In 2005 the Australian Government brought out its National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools. It spent $40 million on implementing a values-based education (VbE) programme across the country. Newcastle University in New South Wales was funded to the tune of £250,000 to research the outcomes. A summary of the research outcomes, prepared by Neil Hawkes can be found by clicking here.
This research shows the growth and impacts that the Australian Values Education Initiative (2005-2009) has had on encouraging quality education. There have been five major impacts:
1. Deliberate and systematic values education enhances values consciousness and values awareness.
2. Students’ well-being was enhanced through the application of values-focused and student-centered pedagogies, which gave time for them to reflect deeply on the nature of values and what these mean to them and others.
3. Agency is the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make choices and act on them. The research evidence shows that VbE strengthened student agency.
4. The research showed how VbE builds positive and wide ranging connections between teachers, students and parents.
5. Key changes occurred in professional practice, as well as personal attitudes, behaviours, relationships and group dynamics.
Professor Terry Lovat has been a great advocate for VbE in Australia and continues too be a giant in the educational values world. He edited the International Research Handbook on Values Education and Well-being published by Springer in the US.
The picture below is from Seaford 6-12 school which is a secondary school near Adelaide. The values (and behaviours) are displayed in the reception area as well as in classrooms and other spaces throughout the school.