ITT, CPD and values - going for gold in all aspects of life

Rosemary Dewan

Rosemary Dewan is the CEO of the Human Values Foundation which promotes the importance of teaching human values in schools. Since 1995 it has been providing practical, cross-curricular programmes for personal development and behaviour management, integrating SMSC, PSHE education, Citizenship, PLTS and SEAL.

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Website: www.humanvaluesfoundation.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The London 2012 Olympic Games provide an ideal incentive for each of us to shine and enjoy the rewards from raising our personal development bar and supporting one another and children as we go for gold in all that we do and in every aspect of our lives.

How can we achieve this heightened state?

Let’s start by considering what we VALUE, what we treasure, because this is where much of our energy is absorbed. It may be that we value:

  • our health and wellbeing
  • our families and friends
  • our homes and neighbourhoods
  • our work and income
  • our environment and the wider world

Whatever we value affects our thinking and behaviour, so it’s important to ensure that what we focus on at any time is positive, uplifting and driving progress.

Initial Teacher Training (ITT) & Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

What of “Teachers GB”? Some are students – G.R.E.A.T. – and some are experienced at guiding, mentoring and coaching children and young people, releasing their exuberance and true spirits – B.R.I.T.A.I.N.

G Growing B Becoming
R Really R Resourceful
E Excited I Innovative
A About T Teachers
T Teaching A Always
  I Inspiring
  N Nationhood

Just as athletes consider and nurture every aspect of themselves for peak performance, so as individuals, whatever stage in life we have reached, we benefit from understanding, working on and exercising our entire being.

The whole community benefits when all sectors of the school community team up and explicitly champion values. Good, systematic values education is a character-building, integrated, holistic process that helps to develop the entire person – mind, body and spirit, as well as emotional and social domains. In the context of children and young people, by degrees, participants achieve personal mastery and an enlightened mindset, along with attractive qualities and an empowering bedrock of competencies and skills on which to build and fashion their futures.

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As with all undertakings, the more we put in, the more we get out and practice is essential. It is also crucial to recognise that some early parental and cultural conditioning can inhibit individuals’ aspirations and achievements and block the flow of natural abilities. This might warrant careful and sensitive management. For a child, his or her school could well provide that vital understanding and supportive environment. Handling this successfully is one major reason why values education needs to be an integral part of ITT and CPD. Also, in today’s rapidly changing and challenging world, teachers need to be equipped with leadership skills appropriate to delivering high performance consistently – for themselves and their pupils. Our young citizens will inevitably be faced with competition, whether for a job or some other position and, qualifications being equal, the difference between candidates could well be a person’s attitude – and that is shaped by a person’s values.

Preparation is key. Teachers, parents and others in positions of influence and power require time to appreciate what it means to be a role model and consider their own values and the values they are transmitting to children and young people. More often than not, this throws up some deep-seated personal issues that necessitate further thought and time to address and resolve them.

A considerable amount of work on ‘values in action’ has taken place in Australia. A comprehensive guide is available at www.valuescentredschools.edu.au. The site map (under ‘Structure of resource’) provides practical information, useful tools and a shortcut to some very effective best practices under the phases of:

  • Envisage
  • Engage
  • Implement
  • Monitor

The additional power from collaboration

Staff in schools and parents or carers have complementary visions and goals for the children and young people in their care. Actively underpinning a school’s culture with positive, inspiring values is a sure way of driving up standards and improving outcomes, individually and collectively. As young citizens uncover and develop their talents and their passions begin to emerge, the united climate of support from staff and peers at school and key adults in the home environment makes a considerable difference to individuals’ wellbeing, growth and achievements.

The effort put in, the striving for excellence in all we do and the ongoing dialogue between educators, pupils and parents or carers not only help to bond and strengthen the whole community but also mean all stakeholders can enjoy a rewarding golden glow as success follows success.

If not already being implemented, explicit values education as an integral part of the curriculum will provide a very stimulating legacy to set in train during the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

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