What Values Are
Values are principles that drive behaviour. They influence our actions and attitudes, and become our framework for living. They influence our relationship with ourselves and others.
The wide range of positive human values encouraged in schools include patience, respect, fairness, tolerance, respect, compassion and collaboration.
Like riding a bike, values are learned through a combination of practice and instruction. Students learn what values are, how to recognise them, and how people react to them, equipping them with invaluable social skills and emotional intelligence.
What Values Are Not
Values education is not additional curriculum. It is not something teachers have to bolt on to an already full agenda. It is an approach that makes teaching the very full agenda easier.
It is not a quick fix solution. Many people perceive values to be liberal and soft. In reality, they are exactly the opposite. They provide a clear awareness of acceptable behaviour, against which staff and students choices of behaviour are evaluated. Values help reduce the options for inappropriate behaviour.
It is not something expected only of students. Effective teaching of values is measured not by students' ability to define values, by its impact on their behaviour. For teaching of values to be effective, positive values need to be modelled by staff. A values-driven environment applies equally to staff and students alike.