As a teacher in the grade school for eight years, I have experienced that teaching is a very self-fulfilling function in terms of services to students and the community. In particular, classroom teaching enables students to acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Attitude acquisition is directly related to values education, an important aspect of personality development.
Values Education is a process of formation and transformation within the individual. Values education does not consist of a list of values to be taught. It is rather a process which enables the individual to choose intelligently and freely among alternatives to value and do what is worthy, good and important; to discern what is right and appropriate; to distinguish essentials and accidentals, and to act accordingly in a consistent pattern. Valuing is a cognitive, affective behavioural faculty which calls for different approaches and methodology, other than content or skill subject.
The social environment of students: the home, the school, the church, and the community are where the social interactions are done. For students, a greater part of their time is spent in school where they interact with their teachers, schoolmates and other school personnel. Experiences in schools are the forces which develop their values. Inside the classroom, we guide the students to practice democratic behaviour, respect, cooperation, tolerance, obedience, and other traits. We reinforce these traits through recognition and appreciation. In the grade school, we give simple tokens by giving them cut-out butterflies.
In teaching values education, especially in the grade school, stories are used as a springboard of values clarification and integration. Through critical thinking questions, the pupils are guided to put themselves in the situations of the characters and ask them to decide on actions to do if they were in the same situations. Then we ask further the reason for deciding the actions. Another simple question is asking the pupils the characters they like best in the story and their reason for their choice. Asking simple questions like these would trigger a critical analysis of situations and responses of characters. The formulation of judging what is right, good, and appropriate or effective to do is the process of making a choice of value.
It is not only teaching values as a subject, but dedicated teachers are looked upon as models of emulation. Done in a natural process, students emulate teachers’ traits which exude in their course of teaching. The developments of students’ values make them assets of society. This becomes the intangible reward and self-fulfilment of teachers.
By Joanne B. Bagano