Traditional education places great emphasis on how learners acquire and process knowledge and skills. Values-based Education puts an equal emphasis on personal and social development. It creates a positive values leaning environment for learners and staff, creating an experience that helps everyone develop personal and interpersonal capacities in a number of ways:
- Values Consciousness
Helps teachers think more deeply about their teaching and are aware about the values that they model both in and outside of the classroom. Learners report how values consciousness impacts on their behaviour and actions, which become more altruistic.
- Mental Wellness
In thinking about and enacting values, learners develop self-worth, empathy and responsible personal behaviour. Evidence shows that Values Education has a very positive effect on students who are ‘at risk’, marginalised or disadvantaged. There is compelling evidence that wellbeing impacts are experienced by teachers, parents and families, and in classroom and across whole schools.
Agency is the capacity of individuals to be self-led, to act independently, to make choices and act on them. The evidence shows that Values Education strengthens student agency when it involves various forms of giving, outreach and working in the community. For instance, through values action projects that allowed learners to enact their values in a way that is personal, real and deeply engaging.
Values-based Education builds positive and wide-ranging connections between teachers, learners and parents. It supports learner engagement in learning, improves parent engagement in their children’s learning and allows teachers to develop new relationships with their learners, each other and the parents and families in their school community. This is done through shared goals and practices in Values Education, which leads to the development of mutual feelings of respect, trust and safety; and varied opportunities for collaboration. The research findings show that the values lead to improved behaviour in the classroom, school and home.
Change and transformation are at the heart of Values Education and is the result of teachers and learners being urged to engage in continuous reflection on the actions they implemented in their schools. Key changes are seen in professional practice as well as personal attitudes, behaviours, relationships and group dynamics. Transformations are experienced and observed by teachers, learners and parents alike. The data points to profound transformations in learning. Learners develop deeper understanding of complex issues and how these pertain to their own lives. Learners and parents experience personal change and report changes seen in others.
As a result of the above, many schools report improvements in both individual achievement and academic attainment. Learners report a deeper engagement in and connection to their learning and demonstrate an understanding of the responsibilities this entails for themselves and others.