Views on values education: from teacher candidates to experienced teachers.
Most people today complain about the disappearance of the understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection for the welfare of all people and for nature and mention the importance of acquiring and using this value in their lives. Education comes into play at this point (Schwartz, 2009; Demirhan Iscan, 2007).
Values education and quality instruction should go hand in hand for effective learning and teaching. Values education is at the center of the educational process and curricula; no educational system excludes values from the process of learning. Otherwise, the potential effects of the system on student happiness and academic learning would weaken (Lovat & Clement, 2008).
Lickona (1991) mentions that values education strives to strengthen the transfer of values via the curricula and moral climate set at schools. Lickona (1991) also recommends teachers to act as models, establish moral communities, exercise moral discipline, teach values through their curricula, and teach conflict resolution in the process of values education.
Values education is an open initiative in education for the development and actualization of values. The question here is whether virtues and proper behavior should be taught or whether students should decide what is right or wrong. Some educators criticize the traditional approach of character education by taking it as brain-washing or mind control.
They emphasize the importance of clarifying values, moral judgment and consensus. This enables students to form their values from among several options and play a central role in decision-making (Superka, Ahrens, Hedstrom, Ford & Johnson, 1976; Lickona, 1993; Dale, 1994). There is no universal answer to the question "Which values should be given to students?" the answer depends on the society. Thus many educators suggest that local communities be involved in the efforts to identify and define the virtues to be included in educational goals, ft has been reported that there is a need to obtain student, teacher, family, and school-parent association views and achieve consensus as the personality traits to be developed by schools are decided (Brynildssen, 2002; Vess & Halbur, 2003).
Teachers wish to develop values in children by mentioning them in pedagogical content and interpreting the curriculum. They attempt to affect the process with content, and particularly with the interaction they have with students. As students develop their own values and construct their own meaning, teachers try to influence this process of making-meaning. In constructivism and critical pedagogy, teachers do not directly transfer values to children because it is the students' job to construct their own meaning and develop their own values. On the other hand, teachers may encourage or influence them to develop certain values (Veugelers, 2000).
Outside the school, children also get influenced by their families and the society, and if there is a conflict between the life around children and their school learning, it becomes more difficult to teach or internalize these values. It is also hard for schools to implement innovative curricula that go against social norms. Thus, the effectiveness of curricula and approaches rely on considering these social norms and meeting with the community. All constituents in the society can thus have ownership of curricula (Sinclair, 2004).
An examination of the main goal of the education system and those of elementary education in Turkey and the official elementary curricula that have been in use since the 2005-2006 school year shows that the affective domain is included in these, at least on paper.
In Turkey, the main goal of the education system is "to raise productive and creative information age individuals who are dedicated to the principles and revolutions of Ataturk, have advanced thinking, perception and problem solution skills, believe in democratic values, are open to new ideas, have a sense of personal responsibility, internalized national culture, can interpret different cultures and contribute to modern civilization, have an ease with science and technology and are highly skilled" (ME, 2007). In addition, all children in elementary education are intended to adopt the national cultural and democratic values, know the principles of Ataturk, follow scientific thinking, have mental and physical health and balance, protect the nature and the environment, believe that they can be successfid anywhere in the world, and have confidence in themselves (ME, 2007).
As can be seen, the goals of elementary education include statements about the affective development of individuals and some values are particularly emphasized. In the curricula that came into effect as of the 2005-2006 school year too, the values in each course are emphasized, at least in course outlines. The affective domain is openly promoted, and the purpose is to teach students the knowledge, attitudes and skills that will enable them to live in harmony with their society (Education Reform Initiative, 2005). Also, elementary curricula are based on the affective premises that each student is unique, they must make an effort for their personal happiness, and become psychologically sound and reliable individuals. In addition to these, students' psychological, moral, social and cultural development, being sensitive to social problems, developing a sense of respect to human rights, and making an effort for character development training are also emphasized (ME, 2005).
This study aims to identify the views of experienced class teachers and class teacher candidates (4th year students from an elementary teaching BA (bachelor) program) regarding values education. The study seeks answers to the following questions:
* What are the values that class teachers and teacher candidates want their students to gain?
* What are the views of class teachers and teacher candidates regarding the responsibility that they, families, close environment and the society have in instilling and developing values in students?
* What are the methods that class teachers and teacher candidates (plan to) follow in order to instill and develop the values mentioned in elementary curricula?
* What recommendations do class teachers and teacher candidates have to make the practices planned in elementary curricula for values education (activities, assessment, etc.) more effective?
The study used the qualitative data collection method of interviewing. The study group was formed with maximum variability sampling. In the study group, existing similarities and differences were intended to be shown. Also, the sources of variability of the study problem were identified, and the regions of variability to be reflected in the sample were decided. For the study group, different socioeconomic and academic achievement levels were identified as regions of variability. The study group consisted of 3 experienced class teachers from each of the 3 public schools located in different socioeconomic neighborhoods (upper middle, middle and lower) in Ankara, a total of 9 teachers. Also included in the study group were 3 teacher candidates from each of the 3 academic achievement levels (high, medium and poor academic achievement), a total of 9 teacher candidates (bachelor of class teacher for primary education). The views of the study group on values and values education were identified.
The Study Group
A total of 9 class teachers participated in the study (three teachers from each of the following socioeconomic levels: upper middle, middle and lower). All teachers were female and had between 20 and 33 years of work experience. There were teachers from all grade levels (from 1th grade to 5th grade) working in the first stage of elementary education.
The characteristics of the teacher candidates who also participated in the study were as follows:
Three teacher candidates from each of the following achievement levels were included in the study: upper, middle, lower. All teacher candidates were 4th year students at an elementary education BA program. Those whose GPA (grade point average) was 3.30/4 or higher were classified as high academic achievers; those with a GPA between 2.50-3.30/4 were classified as middle academic achievers; and those with a GPA between 2.00-2.50/4 classified as low academic achievers. Among the teacher candidates, there were 6 females and 3 males.
Experienced class teachers and teacher candidates were admitted to the study so that the views of two extreme groups within the profession could be identified and compared.
Data were collected via standardized open-ended interviews. The form prepared for the interviews was submitted for expert review, and pilot interviews were held with two class teacher and two teacher candidate prior to the real interviews. The form was finalized following these pilot trials.
The interviews were audio recorded with the participants' consent, the aims of the study were revealed, and participants were given anonymity. The data were then analyzed by the researcher and checked for accuracy by the participants. The data were thus finalized and analyzed.
The data were analyzed with descriptive analysis. To begin with, themes were identified so that the data could be organized and presented under them. The themes of the study were as follows: preferred values, duties and responsibilities, paths for teachers to follow, recommendations.
Then, the data were read and organized according to the themes, and quotations were selected to be used in the write-up of findings.
In the next stage, organized data were defined and supported with quotations. Finally, associations were made between the findings and a comparison made between the findings of the two groups.
Findings about the views of experienced class teachers and teacher candidates on values and values education were firstly compared within the groups (upper-middle, middle and lower socioeconomic level; high, middle, lower academic achievement level), and then across the groups.
The findings are presented under the specified themes: preferred values, duties and responsibilities, paths for the teacher to follow, recommendations.
Preferred Values for Students to Gain
To begin with, the values that class teachers preferred to instill in their students were identified. In relation to this theme, findings obtained from experienced class teachers were offered under three subheadings: The views of public school teachers mostly from regions inhabited by upper-middle socioeconomic level families, middle socioeconomic level and lower socioeconomic level families.
The views of public school teachers mostly from regions inhabited by upper-middle socioeconomic level families. Teachers working in regions where upper-middle socioeconomic level families live mentioned honesty in unison as the value that they prefer to teach their students.
...honesty, not lying, sharing are the values I try to emphasize."(TH1) "All of the following values should be taught in a certain order: honesty, responsibility, helpfulness, tolerance.
A dishonest individual would not care about or adopt other values(TH2). Extracurricular activities should be used to teach students honesty, helpfulness and responsibility. In addition to these, values such as respecting older people, love for others, and love for animals should also be taught(TH3).
Of the teachers in this group, 3 stated that they prefer tolerance, 2 stated helpfulness and responsibility, and 2 stated respect and love. Different from others, one teacher mentioned sharing and another one patriotism.
The views of public school teachers mostly from regions inhabited by middle socioeconomic level families. When asked which values s/he would prefer to teach students, one such teacher also listed certain traits that are not values, namely being able to express oneself and developing behaviors. Other than this teacher, those who worked at these schools mentioned responsibility, tolerance and paying attention to the environment as their preferred values.
My preferences already exist in the program, such as being able to express oneself and developing behaviors ... I think it's a good idea to include values such as behavior and responsibility in our courses ... (TM1).
I'd like them to have more tolerance for each other(TM2).
The views of public school teachers mostly from regions inhabited by lower socioeconomic level families. Two of these teachers stressed the value of complying with the rules. Another teacher from this group mentioned self confidence- being able to choose one's own goals, honesty, respect for the family and the elderly, another mentioned following Atatiirk's ideals and working hard; and yet another unity and respect.
... For me, honesty is crucial. If children do right or wrong, they can express this and you understand how much of that is a lie and how much of it is the truth ... (TL1) ... my students are in the 2nd grade. They've somewhat learned class rules, but some tend to break them(TL2).... I try to teach them that we should respect others, regardless whether we like them or not (TL3).
In all three schools, the preferred value seems to be honesty. Also, public school teachers from the upper-middle and middle socioeconomic regions mentioned tolerance and responsibility in unison; while those teaching in upper-middle and lower socioeconomic regions mentioned respect.
Findings from teacher candidates regarding this theme were also considered under three subheadings: Values preferred by teacher candidates with high academic achievement, moderate academic achievement and low academic achievement.
Values preferred by teacher candidates with high academic achievement All teacher candidates with high academic achievement stated that they would prefer to teach their students the values of helpfulness and respect upon graduation.
... I would value cooperation and group work because tolerance, respect, helping, solidarity can be observed more in such work (STHl). I think helpfulness is lagging behind. I've heard about the recent campaigns, of course. Also, respect is another value to be taught. Children can be encouraged to respect their peers, teacher, family in a general sense. I also think that students find it hard to understand individual differences (STH2).
In addition, 2 teacher candidates mentioned tolerance, while another one mentioned helpfulness and sharing.
Values preferred by teacher candidates with moderate academic achievement Teacher candidates with moderate academic achievement mentioned the values of honesty, cooperation and helpfulness.
For me, honesty is particularly important when it comes to children's interaction with their peers and family members (STM4). When I become a teacher, I plan to value cooperation and helpfulness so that children can socialize (STM6).
Values preferred by teacher candidates with low academic achievement In this group, the teacher candidates mentioned the following values: honesty, responsibility, self-confidence- selection of own goals, cooperation, sharing and respect.
They need group sense, sharing, common values, shared achievement, the excitement of all these. Respect is also important; they need to understand that regardless what the other person has done, there are other options than fighting(STL7). For me the most important one is honesty, regardless a student does the right or the wrong thing, confessing it honestly is important(STL9).
One teacher candidate also mentioned learning to learn as a value to be taught to children.
... about the values students need to learn, I think in this educational environment students first need to learn how to leam(STL8).
Teacher candidates with middle academic achievement commonly referred to the values of honesty and cooperation, while those with high and moderate academic achievement mentioned helpfulness, and those with high and low academic achievement mentioned respect.
Comparing the common views of teachers from all three regions and of teacher candidates with different academic achievement levels, it was found that both groups valued honesty and respect. Different from teacher candidates, experienced class teachers mentioned following Ataturk's ideals, unity, love, compliance with the rules and working hard. While teacher candidates never expressed these values, neither did they refer to any that was not mentioned by the class teachers.
In a study conducted in four countries to identify the value preferences of 480 BA students and 236 teachers, both groups were found to prefer pro-social, achievement, power over others, security and self-direction (Mahmud, Warchal, Masuchi, Ahmed & Schoelmerich, 2009). Mahmud et al.'s study (2009) suggests that value preferences among university students and teachers are more similar than different. In the present study, experienced teachers emphasised working hard, which may be parallel to the value of achievement mentioned by Mahmud et al. However, other values preferred both by experienced teachers and candidate teachers differed.
Dilmac, Bozgeyikli & Cikili (2008) set off to identify the value preferences of candidate teachers, and showed girls to attach more importance to the values of hedonism, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, tradition and security than boys, whereas boys attached more importance to the values of power, achievement, stimulation and conformity than girls. The value preferences mentioned in this study (honesty, helpfulness, respect) are in accord with benevolence and conformity mentioned by DilmaC, Bozgeyikli & Cikili (2008).
Duties and Responsibilities
To start with, the views of class teachers on their own duties and responsibilities in teaching values to their students and in promoting these values were identified. Findings obtained from experienced class teachers in this theme are once again presented in three subheadings: upper-middle socioeconomic level, middle socioeconomic level and lower socioeconomic level.
The views of public school teachers mostly from regions inhabited by upper-middle socioeconomic level families.
Two of these teachers stated that families should be contacted in relation to the issue and their cooperation should be established, while two others stated that it is not only the teacher's duty but also the duty of those around the children to set an example for them. One other teacher stated that the teacher needs to discuss values with students, give examples, and let them practice.
I talk to them about behaviors. We offer them instruction, but education is actually more important. This cannot be achieved without the help of the family because, after all, they will move on to the second stage of elementary education in 2 or 3 years' time and I won't see them again...I tell my students about the good TV programs that I see. I ask them not to watch TV series because even those series made for children are not good for them (TH1) ... The family and other educational sources around children are also responsible for teaching values to them. For instance, the media should be willing to do something (TH3).
The views of public school teachers mostly from regions inhabited by middle socioeconomic level families. All teachers in middle socioeconomic regions mentioned the role of the family in teaching the specified values to children.
The family is critical, their relations with their children, how they treat them and how they develop values are all important (TMl). The real duty is that of the family. Of course, I try to set an example too (TM2).
... However, parents are also not aware, they do not know how to communicate with their children.... they need to force their children sometimes, but they don't do so (TM3).
Only one teacher mentioned his own duties and responsibilities, and the importance of setting an example for the student. Three class teachers reported their dissatisfaction with the attitudes of families, while two said that they were happy with the attitudes and support of some families for their children.
The views of public school teachers mostly from regions inhabited by lower socioeconomic level families. Two teachers in this group stated that both teachers and families have their role in values education. One openly said that the teacher has a distinct responsibility in values education, and the family needs to be educated by the teacher as well.
... Actually both the teacher and families are important, their communication is vital. I think the teacher is responsible for educating families as well." (TL1) "I can only fight up to a certain point, then I stop ... In parent-teacher meetings I talk to parents very openly (TL2).
Despite mentioning the importance of teachers, another participant said that families need to be educated and set a good example for children, while yet another emphasized the negative sides of families. One teacher stated that TV has both positive and negative effects in teaching values while another one stressed that TV series should not include violence.
... there are some school series on TV. They need to be banned. They teach children about school gangs, being divided into groups ... But the family also has a responsibility. They need to set an example for their children (TL3).
Class teachers particularly stressed the family when talking about the duties and responsibilities of themselves, parents, those around the children, and the media in relation to values education. They suggested that the most important responsibility falls on the family. Secondly, they mentioned their own duties and responsibilities.
The opinions of 4th year students about their own future duties and responsibilities in teaching values to students were also identified. Findings from this group were also considered in three subheadings: high academic achievement, moderate academic achievement and low academic achievement.
Values preferred by teacher candidates with high academic achievement. Two of the teacher candidates with high academic achievement claimed that the most prominent duty of the teacher in values education is to become a model for students.
Firstly we teachers need to display behaviors in line with values. We need to set an example for social learning (STH1).
All three teacher candidates focused on teacher guidance for families, and effective and informative parent-teacher meetings.
... I think parent-teacher meetings need to be more functional. I could tell parents about my plans for the course in the future, ask for their help, and guide them about what to do and tell their children at home(STH2).
One candidate also mentioned parent-teacher cooperation and assigning work that students can do with their parents, and another one mentioned guiding families towards work that will amend their children's specific lacks. About the effects of TV on values education, two teacher candidates stated that the teacher needs to inform students in what to watch, and one of these two candidates also mentioned that parents need to limit their children's TV viewing. The other teacher candidate mentioned his observation that students cannot be limited in viewing TV and that they particularly like violent cartoons.
Values preferred by teacher candidates with moderate academic achievement. Two teacher candidates in this group mentioned the importance of teacher modeling for students. All candidates talked about communication and cooperation between the teacher and parents, and suggested that this be achieved by contacting families.
... however much I talk to students about values-related behaviors, they won't acquire them if I don't act accordingly ... as I just mentioned in relation to the teacher, the family also needs to set a model for children (STM4).... I could hold meetings with parents or see them privately. I would ask them to also consult their children when they make decisions in the family. If parents don't watch these programs, neither do the children. The biggest duty is that of the family (STM6).
Moreover, one candidate mentioned the importance of awareness-raising for families, another one the importance of family-teacher consistency, and yet another one the importance of families giving their children the right to voice their opinions. One other teacher stated that both teachers and parents should prevent children from watching unsuitable TV shows, while another teacher candidate said that children take their parents as models when it comes to TV viewing, and yet another argued that TV programs did not have a negative effect on children's value development.
Values preferred by teacher candidates with low academic achievement One teacher candidate with low academic achievement focused on the importance of teacher modeling for children's values development. Another said that before teaching values, teachers should teach children "how to learn". Two candidates stated that teachers should meet with parents about the family dimension of values education, and mentioned the concepts of family support and involvement. One of these two candidates also stated that, depending on the problems that exist in families, NGOs can be asked to offer their help.
... perhaps we can get children to do things, but it's much harder to get parents to do things. It is necessary to first understand how family members act. They can be met to do this. Going to people's houses to interfere doesn't sound right to me, if there's something extreme going on, the help of NGOs may be sought (STL7).
Another teacher candidate argued that values education studies necessitate consistency from teachers--families--the environment.
Families can be made more aware through meetings. Children take those around them as models. If there's no consistency between the teacher, family and environment, the child will definitely choose whatever appeals to him ... seminars may be organized for families (STL9).
Two teacher candidates also mentioned that there are TV programs that may affect children positively and that families can limit or guide children's TV viewing habits. Another candidate stated that the media were responsible for teaching children values, and thus mentioned the role of the media as well as that of teachers and families.
The views of teacher candidates with high, moderate and low academic achievement about the roles and responsibilities of teachers in values education seem to converge in teacher modeling. Teacher candidates from all three groups emphasized the need for cooperation and communication between teachers and parents. Meeting families and involving them in the process were among their recommendations. Teacher candidates with medium and low academic achievement also stressed the importance of consistency between teachers and parents in the process of values education. All teacher candidates stated that some TV programs affected children's value development negatively. Particularly teacher candidates with upper and moderate academic achievement stated that both teachers and parents should limit and guide children's TV viewing habits. On the other hand, teacher candidates with lower academic achievement mentioned the role of families when discussing the issue of limiting children's TV viewing.
Considering the views of class teachers and teacher candidates on the duties and responsibilities of teachers, families, close environment and the media regarding values education, both groups thought that families have an important role in values education, cooperation is needed between families and teachers, and mostly focused on the dimension of family. Also, teacher candidates seemed to have consensus that teachers need to be models in values development. Class teachers only mentioned teacher duties and responsibilities as secondary to those of the family. With regard to the roles and responsibilities of the media, only class teachers working at lower socioeconomic regions mentioned the positive and negative effects of TV on children and argued against letting children watch violent TV series. All teacher candidates talked about the negative effects of certain shows on TV on value development. Particularly teacher candidates with high and moderate academic achievement stated that both families and teachers should limit and guide children's TV viewing habits. Those with low academic achievement mostly mentioned families when referring to limiting children's TV viewing.
Naturally, many factors other than the school play a role in values development. It is known that children start to learn values early on in life. Many people believe that values are developed in and around the family (Halstead and Taylor 2000; Popenoe 1998; Raths, Harmin and Simon 1966). As the participants of this study emphasised in unison, values development process initially starts in the family and there is evidence suggesting that children develop a moral view within the first two years of their lives (Halstead and Taylor 2000). Parents may not be the only source for children as they develop values, but they are a major source with substantial contributions (Grusec, Goodnow & Kuczynski, 2000). Knafo and Schwartz (2003) stated that if parents are overly lenient/neglectful or withdraw their love, their children may fail to follow their values, while parents who give consistent messages regarding values and act as models allow their children to perceive them accurately.
Paths for Teachers to Follow in Values Education
Class teachers' views about the paths they followed to teach and develop values in the elementary curriculum, and what they were doing to achieve this aim inside and outside the classroom were obtained. Findings obtained from experienced class teachers in this theme are also presented in three subheadings: upper-middle socioeconomic level, middle socioeconomic level and lower socioeconomic level.
The views of public school teachers mostly from regions inhabited by upper-middle socioeconomic level families. Even though one class teacher in this group stated that suggestions did not work in values education and that modeling for students is not effective, he also said elsewhere that students need an example related to values. The same teacher also said that he used games to teach values; students need to learn by doing, feeling and seeing; he asked students to keep journals; he asked students to criticize each other; and he would like students to improve themselves in other areas than solely the academic area.
I set an example, but also ask them to think of alternatives. I ask them what they would do or think. Preaching is not effective, you must make students experience, feel, see the value. I strive to make students derive lessons, I don't tell them what to think. They criticize each other's inference. This improves their self-esteem and expression as well ... But I involve them in this work. My students do everything, if I ask them to do something they organize right away, they're not independent, they can do anything. I make them keep journals in class and they write their experiences, feelings, joys, sorrows (TH1).
Another teacher in this group advocated practical work inside and outside the classroom, and yet another stated that drama could be used to make students watch exemplary out-of-class behavior.
Behaviors should be internalized in the classroom with the help of drama. Outside the classroom, model behaviors should be displayed and students should be asked to spot the wrong behaviors(TH4).
The views of public school teachers mostly from regions inhabited by middle socioeconomic level families. Two such class teachers said that they preferred giving examples from their own lives and asked students to do the same when teaching values. They argued that giving students recommendations does not work. One teacher said that in addition to giving examples from her own life, she also tries to set an example with her behaviors, and she does not find drama work effective in values education.
First I try to display model behaviors myself or give examples from my own life. I try to choose examples that will interest my students. Sometimes I tell them made-up anecdotes as if I've actually lived them, and sometimes I tell them real stories. Telling them things directly is not effective ... Drama is good for the students who are engaged in it but it is just play for the audience, not a lifelike experience. But it's great when I give my own examples or ask students to give theirs (TM2).
Another one stated that she gives recommendations to teach values.
I tell my students to pursue their studies so they can be powerful. Education brings wealth as well. I want them to be sensitive about some things at least(TM3).
The views of public school teachers mostly from regions inhabited by lower socioeconomic level families. All of these teachers preferred to use suggestions in values education. Two class teachers also said that they warned parents in family meetings.
For example, I give the example of Ataturk; how he achieved victory with his comrades; how he was supported by those around him; how they helped each other. These examples show them the importance of cooperating with friends. Sometimes I warn mothers.
For example, sometimes children have a conflict and mothers intervene, they come to me complaining. I tell them not to interfere. I tell them they are still children but they can resolve then-conflicts on their own without adult intervention (TL2).
In addition to these methods, one teacher stated that students should work on this topic; learning by living and doing should be used; mutual trust is important; punishment is not appropriate; and students should write their feelings and thoughts on the topics.
... for instance, in arts class we worked on income differences in the country. I wanted to turn this into a brochure. Kids, this shouldn't happen in this way, if we have the power we should help the situation by starting from the people around us. Trust is very important, it is essential that I trust my students and vice versa, then people wouldn't hold things from each other. I sometimes ask my students to write down things that make them happy or unhappy, even if it is related to me. Then I share these with their families in secret, and they do something about it. Sometimes parents improve the way they treat their children. You need to be dedicated and tolerant; there is no gain without pain. I think this is how we educators should think. For example, when a child makes a mistake, it would be better to encourage the child to have more discipline rather than punish him (TLl).
Another class teacher stated that she tried to set an example for students with her words and behaviors.
With regard to methods possible in values education, class teachers stated that they preferred to give examples from their own lives as well as students' lives. They also added, though not covertly, that they gave students advice about the values studied. Other than these, the teachers emphasized learning by doing and drama studies.
The views of teacher candidates were obtained about the methods and classroom work they intended to use when teaching the values mentioned in the elementary curriculum. Findings from teacher candidates on this theme were again given under three headings: high academic achievement, moderate academic achievement and low academic achievement.
Values preferred by teacher candidates with high academic achievement All teacher candidates with high academic achievement stated that they did not find giving advice useful. Two candidates particularly emphasized that advice should be accompanied by explaining or revealing its reasons.
In addition, one teacher candidate stressed that drama could be used in values education and that values education requires consistency between the teacher's and other school staff's words and behaviors.
I think drama should be used first, followed by role playing and case studies. These help students explore and discover. In the drama process, the teacher distributes role cards and orchestrates the event. Later, in the evaluation stage, he or she guides the students a little more about what conclusions can be drawn, what was revealed by the improvisation, what was obtained, how can these be generalized ... if we offer advice and its reasons, this may work. But children should see it all for themselves (STH2). Imagine that there is a display board in a classroom. When a student does not obey a rule, that student's work is removed from it. And those that obey rules the most are rewarded. I think this is a good thing. It helps students internalize good behavior, it makes them think that if they obey the rules they can also get a reward. But schools should follow the rules too. I think telling the rules to students doesn't work at all, they need to hear the reasons for these rules as well (STH1).
Another teacher candidate stated that role plays and case studies might be used in addition to drama, while another mentioned project work and evaluation.
For instance, let's take the example in the book. A project on cooperation and help may be undertaken with students. Evaluation studies may also be done. And learning becomes permanent when students experience things ... They can find the right and wrong themselves. If the right example is given at the right time and with the right words by the teacher, there is no need to emphasize what is right once again(STH3).
One teacher candidate stressed the importance of teachers setting models, and two others argued that students should reach conclusions about values on their own, and the teacher should only act as a guide.
Values preferred by teacher candidates with moderate academic achievement All teacher candidates with a moderate level of academic achievement stated that they did not find advice effective, students ought to find the right and wrong themselves, and question-answer may be a useful technique in values education.
I think positive models work, of course talking to someone may also work but it shouldn't involve preaching, instead examples from daily life may be given. But these should also be fortified with practice, daily life examples, or examples from the teacher's life. The teacher must ensure that students find the right and wrong themselves. A discussion should be held and the focus in the question-answer, evaluation and conclusion stages should be on the positive and negative aspects, how the negatives can be transformed into positive, what sort of effect these may have on students and how positives can be reached (STM4).
Two of the teacher candidates stressed the importance of the teacher setting an example when talking about values. Two other teacher candidates particularly stated that giving examples involving the student's life may be effective in values education. One teacher candidate in this group stated that the evaluation stage may involve a discussion of the positive and negative aspects of the situation and interviews may be held with students and families.
Instead of asking the student questions about the text in the book, questions about daily life may be asked. I prepared such an activity. For instance, students may be asked if they ever fell while playing or walking, if their friends helped, and how they would feel in this situation. Alternatively, students can work on their own and help an institution in need. Or an assignment may be given to students, and volunteers may be asked to help ... the teacher should exemplify the value that he or she is trying to teach and make the student acquire it covertly. During the evaluation activity, we asked the students to write a memory. If they chose to write a negative memory, they drew conclusions such as "I just realized my mistake, I'm sorry I did that, I shouldn't have behaved in that way". Some students even apologized to each other (STM5).
One other candidate stated that acting out may be used while another claimed that lecturing is not effective and the show and do technique can be used.
Values preferred by teacher candidates with low academic achievement All teacher candidates with low academic achievement stated that they did not find advice useful, and two stated that students should find what is right and what is wrong by themselves. Two other teacher candidates stressed the importance of teachers setting an example for students. One candidate in this group stated that cooperative learning can be used in values education, as well as acting out and discussions.
... This may need more group work, cooperative learning. It is hard to achieve individually because these situations require the observation of others' behaviors. Group work involves an exploration of student behaviors. The teacher thus needs to do practical work. He, and other teachers, need to set an example with their own behavior. For instance, when students are given a story, it can be acted out for both situations to show both proper and improper behaviors. Both acting out sessions should involve teacher questions, such as what would happen if this was not done, or how would you feel if things were completely different. The teacher should strive to reveal not his or her own feelings, but those of the students. This can be done with questions (STL7).
Another one suggested the use of role playing, educational trips and expert invitations.
There are many methods, for instance role playing ... Or taking students to the theatre, organizing educational trips, inviting a psychologist to class for an interview (STL8).
Yet another teacher candidate stated that the consequence of various behaviors and situations may be shown to students, and situations to involve students may be created.
Students with high, moderate and low academic achievement commonly stated that they did not find advice effective in values education, students should be made to reach conclusions about the topics treated, and teachers should set an example for students. Drama studies particularly came to the fore with respect to methods and techniques.
In relation to the methods that teachers should follow in values education, class teachers preferred giving advice and making verbal explanations, while teacher candidates argued that offering advice is not useful. Teacher candidates stressed that, if the students are to be given advice, the reasons and results should also be explained. On the other hand, class teachers and teacher candidates agreed that teachers should set an example regarding values and that drama studies should be used.
The paths followed in values education may vary with respect to the understanding adopted. The proponents of Character Education (Lickona, Wynne and Ryan, Molnar) tend to direct instruction and the use of stories; the proponents of moral reasoning (Kohlberg) use discussion and the establishment of just communities; and the proponents of caring (Gilligan, Noddings) may use circle time, extra-curricular activities and the narrative approach (Halstead & Taylor, 2000).
Frydaki (2009) states that teachers do infuse their values in classrooms through a variety of ways, even if they avoid involving themselves actively in the process of values communication by expressing their own values or bringing into question some values to be taught. Although teachers avoid indoctrination, in line with the opinions voiced by the experienced teachers in this study, they seem not to adequately take into consideration the need for students to develop their own values and their personal identity with increasing autonomy based on a continuing dialogue with their own experiences as well as the existing societal values. However, some teachers do involve their students in the process of value communication. As mentioned by the candidate teachers in the study, they allow them to express their own experiences, emotional needs and commitments through an open, supportive and reflective interaction. In this case, the process of value communication seems to become essential and meaningful.
In fact, parents, schools and teachers that deeply influence children need to take the responsibility of modelling. Regarding this, Lickona (1991) recommends the following to teachers: Act as caregiver, model, and mentor; create a moral community; practice moral discipline; create a democratic classroom; teach values through the curriculum; use cooperative learning; develop "conscience of craft"; encourage moral reflection; teach conflict resolution; foster caring beyond the classroom; ceate a positive moral culture in the school; and create partnership with parents. Veugelers (1996), on the other hand, dwells on critical thinking skills because prespecified values may be fostered in students when teachers introduce them to critical thinking.
Recommendations have been made so that students would acquire the values mentioned in values education, and the planned practicum (activities, evaluation, etc.) is more effective. Findings obtained from experienced class teachers in this theme are presented in three subheadings: upper-middle socioeconomic level, middle socioeconomic level and lower socioeconomic level.
The views of public school teachers mostly from regions inhabited by upper-middle socioeconomic level families. Two public school teachers from regions with upper-middle socioeconomic level families stated that students who behave in line with values should be rewarded and pointed out to other students, while two others argued that the school needs to cooperate with families and other relevant parties.
Good student behaviors should be rewarded and exemplary students should be introduced to others. For continuity of student behaviors, they should be monitored in and outside the classroom and cooperation should be established with the family for this purpose. Social activities related to values should be used (TH4).
One of the class teachers in this group stated that text books should not be the only resource when teaching values, and that teachers need to prepare for the activities. Another teacher stressed that values objectives need to be concrete and everyone around the children needs to be consistent.
... Concrete objectives should be established so that these activities are effective. The school, family and other social environments should be involved. Everyone needs to have a similar approach, a similar reaction (TH3).
Another teacher stated that example personalities can be used to teach values, and another added that students need to be monitored in and outside the classroom, and values activities should be used.
The views of public school teachers mostly from regions inhabited by middle socioeconomic level families. One public school teacher from regions populated mostly by middle socioeconomic level families stated that textbooks may include visuals related to values and classroom hardware may be improved.
This work is not separated from real life, there are real life examples. When we give our own examples, we reinforce learning. Visuals need more importance because we use presentations ... if we had the necessary equipment in our classrooms, students would be able to make their own presentations. They are effective. Students never forget what they see or do(TM 1),
while another teacher said that families have an important role in values education and they should direct their children to extracurricular activities.
I think the family has more responsibility in this matter. I make them only one suggestion, and it is that children should socialize with different people in environments such as sports classes.
Books have adequate content and good examples. What I say relates particularly to the Turkish course (TM2).
The views of public school teachers mostly from regions inhabited by lower socioeconomic level families. One public school teacher from regions populated mostly by lower socioeconomic level families stated students need to feel special and topics need to be parallel and appropriate to the level
... we need to make children feel worthy, unique and special ... the topics are not parallel, which is essential ... if there's a topic in the course book in line with the children's level, I would accept it (TL1),
and another teacher claimed that he was not able to get feedback from students at the end of activities and families need to be more aware of values education.
Families need to be educated first, they need to become aware ... education is needed at home and at school. The profession calls for a love of children, forgetting all when you enter the classroom, loving the profession and valuing education (TL2).
Another teacher emphasized that activities can vary with respect to grade level.
Each teacher should be able to vary the activities according to the level of her classes, I can't use an activity just because it's in the book. Teacher education is important (TL3).
Class teachers stated their recommendations about curricula and course books individually in different ways. However, they stressed the need for cooperation with the family and awareness of families, rather than curricula or textbooks.
Fourth year students from the elementary teaching department were also asked for their recommendations on how to teach values to students and make class implementations (activities, evaluation, etc.) more effective. Findings from teacher candidates about this theme can be divided into three subheadings: high academic achievement, moderate academic achievement and low academic achievement.
Values preferred by teacher candidates with high academic achievement All teacher candidates with high academic achievement stated that textbooks should stress practical work in activities. Another teacher candidate in this group recommended that teachers be given flexibility when implementing activities and that the number of topics be reduced:
Teachers can be given flexibility. They should be able to use other resources than textbooks. There are good workbooks, projects and self-assessment work. The topics are too many for the time given, they can be limited. Then there would be room for projects and campaigns (STH1),
while another argued that classes should also involve the affective domain and textbooks should include higher-level thinking activities.
For instance, if Life Studies course can be built solely on attitudes and values, and cognitive outcomes can be given less priority, a separate values course would not be needed and the objective of the course to raise effective citizens can be materialized. For children, rules mean limitation of freedom but they can be told a story about a person who never follows rules or a country, a classroom with no rules. The story can be used for assessment and to build class rules. Books can be modular and practical; students can use them in the absence of the teacher. Activities should nurture children and trigger higher level thinking (STFI3).
Values preferred by teacher candidates with moderate academic achievement Two teacher candidates with moderate academic achievement recommended the use of instructions in course books to guide students' values-related behaviors or real-life work. Another teacher candidate stated that handbooks should include instructions for teachers, students should be respected, and teachers should be fully-equipped. Yet another teacher candidate stressed the importance of giving options to teachers, giving them information on methods and techniques via handbooks, and in-service training.
Teachers can use the activities in the books in any way they like, they can expand them, assign homework, turn them into games ... teachers may be provided with more information on what they can do or what methods and techniques they can use.
I think teachers' handbooks should include more activities, present teachers with more options, and all of these activities should be based on learning-by-doing. I don't think the texts in Turkish course books are appropriate-teachers may need in-service training too. Books don't involve different methods and techniques and they always proceed in the same way: reading, question and answer (STM5).
Values preferred by teacher candidates with low academic achievement All teacher candidates with low academic achievement agreed that course books need to involve practical values-related activities.
... books should only include very brief information about the topic, then the student should be encouraged for practice. For instance, the activity about solidarity mentions a garage sale. After giving information about this, students may organize a garage sale themselves. The activity can also precede knowledge, and students can reach information via the activity (STL9).
One teacher candidate stated that handbooks should include various activities and, parallel to this, books need to be changed regularly. Another stated that the people that children come into contact with need to be aware of values and the media should support this.
... families have great responsibility, as do the media and other segments of society. If students are to learn certain values, families should also learn these. For instance, TV can objectively teach children good and bad, right and wrong ... Knowledge is easy to learn but if there is no honesty, solidarity, or good-will, for instance if the student doesn't care to offer his seat to an elderly lady on the bus, then values education has no meaning (STL8).
Another teacher candidate argued that school facilities should be more standard.
... For these activities to be undertaken, school facilities should be diversified, and these should be standard across schools throughout the country (STL9).
Teacher candidates with high, moderate and low academic achievement recommended in unison that course books should involve practical values work and be less dependent on knowledge.
While experienced class teachers mostly focused on cooperation with families and enhancing their awareness levels, teacher candidates mostly mentioned the need for practical values education work in course books.
These findings suggested several results. When the common views of teachers working at different socioeconomic regions and those of teacher candidates with different academic achievement levels were compared considering the research questions, it was concluded that teacher candidates mentioned what they thought necessary after their practice teaching and pre-service education, while class teachers naturally based their responses on their work experience. However, the responses of class teachers were mostly directed towards external elements and not themselves.
The findings obtained from class teachers and teacher candidates about the values they preferred to teach students showed that honesty and respect were the popular values in both groups. Different from teacher candidates, experienced class teachers also mentioned following Ataturk's ideals, unity, love, obeying rules and working hard. While the preferred values of teachers working in middle and lower socioeconomic regions varied, those of teacher candidates with different achievement levels were similar.
The views of class teachers and teacher candidates on the values education duties and responsibilities of teachers, families, immediate people surrounding students and the media showed that they both believed that families are responsible for values education, and that cooperation should exist between families and teachers. In addition, teacher candidates agreed that the teacher should set a model for students regarding values. Class teachers put teacher duties and responsibilities in a secondary position after the family.
Regarding values development with the help of the family, positive interaction between parents and children may motivate the latter to adopt their parents' values because they find it easy to share their parents' values and explore what is around them through these. Not knowing parents' values or feeling hostile towards them lowers children's motivation to adopt their values (Knafo & Schwartz, 2003).
With respect to the duties and responsibilities of the media, only class teachers working in lower socioeconomic regions stated that TV has both positive and negative effects on children and that violent programs should be avoided. All teacher candidates mentioned the negative effects of certain TV programs on children's value development.
Teacher candidates with moderate and low academic achievement stressed the importance of teachers and families being consistent in values education. Particularly teacher candidates with upper and moderate academic achievement argued that TV viewing time may be limited by both families and teachers. Teacher candidates with low academic achievement, on the other hand, believed that families should limit TV viewing.
In relation to the methods that teachers should follow when teaching values, class teachers reported a preference for advice and verbal explanations, while teacher candidates argued that giving advice was not useful. Teacher candidates stressed that if advice is going to be dispensed to students, its reasons and results should be given as well. On the other hand, both class teachers and teacher candidates agreed that teachers should firstly set an example for students regarding values, and that drama is useful for values education. Kirschenbaum (2000) argues that when positive values are imposed on students and modeling is also used, there will be a better chance of success after evaluating their effects. If something is taught or discussed directly, students can remember a certain part of it; if what is taught is shown, students can retain more; if they are allowed to construct their own meaning, permanence of learning will be ensured and a deeper level change will be observed in student behaviors.
Among the recommendations of experienced class teachers regarding the curriculum and course books, the most prominent one was cooperation with families and raising their awareness. Teacher candidates, on the other hand, emphasized the necessity of including practical values education work in course books.
Future studies, about this issue, may also include class observation as another dimension. Based on the results, practical training opportunities about what values are and how values education should be done may be offered to class teachers in in-service training programs and to teacher candidates in their pre-service programs.
Canay Demirhan Iscan
Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey
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Table 1 Participant Characteristics: Teacher Candidates Teacher Academic achievement candidates level SH1 4/3.50 SH2 4/3.40 SH3 4/3.30 SM4 4/3.06 SM5 4/3.00 SM6 4/2.86 SL7 4/2.40 SL8 4/2.36 SL9 4/2.21
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|Author:||Iscan, Canay Demirhan|
|Date:||Dec 22, 2015|
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