For some time there have been calls for educational institutions to teach values. While the calls have been timely few have attempted to define "values 'or to explain why educational institutions should teach them.
Our problem is largely one of language. The word values in terms of moral beliefs and attitudes, has two distinctive meanings; personal preference and objective principles. Preferences and principles are opposites. Preferences are subjective while principles are objective. Values, that are preferences, are something "to have ",but values that are principles, are something "to be ". The confusion over the use of the word values, in the context of moral beliefs and attitudes, is not surprising; given the comparatively short period it has been used in that sense.
Just over one hundred years ago the German philosopher Friedrich Vilhem Nietzsche began to speak of values in a new way. He used values not as a verb, meaning to value or esteem something ;nor as a singular ;nor as a singular noun, meaning the measure of something (the economic value of money, labour or property) ;but in plural meaning the moral beliefs and attitudes of society. Nietzsche used the word consciously and repeatedly to signify what he believed to be the most profound event in human history. His invention of "values "was to be the final revolution against virtues. Values must be the death of morality and truth. There would be no good or evil, no virtue or vice. There would only be 'values 'and to create a new set of "values "for his "new man ". Shortly after Nietzsche 's death, the sociologist Max Weber borrowed the word "values "and used it matter of factly, as of it were part of the accepted vocabulary. Because it seemed so familiar and unthreatening it was absorbed unconsciously and without resistance into the vocabulary and ethos of modern society.
The new meaning of "values brought with it the assumptions that all moral ideas are : Subjective and relative, Mere custom and convention, Peculiar to individuals and society Values became whatever the individual subjectively considers, at the time and in the circumstances, to be right or important. Over the time this understanding replaced the traditional objective values (principles or virtues) transcend time, space and culture. That they are consistent, universal and transcultural and that they inform and direct our behaviour.
These objective values include, but are not limited to eight conservative values which are:
Honesty and truthfulness, Kindness, Consideration and concern for others, Compassion, Obedience, Responsibility, Respect, Duty
The universal values build character, which produces behaviour that is beneficial for the individual, others and the community. They enhance the well being of all, prevent harm to both the individual and society ;are the essence of healthy relationships and are essential for the conduct and preservation of a democratic society.
Democracy, government by the people, is dependent upon citizens who must, atleast in a minimal sense, be responsible and good. People who are committed to the moral foundations of democracy ;respect the right of others, respect the law, are concerned for the common good, and have a regard for truth and justice.
Historically, educational institutions had two major goals ;to help young people to be smart,in terms of literacy and numeracy, and to help them become good. Wise societies, since the time of Plato made character education, demoted over recent decades to values education, a deliberate aim of educational institutions. There was a sound reason why earlier generations rated character training so highly. They understood the connection between objective values (virtues) and good character.
Objective values have two parts; moral knowing, moral feeling and moral behaviour. To possess the objective value of honesty, for example, I must first understand what honesty is and what honesty requires of me in my relationship with others (moral knowing). I must also care about honesty, be emotionally committed to it, have the capacity for appropriate guilt when behave dishonestly, and be capable of moral indignation 'when I see others victims of dishonesty (moral feeling) '. Finally I must practice honesty -acting honestly in my personal relationships and commercial transactions and carrying out my obligations as a citizen to help built an honest and just society (moral behaviour). Educational institutions, in order to help students become good people, must help them develop good character. This involves a process of helping them to know what objective values are, to appreciate their importance and want to process and practice them in their day to day conduct.
Good character, like objective values, comprises three parts ;knowing the good, desiring the good and doing the good -habits of the mind, habits of the heart and habit of conduct and behaviour. All three are essential for good character and maturity. It is not enough to know the good without desiring and attempting to do It. The kind of character the educational institutions want for their young people is : The ability to judge what is right, To care deeply about what is right, To do what they believe to be right -even in the face of pressure from without or temptation from within. Understanding the connection between the three parts of an objective value, moral knowing, moral feeling and moral behaviour, and the three components of good character ;knowing the good, desiring the good and doing the good, is essential when developing a comprehensive values education programme. Good character is the set of objective values that a person possesses and practices. There are compelling reasons why educational institutions would want to implement effective comprehensive values education. It would help to : Become more civil and caring communities, Reduce negative student behaviour, Improve academic performance, Prepare young people to be responsible citizens and productive members of society
When calling on educational institutions to teach values, it is important to teach values, it is important to offer hope of what communities and educational institutions could be and to remind educational institutions that they can have an lmpact and strengthen their effectiveness and skills in the process. Value education, as it is generally used refers to a wide gamut of learning and activities ranging from training in physical health, mental hygiene, etiquette and manners, appropriate social behaviour, civic rights and duties to aesthetic and even religious training.
To some value education is simply a matter of developing appropriate behaviour and habits involving inculcation of certain virtues and habits. In opposition to such a conception, it is pointed out that value education has an essentially cognitive component in it and that this should not be ignored. Actually the ability to make moral judgement based on sound reasoning is a very lmportant value education and has to be deliberately cultivated. Value education, according to one more view, is essential a matter of educating the feelings and emotions. It is the training of the heart and consists in developing the right feelings and emotions. It does not involve any cognitive abilities that can be trained. Like poetry, it is ' caught 'rather than 'taught '.It is essentially a matter of creating a matter of creating the right atmosphere, imitation and learning by example communion with nature or modelling oneself after an ideal. Such a view is countered by saying that more imitation of a 'good ' person and modelling oneself after an ideal does not confer any morality on an individual. Morality is not a thing that simply 'radiate' from one person to another. Moral development includes both thinking morally and behaving morally. Moral thinking is a distinct type of thinking characterised by the exercise of rational choice. A moral person is not only a person who does the 'right' thing but also one who does the 'right 'thing for the ' right ' person.
Objectives of Value Education: Educational objectives refer to explicit formalities of the ways in which students are expected to be changed by the educative process.This is, the ways in which they will change in their thinking, their feelings and their actions. Objective whether of value education or of any other curricular are depend on a variety of factors.,Psychological, Sociological, Epistemological.
Objectives of Value Education in the modern context : Objectives, specially in value education, have a temporal dimension. Traditionally the objectives of value education were based on religion and philosophy. There was no secular value education and very little scope for the development of moral thinking and the capacity for independent moral decision. In the modern world there are varieties of social demands made on the people. A civilised individual must possess certain minimum social skills. He has to establish decent relationship with people whom he may come across for a short while or for a long duration. He may have to transact business in his private or public capacity. He has to function as a citizen of his state, or his country and of the world, all at the same time playing appropriate roles in each of these contexts. There are also many other demands made on him that need not be enumerated. Value education should therefore, it is pointed out, prepare an individual to meet these demands. That these cannot be accomplished in the form of few do 's and dont 's of the traditional form is quite evident.
The working group on value oriented education has identified five dimensions on value education, these being physical education, emotional education, mental development, aesthetic development and the moral and spiritual realm, according to them are : Sincerity, faithfulness, obedience to what one conceives to be the highest, gratitude, honesty, benevolence, generosity, cheerfulness, selflessness, freedom from egoism, equanimity in joy and suffering, in honour and dishonour, success and failure, pursuit of the deepest and the highest of the absolute and ultimate and the progressive expression of this pursuit in thought, feeling and action.
In many countries today the emphasis is on socio -economic reconstruction with the declared intention of a more equitable distribution of the benefits brought about by modernisation. Traditional cultural values have had little time to adjust to certain attributes of modernisation. Planners of value education curriculum then are faced with the problems of identifying values and character traits that will best equip the individual to take to his place in modern society. The objectives of value education should be such that the curriculum should recognise the tensions that are brought about the conflicts between tradition and change. The planned programme should aim at developing a critical value perspective In our pupil that will enable them employ modern skills for the betterment of mankind while helping them renew their commitment to fundamental traditional values.
The Religious Dimensions in Objectives: In countries where strong religious education programmes are supported either by religious bodies or by the government, it is clearly desirable even when educational institutions follow different religious programmes, to have a common value education programme agreeable to all bodies engaged in education. In countries with a secular education system, the government should consider the contribution which religious religions can make in developing an effective value education programme. It is believed that a good value education programme can be developed without relying on religion. This may be necessary in multi religious societies and in those where the population is a mixed one of believers and non believers. At the same time common teachings of all religions can be used to reinforce values and also teach religious tolerance and understanding.
The Spatial Dimension: An important aspect of value education programme in all countries relates to the development of the spirit of the national identity and patriotism in the pupils. This is necessary for the purpose of integrating and strengthening a nation, especially if it has won its freedom recently or if its security is threatened in some form. It should be an important objective of value education to make pupil aware of the fact that the whole world is now a community of inter dependent nations that the survival and well -being of the people of the world depends on mutual cooperation. To be educated in the real sense of the term is to be able to think right, to feel the right kind of emotions and to act in the desirable manner. The objectives of value education should therefore be concerned with all the true phases of personality development as they relate to the right kind of behaviour.
Primary moral traits: To make right moral judgement, To postpone gratification of desires, To treat other human being with dignity, To be flexible in making moral judgement, To be creative and dynamic in moral decisions.
Primary Moral Attitudes: The individual must be educated to possess the following attitudes : Autonomy -freedom of the will, feel free to take a decision Rationality -moral decisions based on reason Altruism -extending help and cooperation to others and self -sacrifice
Responsibilities -prepared to own responsibility for all his actions, accept guilt in all humility.