Tuesday, 26 Oct 2004

MEDIA RELEASE For release Tuesday 26 October 2004 Understanding values education Teachers and students need to think more about the frameworks underpinning their values education, according to an education expert who will speak at the ACER Research Conference, Supporting Student Wellbeing. Emeritus Professor Brian Hill of Murdoch University delivered a keynote address at the conference in Adelaide this morning. Referring to the values education packages adopted in schools, Professor Hill says busy teachers understandably welcome ready-made products, and many have been drawn to packages developed outside our school systems, and even outside Australia. ìBut what makes values hang together are larger world-views. No package is neutral. Many people using such materials are unaware of their ideological origins.î Professor Hill suggests opportunities could be built into the school curriculum for students to examine: • the logics and functions of pre-suppositional frameworks; • the assumption underlying the frameworks governing each of their school subjects; and • the religious (and ëanti-religiousí) frameworks that have been most influential. The study of the logics and functions of frameworks call for a specific focus on philosophical issues and competencies, which do not have a natural home in the ëKey Learning Areasí. ìAustralian state schools have been encouraged to factor the religious variable out of the curriculum, thereby leaving values education in freefall. If a balanced education is our goal, this is counterproductive,î Professor Hill said. In addition to moral values, there are also other value domains: cognitive-intellectual, technical- vocational, political, economic, socio-cultural, physical-recreational, aesthetic, interpersonal- relational and religious-spiritual. According to Professor Hill, educational values should be added to the list of value domains. This may relate to the subject matter taught, the methods used, or the kind of classroom climate created. Educational values are the priorities at the core of the schoolís mission. ìOne of the obligations of the school is to clarify what these are for the benefit of all stakeholders, including teachers, parents and students,î Professor Hill said. ****************ENDS*************