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Schools, especially Church ones, have been very good at discovering their shared values. Often Christians will suggest that the difference for them is how you drill down and uncover their theological background. christianvalues4schools.org.uk is a great example and very helpful. The challenge is that shared values may be very evident on displays, a focus in collective worship and a significant part of the ethos but what difference do they make?
Enter any shopping centre and the whole experience is based on a variety of values and a particular view of the world. But no-one tells you about them, there are no displays listing them. It is the experience that counts. The enticing spaces (shops) and places to eat etc. draw the visitor in and scream out those consumerist values that are part of modern life. The experience is what matters.
Stand in a classroom and imagine what the child or teenager will feel. Think about the experience, the framework around the lesson, that they will be arriving for. What will your manner, your approach to the lesson and the content taught will they be encouraged to engage with? Will all three add up to support the values of the school, or even your own values? Or, will those values be undermined?
Suppose generosity is an agreed and encouraged value. In lessons and the behaviour reward system has a different focus on earning, getting, having. It won’t be difficult to turn that around to giving or supporting and therefore a generous spirit.
Behaviour management can often undermine school values too. A teacher’s power spot in the classroom may also be identified with pastoral actions, even prayer (in a Church school). Just as a KS1 child will identify some good experiences with ‘sitting on the carpet’ whereas for a teenager the place where detention is held is unhelpfully linked with the interest you want to show for their genuine concerns.
All this and more is explored on whatiflearning.co.uk.
Designed especially for Christians who are teachers, it aims to enable them to think differently about how, as well as what, they teach. It’s not an onerous challenge but an opportunity to develop a mindset that thinks Christianly, specifically through the Christian values of Love, Hope and Love.
GO Ministries training for teaching staff is available. Go to: INSET and Twilight Training
Training materials from the most recent course can be downloaded by clicking here:
Download the Church of England Character Education documents:
Video from one school:
Download the Report – click image Download the Case Studies – click image