Values-based education taking off in Australia

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.


Values-based Education: Singapore leading the way?

After my last blog on values-based education, Vincent Ho  sent me this link to a recent speech by the Minister of Education in Singapore (click here).  In my opinion, this is an amazing policy speech.  If you are involved in education, I recommend you read every word.

In the conclusion to this speech the Minister states:

Our student-centric, values-driven education, with a renewed focus on values and character development, and our goals of “every school a good school”, “every student an engaged learner”, “every teacher a caring educator”, and “every parent a supportive partner” have resonated well with students, parents and educators alike. We aim to give every child a broad and deep foundation for a lifelong journey. In other words, a more multi-dimensional education that goes beyond academics.

The underlying philosophy behind the changes we are making is that we recognize that each student is different, and we want to engage each and every one of them in ways that are meaningful and productive; through activities that challenge and stretch them. By enabling students to learn holistically and to find their interests, we hope they blossom as whole persons, finding personal fulfillment and contributing to our society. In the process, we aim to keep paths wide open, and create a virtuous cycle where the successful have empathy, and do their part for others.

Values-based Education: A Growing Trend?

More and more schools around the world are teaching children about values. Kids are developing values-literacy. You can find out more about this trend at the website of Values Based Education.

At last we are preparing future generations to make values-based decisions. From my perspective this is not just something to be applauded, it is something to be celebrated.

Here is a picture of Julie Rees, Head of Ledbury School. An outstanding values-based school. Having pioneered values in schools, Ledbury now wants to be the first Values-based town in the UK.

Here are some of the comments about Ledbury School from the school inspectors:

“Pupils feel safe and secure at school and show very high levels of care and support for each other in all situations. Their very well developed values are reflected in their burgeoning understanding of how to do right by other people, how different people live their lives and the cultures of different parts of the world now and in the past.”

“Pupils’ development, as caring individuals who appreciate the values associated with getting on together, helping your fellows and being proactive about the environment and the world we live in, is outstanding.”

Values-based education is all about identifying a common ethical language based on positive human values. When children learn about values and experience them in the classroom they begin to live the values.

A great reference if you want to bring values-based education to your children’s schools is the book by Dr. Neil Hawkes.