Values Education: Final Report

The report is 231 pages long (Curriculum Corporation documents are like that!) so here’s the key recommendations from the report: Implementing the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools.

1. It is essential to reach agreement within the school community about the values that guide the school and the language in which they are described.

Reaching agreement within the school community about the values that guide the school, and the language in which they are described, is a precursor to successfully embedding these values in the policies and practices of the school.

2. Values education is sustained over time only through a whole school approach that engages all sectors of the school community.

The definition of what is meant by a whole school approach needs to be explored and understood by the school community. Involving more people in the enterprise takes more time but ensures deeper commitment, stronger consistency and durable continuity beyond personnel changes.

3. School leadership is critical in developing values education as a core part of schooling.

Strengthening values education in schools often involves significant school change and reform. In this regard committed and inspiring leadership that models and articulates the values of the school as an everyday occurrence and provides the vision, energy and focus over time can make the difference. At a minimum, to be effective, values education initiatives require substantive support from school leaders.

4. Values must be explicitly articulated and explicitly taught.

Values are intrinsic to all that a school does. The Good Practice Schools Project experiences support the conclusion that effective values education involves the explicit articulation and explicit teaching of the values. This means values education is integrated with the ‘mainstream’ curriculum rather than being seen as an ‘add on’ or something separate to teach. It means the values spoken are the values modelled. It means creating opportunities for students to practise the values. And it means seizing the opportunities to reinforce the values in those ‘teachable moments’ offered in the unplanned incidents in everyday school life.

5. It is critical to student learning that there is consistency and congruence between the values espoused and the values modelled.

Values education is as much about how students are taught as what they are taught; hence the quality of teaching is essential. In this respect consistency and congruence between the values espoused and the values modelled and enacted in the teaching and learning exchange have a critical impact on student learning, understanding and adoption of the values. A number of cases from Stage 1 of the Good Practice Schools Project specifically illustrate the power of engaging students directly in the values education implementation process.

6. Professional learning of all teachers is critical at all stages of the development of values education.

Professional learning is critical at all stages of the values education process, and some of the best professional learning comes from the sharing that schools and clusters are able to promote. The Stage 1 projects reinforce the conclusion that teachers require and respond positively to explicit professional learning in values education. Some of the best professional learning comes from the sharing that teachers, schools and clusters are able to promote. If there is one consistent message from all 26 projects that are the subject of this report, it is the value of teachers sharing experiences, perceptions, issues and ideas about values education and the fact that such sharing is a powerful agent in promoting change in professional practice.

7. Developing positive relationships in classrooms and schools is central to values education.

At the very heart of building values-based schools is the development of positive relationships between students, teachers and parents – in classrooms and schools, and between schools and their school communities. This was central to much of Good Practice Schools Project Stage 1 work.

8. Success is achieved when values education is integral to all aspects of school life.

The greatest success is achieved when connections are made between values education and other initiatives and priorities of systems, sectors and schools. This helps to ensure that values education is integral to and not seen simply as ‘additional’ to other priorities and work.

9. Schools working in clusters can foster effective professional development and quality teaching and learning as well as provide support for values education initiatives.

10. Supportive critical friends and mentors contribute markedly to professional development and the values education work of schools.

Supportive critical friends and mentors can contribute markedly to professional development and the values education work of clusters and schools provided schools and clusters are clear about their needs and are open to critical feedback and advice.

Read the full report HERE

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