In today’s world, where corruption, violence, unrest have become so prevalent in our society, schools have an added responsibility to ensure that value education as a subject is taken seriously as a part of the curriculum to produce not just educated but also responsible citizens with insightful minds who believe in giving back to the society.
Values should be integrated in various aspects of life. It goes without saying that values go a long way in building a person’s character. Education without strong character is like a ship without a captain. Good education is inconceivable if it fails to inculcate values which are indispensable for a holistic life. Qualifications and skills are essential in the success of an individual but without values he is incomplete as a person.
Values are virtues that are imbibed by the children from their surroundings, the environment in which they are brought up, the environment in which they live. The people around them play a vital role in leaving an impression on the tender minds of these young individuals. With the increasing trend of nuclear families, parents working round the clock, absence of grandparents and elderly in the family, children end up spending a lot of time with housemaids and caretakers.
Here, role of the school and particularly the teacher becomes imperative to ensure that values are interwoven in all her lessons she takes up with her students. Values should be a part of each lesson, each topic taken up irrespective of the subject being taught. Here are a few ideas which can help the teachers in incorporating values while designing lessons for their class:
- Languages are an integral part of any curriculum. Various skills such as reading, writing, listening and speaking require a lot of textual material. The teacher can make use of motivating excerpts from the lives of famous personalities for the same. Speeches delivered by prominent leaders can be used as audio tools. It is vital to expose the students to our rich and valuable culture, ideas and vision of our great leaders who had the courage to break away from stereotypes, narrow minded thoughts of the society.
- Dramatics are an essential part in any school curriculum nowadays. Various inspiring instances from the lives of different leaders which show their determination, courage, selflessness can be staged or narrated to the students. Even inspirational movies can be shown to leave a lasting effect on the young minds.
- Social sciences teach us about the society. Debates, discussions, etc are conducted frequently during these lessons. These form good tools in teaching values such as inclusiveness, positive interaction, tolerance, importance of participation and being respectful towards others despite difference of opinion.
- Circle time is important as the students get a chance to express their feelings. During this time the teacher can stir the minds of the students and give them a chance to recognise and express their thoughts. For example, for teaching truthfulness, the students can be asked how do they feel when they speak the truth and how do they feel when they don’t. What stops them from speaking the truth? Do they feel proud when they say – I’m truthful, I’m honest, etc. It is important on the teacher’s part to create an affable environment where students share their ideas and thoughts fearlessly.
- Field visits to orphanages and old age homes present a true picture of the situation of our society. This can sensitise the students towards the less fortunate individuals of the society. Students can be encouraged to donate, may be a book, a shirt or a toy and share their happiness with the less privileged counterparts in the society. This will not just teach them sharing, helpfulness but also gratitude for all that they possess.
- There have been many scientists who believed the unbelievable and worked towards achieving the un-achievable. Their lives display their enormous determination and tireless efforts. While teaching science, the teacher must encourage the students to try to find out about the lives of various scientists. This can be done as a part of a project too. Whenever taking up group activity, it is essential to stress on the significance of cooperation, acceptance and inclusiveness.
- There can be assemblies conducted on different values where students can showcase the importance of values through dance, drama, music, etc.
- Games too are an important tool used by the teacher. A teacher can be as innovative as she wishes to be to create her own games which will help the students gain what she aims at. For example – as part of human nature we all tend to find faults and negativity in others. There can be a game in which students can be asked to mention one positive thing about their partner. In this way, students can be conditioned to see positivity in others.
Optimism can be inculcated in the students by the efforts of the teacher. She should always keep her students motivated by her thoughts and inspired by her words and actions. The teacher must practice what she preaches as she is a role model for her students and students emulate their teachers.
Also, it is extremely important to appreciate positive behaviour. Students repeat the behaviour when appreciated. So, as a teacher never leave any opportunity to praise the students even for their slightest of efforts. This will help students to remain determined, have a positive outlook and a happy demeanour.
Payal Bedi started her career as a Montessori Teacher in Ryan International School, Chandigarh. She is a science graduate and holds a Masters degree in Sociology from the Panjab University, Chandigarh.She believes that learning is an ongoing process and one needs to evolve as an individual with the changing times. Teaching gives her immense satisfaction and she looks forward to it each day. She has received Shantanu Prakash Excellence Award by Educomp for being the best facilitator for the year 2014-15. She has taught varying age groups in 10 years of her teaching career and is currently teaching Science at the primary level.
Article as published in “The Progressive Teacher”, July/Aug 2017, Vol.4 Issue.3