ERG SES G 10, Primary and Post-primary Education
International research argues that values education concerns the development of socio-emotional skills, the integration of personality, responsible active citizenship, character enhancement, and the wellbeing of all. This learning heightens academic achievement, and student agency due to the creation of a positive cognitive-emotional experience in the classroom. A pedagogical practice in human values engages the students mind, heart, and actions thereby creating a positive reciprocal relationship between student and teacher wellbeing.
The purpose of this study was to examine values education in post-primary schools in Ireland. The data sets forth teachers’ perspectives about the values they believe should be fostered by the education system. A second research question focused on the role of the teacher in the context of nurturing values. This study also examined 165 education systems, the purpose of which was to capture the values prioritised by education systems in various parts of the world and to locate this research in an international context.
The framework of this study is positioned in an applied philosophical theory of value, of education, and of neuroscience amid national and international educational systems. Contextually values may be expressed as personal, social, cultural, institutional, and/or universal values. Philosophers argue that values are essential to human development and fulfillment located at the intrinsic, extrinsic, and systemic level of existence. Aristotle’s Eudaimonia and Kant’s Summum Bonum, embrace the highest systemic value comprising moral virtue and happiness. Kant connected the act of valuing with the value of each human being in him/herself and with human ‘duties’, that is, the duty to love and trust, and the duty to respect. We owe each human being respect precisely because of his/her value. Husserl’s phenomenological value theory and his concept of intersubjectivity considered that when the value empathy was directed to another body, it was experienced as another. For Schopenhauer the value compassion leads to a better comprehension of the relations of life and the acquaintance of conscience or ‘changeless character’. Some authors contend that the loss of expression of intrinsic values has caused an existential vacuum in people reflected in the expression of disvalues to the person, and to society. Good values according to Burke are those values that are traditional because they have withstood the test of time.
Explicit/implicit values are found in international legislative frameworks including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) where education is considered indispensable to the development of the potential and unique character of each person.
Education theorists while embracing philosophical conceptualizations of values have advanced their integration into education theory. The core values in education policy are equality, inclusion, democracy, and excellence. The Irish education system is moving towards integrated cross-disciplinary explicit values requiring an awareness of personal/cultural values and the process of valuing. This was signaled in the Junior Cycle Statements of Learning introduced in September 2014. The proposed Politics and Society curriculum is aimed at enabling Senior Cycle students understand values, while the National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development 2014-2020 aims to foster values relative to sustainability and responsible citizenship. The development of a philosophy curriculum for Junior Cycle by the NCCA (2015) indicates a deepening of critical engagement combined with imaginative understanding of the impact on the other (e.g. Golden Rule style thinking).
Research suggests values are intrinsic to the educator. A values’ pedagogy transforms the role of the school towards holistic social agency. This study argues that the epistemological implications relative to the implicit nature of human values augment that values must be sustained and transmitted by the school and others in the life of the child.
Aristotle. (1999). Aristotle’s Nicomachean ethics. Book I-X. (2nd ed). Translated by Terence Irwin. Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (Aristotle 384–322 BCE).
Department of Education & Skills, Ireland. (2014). Education for sustainability: The national strategy on education for sustainable development in Ireland, 2014-2020. Dublin: Author.
Department of Education & Skills, Ireland. (2013). Information on the framework for Junior Cycle. Dublin: Author.
Dewey, J. (1948). Reconstruction in philosophy. New York: New American Library.
Dewey, J. (1939). Theory of valuation. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Freire, P. (2013). Education for critical consciousness. London & New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
Freire, P. (1998). Pedagogy of freedom: Ethics, democracy, and civic courage. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Harris, Ian, "Edmund Burke", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL =
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