Clarifying Values in teaching

Clarifying Values

Clarifying values is a reflective and sharing process in which the teacher raises values-related issues with
students, or where values-related issues arise out of activities or situations in the classroom or the
school.   Questions are presented to assist students to become aware of their personal value positions
regarding these issues and to explore the validity of these positions within a non-threatening
environment. The process of values clarifying can assist students to i) understand their own and others’
values ii) work through what may be confused values iii) change or maintain their values in the light of
new experience or iv) enhance communication and personal relationships.

1. Choose an issue from ongoing units or everyday activities in which any combination of individuals
or groups are involved in decisions which must take into account important values.
2. Design activities to assist students to understand the decisions or actions taken by the major
participants, the reasons why these were taken and the values revealed. Provide opportunities for
students to make their own decisions based on the same situation.
3. One or more of the following devices could be used to assist the clarification process: questions,
discussion cards, rankings, scales, continuums, written or spoken texts.
4. Encourage sharing values in a supportive and accepting environment. Establish ground rules for
the activity, eg i) be positive ii) respect others’ feelings. Be prepared to reinforce appropriate values
when the opportunity arises and to provide students with a framework for the development of
personal values. Care should be taken to ensure that the values which students bring to school are
not seen to be under attack.
5. Ensure that moral issues, such as values relating to social justice, compassion and integrity, are
included in values clarification activities.

1. Introduce an incident or issue from real life, literature or in media texts which are relevant. Provide
opportunities for discussion of and reflection on the values which are exposed. Allow students to
make decisions about the validity of these values.
2. Discuss possible reasons for the actions or decisions which occurred as a result of the issues.
3. Assist students to identify those values which appeared to have generated the action or decisions.
4. Allow opportunities to discuss and consider what might have been the students’ decisions or actions
in similar circumstances.
5. Assist students to identify the values which they regard as important in generating the actions or
decisions that they might have taken.
6.  Encourage students to listen sympathetically and reflectively to others as well as to reflect upon
their own values.


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