Education and Values (17)

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Education promotes and replicates values. Even when not promoted deliberately, values are communicated. Yet, neither the explicit nor the implicit promulgation of values is typically designed with thought to the appropriateness of these values for the future. Values are involved in curriculum choices, how the material is presented, and the range of “correct” answers. Focusing on the history of one's own country promotes the value of chauvinism. Placing emphasis on presidents, generals, wars, and victories promotes the values of authoritarianism and militarism. Presenting subject material using a lecture style, reinforces the value of authoritarianism as does evaluating student progress based primarily on the ability to recite facts. To address these issues, an approach to values education has been proposed that uses moral dilemmas for discussion and encourages participation. Educational institutions, teachers, parents, concerned citizens and children themselves must work to uncover and understand the values that are being taught as well as to design the entire educational experience to foster those values that will help make for a sustainable and healthy future.

Text: John Thomas