CAIN: Issues - Education. Values in Education in Northern Ireland by Alan Smith and Alison Montgomery, 1997 (Appendix 2)

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Values in Education in Northern Ireland,
by Alan Smith and Alison Montgomery

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Text: Alan Smith and Alison Montgomery ... Page Compiled: Fionnuala McKenna
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Appendix 2

CIDREE Guidelines on Values

Recommendations For The Humanistic And International Dimension Of Education (CIDREE, pp.39-44)

Schools should support the development of the humanistic and international dimension of education by promoting in all pupils:

  • independence of mind
  • consideration for others
  • a sense of fairness, together with a respect for justice and the rights of others
  • respect for ways of life, opinions and ideas different from one's own, provided they are based on consideration for others
  • a sense of decency
  • a commitment to the promotion of democratic processes
  • a concern for the well-being of themselves, other individuals and society

These objectives present challenges and opportunities for schools in a number of ways;

  • at the level of school policies
  • classroom climate
  • in the learning and teaching process
  • in the pastoral care system
  • in the physical environment of the school
  • in the planned curriculum

Practical Suggestions for the Implementation of the Guidelines

School Policies

These should:

  • recognise the importance of the values dimension in all aspects of the curriculum
  • be collaboratively planned with all staff
  • develop staff understanding
  • be monitored for effectiveness
  • be reviewed regularly

Comment: This means fostering a management style that points up the importance of collaboration, positive and supportive relationships, consensus building and consistent monitoring and evaluation procedures.

Classroom Climate

Every classroom should reflect:

  • respect for each individual
  • respect for self
  • respect for a variety of cultures
  • a sense of belonging to the community of the classroom
  • caring, consideration, empathy
  • co-operative working skills
  • learner autonomy
  • appreciation of learning
  • rights, responsibilities and rules
  • a continuing evaluation and development of the classroom climate
  • trust, a sense of valuing the individual
  • the joy of learning
Comment: This means planning and developing a climate where both the learning/teaching process and the hidden curriculum of interpersonal relationships:
- promote effective learning for all
- stimulate individual progress
- respond to individual aspirations
- encourage openness and negotiation
- allow pupils to take responsibility for their own learning

The Teaching/Learning Process

The Teaching/Learning Process should be:

  • active
  • participative
  • investigative
  • varied
  • co-operative
  • supportive
  • learner-centred
  • differentiated

It should encourage:

  • independent learning
  • personal autonomy
  • critical thinking
  • self-esteem
  • investigation
  • imagination
  • creativity
  • the construction of knowledge in terms of information, concepts, skills, attitudes and values
Comment: This means devising strategies and approaches that encourage and validate the contribution of all learners. It also means providing educational experiences that develop and extend the learner's interests and enthusiasm along with the capacity for critical reflection.

Pastoral Care

The Pastoral Care system should:

  • value each learner
  • build supportive relationships
  • promote the school as a secure educational base
  • encourage discussion and negotiation
  • promote partnerships between school, parents and the wider community

Comment: This means promoting trust, caring and a sense of belonging by devising procedures that; allow each learner to develop a supportive relationship with an identified member of staff; develop channels of communication with parents and others in the community; create mechanisms for conflict resolution and for addressing individual anxieties and thus provide a means of promoting the well-being of all pupils.

Physical Environment

This should:

  • promote a sense of well-being
  • stimulate
  • be welcoming, comfortable, colourful, attractive and ever changing
Comment: This means taking every opportunity to promote a welcoming and reassuring atmosphere in the school and its classrooms. This can be achieved through:

- welcoming signs and notices
- displays and exhibitions of work
- recognition of cultural and ethnic diversity
- warm and responsive interpersonal communications
- attention to the impact of the physical environment
- care for the fabric and condition of the buildings.

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