Monday, March 11, 2013

Should We Teach Values?

I found a recent article in Education Week to be more than a little provocative, but provocative in a good way. It made me think a lot about teaching, values and ethics. I teach ethics to both Master's and Doctoral students and am fascinated by how each of us develops our own unique ethical code.

Too often schools choose not to talk about morals, beliefs and values because it smacks of trying to teach students our own values. Children grow up in families but they spend significant time in schools. These experiences in school help to shape their own development, and with it, their own identity.

I'm not a proponent of prescribing a set of values. But I do recognize that through our actions we model certain values and beliefs. The way we organize our classrooms, the way we build relationships, the way we respond it times of crisis all reveal our beliefs and values. Schools are not void of values. They're just not discussed.

The article suggests three things educators can do to embrace the role of developing ethical and civic identities in students.
  • First, leverage the Common Core State Standards. Use their implementation as a time to work with your community to talk about how to become engaged in their schools and support the study of global issues.
  • Second, evaluate your school climate to see if it provides an environment where students feel safe, and are supported and valued.
  • Finally, when designing culminating projects base them in both academic and community-service based activities. They can help nurture values like civic responsibility.
I'm really interested in how others respond to this article and to the idea of explicitly helping students develop values and beliefs in our students.

No comments:

Post a Comment