Values-based Education- Balancing Education and Ethics


Any formal education without an emphasis on values is incomplete. In fact, at the heart and soul of education lie human values, so from this, any teacher or parent can understand its meaning and place in the educational system.

The need for value-based education is always drawn from society. To be contemporary, let’s take the need for such education today. Why do our kids need it? Well, for various reasons, chiefly the following:

  1. We live in a world where our peace and security are being challenged every day. If we and our children do not address them with a positive spirit, they could have a negative impact on them. There may be times when individuals are forced to take hard decisions that could have a serious impact on their personal security. To be able to rise to such occasions, they need exposure to value-based education now, so that they think as human beings, not as savages.
  2. Children need a roadmap to guide their lives by: With the help of value-based education, children will learn to live a moral life and take decisions in life based on the ‘right way’ rather than what’s practical. Though much of this is done by parents, to have the same values reinforced by teachers helps to give the child a holistic moral or value-based education, considering students look up to their teachers a lot.
  3. Teachers build a nation full of human excellence: When teachers set about instilling human values in their students, they invest in human excellence that could go on to build a nation of individuals who will always be sensitive to the needs of others, will never let personal greed or ambition dominate big decisions and think of providing those with what they don’t have. A brotherly feeling for people in need is a big outcome of such value-based education. Individuals, therefore, learn to lead their lives with socially accepted values and ideals.
  4. Values at school level make education holistic: With moral education, students tend to have a lopsided education. They fail to understand their role in this universe and their individuality does not fully flower.
  5. The changing face of society: Society in any part of the world today reeks of corruption, power, crime, street violence, powerful media and indiscipline at school. The breakdown of families also causes depression among kids. For these reasons, value-based education will foster a kind of stability and give them strong moral foundations to go through life never giving in to that little devil inside them.

Impact of value-based education in schools: Schools that promote the value-based education in their curricula ultimately bring out students who aren’t just more academically brilliant, but the school also has a serene environment. Such schools also foster better student-teacher relationships and with parents also engaging with these schools, there is also better wellbeing between students and teachers. By actually teaching the impact of values in our lives, students develop a universal ethical language that deals with interpersonal behaviour and provides a method of handling self-regulated behaviour.

There are several more ways by which students are benefited by value-based education. These are:

Academic performance:

The quality of teaching in such schools is high and teachers are able to raise the bar for academic performance. Students are more attentive, can work independently, and assume responsibility to learn on their own. They also work in teams better and take pride in what they do.

Serenity in school:

Schools that teach value-based education promote honesty, empathy and have no conflicts between students. There isn’t any bullying, ragging, intolerance among students but a lot of mutual respect.

Student-teacher relationships:

These relationships are strong and based on trust. Teachers give students more independence to make their own decisions where learning activities are concerned. They are also more receptive to what students say and there’s a one-on-one relationship between them.

Student-teacher wellbeing:

There’s a greater connect between students and a stronger bond of belongingness. They not only regulate their own behavior but that of their classmates too.

How teachers can help: Teachers do play a pivotal role in imparting values to their students. There are many ways of doing this, but here are three ways by which teachers can make a start:

  1. Lead by example: To prove any point to students, it’s important that teachers show them the way. So, if teachers want to promote honesty among their students, how about being honest themselves? By doing this, students will learn the importance of values in their daily lives. Or if you want your students to say “Please” and “Thank you,” begin saying it yourself so that they pick up on that.  
  2. Say it if you must: When examples don’t work, just tell them what you want from them. For instance, if your students see you carrying a stack of books which they could offload from you but don’t, you could say something like, “Hey, how about taking some of these from me?”
  3. Embrace hard times: No matter how comfortable students’ backgrounds may be, they should sometimes be taken out of them to feel what the have-nots feel so that they learn the lesson of humility in life. It’s important that teachers create such scenarios that bring them upfront with such situations to reinforce the relevant values. This will also teach rich kids to be selfless, giving and humble.
  4. Use external methods: Often, classroom learning cannot teach what teachers might want to convey to their students. So, it helps to show them films, documentaries or bring them in touch with such resources that highlight a human value better than a blackboard can.

How parents can help:

  1. Set a good example: To make your children understand the value of values in life, you need to set examples to them in everyday life. From the way you treat them to the way you treat and speak to others, they will understand what’s expected of them and mould their way of handling life situations well.
  2. Be humble with your kids: When you make mistakes with your kids, remember to apologize to them. This makes them feel that you respect them and their emotions. This will also teach them to be accountable for their mistakes.
  3. Use everyday incidents as conversation starters: Things happen around you and your family every day that could spark off a conversation centering around values. Take advantage of them and relate them to human values, so that your children are always on the ball where the need for values are concerned. Ask them what they would do in similar situations.


Finally, for best results, the active participation of school, home, and willing students help mould the most desirable values, which have far-reaching consequences that no test or exam does.

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