Values Education is an approach to teaching that places increased emphasis on values in a school’s curriculum and teaching. It’s an approach that acknowledges that effective schools needs to encourage, support and nurture the holistic development of students, the key focus of the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals.
Lead by Professor Terry Lovat and his colleagues at Newcastle University, the research examining Values Education in Australia reveals important benefits of integrating values in a curriculum. Quite simply, schools became better places to learn, and better places to teach.
Read on for more of the key benefits found from Values Education. Many schools have advanced the original framework and approach on the back of these benefits.
Better Student-Teacher Relationships
Values Education was shown to positively impact relationships between teachers and students. Overall, there was a more trusting relationship, created by a virtuous cycle between teachers and students.
That is to say:
- Teachers were more conscious of providing ‘scaffolding’ to support students to manage their own behaviour. Teachers sought opportunities to acknowledge and reinforce appropriate behaviour, and teachers were perceived to listen to students and respond to their concerns to a greater extent.
- Students were more polite, courteous, empathetic and respectful. Students developed conflict management skills and thought that teachers treated them more fairly.
Better Student Outcomes
Students saw gains in their academic capabilities. Students were more attentive in class and worked together more cooperatively. They took greater pride in their work. They assumed more responsibility for their own learning and took greater care in their schoolwork.
Students also enjoyed benefits to their wellbeing. They gained a greater sense of connectedness and belonging at school. They were more able to self-reflect and self-appraise. Students were also more capable in regulating their own behaviour and the behaviour of their peers.
Better Vibe at School
In addition to the benefits within classrooms, the research revealed that the school environment was also improved. The school community was safer, more caring and more inclusive of diversity.
There was a more harmonious atmosphere: conflict among students decreased and/or was managed more constructively. Students actively sought to include peers without friends to a greater extent. Students were also more responsible with routine tasks and school equipment, and treated school buildings with more respect.
Better Outcomes for Teachers
Values education was a catalyst for teachers to reexamine their role and teaching practice. Teachers gained confidence and knowledge through the opportunities of professional development and staff collaboration. The combination of collaboration and pursuing a shared direction fostered feelings of collegial support, strong leadership and enhanced trust between teachers and families.
Leverage the Power of Values Education in Your School
We’ve designed iyarn to empower teachers and support the holistic development of students through simple, powerful check ins. These check ins are a way to keep your students on track.
Via a simple user-friendly experience, students are prompted to think about a handful of key topics and how they’re currently feeling in relation to those topics. This process provides rich, timely data that is perfect to provoke deeper thought or start a conversation. It’s a powerful way to talk about the things that matter, including values. Over the longer term, it builds a student’s ability to self-reflect and self-regulate.
iyarn has also prioritised flexibility, so that it can be customised to the specific requirements of an individual school, a group of students or even individual students. Whatever matters to you can be addressed in the platform.
Contact us for a discussion and demonstration for your school. You might also be interested in our article on lessons from successfully implementing Values Education.
References and Further Reading
Lovat, T., Toomey, R., Dally, K. & Clement, N. (2009). Project to test and measure the impact of values education on student effects and school ambience. Final Report for the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) by The University of Newcastle. Canberra: DEEWR.
Lovat, T., Clement, N., Dally, K. & Toomey, R. (2011). The impact of values education on school ambience and academic diligence, International Journal of Educational Research, 50, 166-176.
Lovat, T., Dally, K., Clement, N. & Toomey, R. (2011). Values Pedagogy and Teacher Education: Re-conceiving the Foundations, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 36 (7).