February 25, 2015
Teaching Values at School: a Way to Reach a Better Understanding in Our World
Gabriele Harecker
Pädagogische Hochschule Niederösterreich, University of Education (Austria) g.harecker@gmx.at

“Teachers are permanently involved in values education… sometimes … without even realizing that they are teaching values …” (Kohlberg & Turiel in PORTELE, p. 7)
Therefore it is time for us to pay more attention to values education in both teaching and at school. The requirements, tasks, possibilities and problems connected with the topic of values education in teaching and at school must be thought about carefully. Considerations must be made which contribute towards conveying such fundamental understanding and allowing teachers to both justify their own behaviour rationally in the context of school and to critically examine it.

1. Teaching for Value Clarity
The aim of values education is to encourage young people’s awareness of having values and their corresponding relationship to the world in which they live. It is therefore necessary to try and convey the idea of which values people in our society regard as necessary (and through which our society is shaped today). A democratic society demands that an individual should have many skills, among them the skill to deal with conflicting values and to take independent decisions. It demands a critical faculty as well as competence to judge based on your moral principles. Democratic societies must therefore take an interest in that such skills be encouraged.

Educators and teachers as well as parents are not just there to practise behaviour based on values, but are mainly there to help adolescents to understand the rules which society has developed, to be able to apply them independently and also to participate in political discussions regarding any possible changes to these rules. For this reason, we need educators who do not insist on their own interpretation of moral principles, rather educators who help adolescents to develop their own skills in applying morals to their lives. School is of great importance when it comes to moral-cognitive development. Parents and other authorities should play a part in this process. However, it is in school that young people find themselves confronted for the first time with the fact that they are members of both a larger society and also mankind. This means that great efforts regarding the development of these pupils are necessary and that the school, together with the parents, must support these efforts.

School therefore promotes the moral-cognitive development of the individual and in this way, creates the democratic competence of society as a whole. School should give as many children as possible the best general education which will enable them to deal with a complex society and to form their own definite opinions about political, economic, legal and scientific facts. That is an indisputable contribution which school makes towards safeguarding and developing democratic society.

2. Values – a precious gift
Values are among the most precious gifts which a person can have: Persons have experiences: they grow and learn. Out of experiences may come certain general guides to behaviour. These guides tend to give

direction to life and may be called values. Our values show what we tend to do with our life and energy. A value is only produced by a person's own behaviour and has a lot to do with the person's own opinions. Having values affects a person's behaviour. Developing your own values is both an individual and a lifelong process which should be supported in the classroom.

School should take the development of individual values as seriously as the syllabus – you cannot have one without the other.
A teacher can convey the importance of the “values-clarifying-process” to his pupils, for example he can teach them about something which will be very useful to them for a long time to come. He should, however, never attempt to either...
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