Values Clarification

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1 Values Clarification Rationale The object of the values clarification strategy is not to teach specific values, but to make students aware of their own personally held values and of the way in which their values compare to those of friends, adults, different groups in society, and even other societies in other times. It is hoped that, as this awareness increases, students will reconsider and perhaps modify poorly founded values while, at the same time, hold more confidently values which stand the test of review and comparison. Procedures Though values clarification activities take a variety of forms, there are certain basic procedures that should be followed when using the strategy: The teacher begins the lesson with "opening up" activities which focus on lowrisk issues. The activities require student to indicate their position on an issue in an overt and explicit manner. The teacher accepts student responses without judgement or evaluation and discourages any attempts by students to challenge or mock each other's position. The students should be asked to explain or provide reasons for holding a specific value position. This is the clarification aspect of the strategy. The activities should, whenever possible, be related to issues that have historical import or are related to current social or political concerns. Closure No assessment is really desired unless it is the observation of whether or not students share their values and possess an appropriate sense of their own values. The classic sources for both an explanation of values clarification and a description of examples are: Raths, L.E.,. Harmin, M., & Simon, S.B. Values and Teaching (2nd ed.),. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill, 1978) Simon, S.B., Howe, L.W., & Kirschenbaum, H. Values Clarification: A Handbook of Practical Strategies for Teachers and Students. New York: Hart Publishing, 1972).

2 Values Clarification Sidney Simon s Approach Purpose: Help Students identify more clearly what it is they value in specific situations. Help students realize that others may hold different but equally acceptable values. Motivates (how? why?) May be used as set induction or a closure. Use Small Groups if Possible This allows everyone to share. Use Warm-Up Exercises If your students have never or rarely done a values clarification exercise, this is vital. Warm-up consists of low risk questions: "those of you who like the beach move to one side of the room; those of you who like the mountains, move to the other side." Ask Good Questions Don't ad-lib them; think of them beforehand. Give students opportunities to select from alternatives. Avoid yes-no questions because they do not lead to thought. Ask only a few questions: four to six at the most. Ask high risk questions only if you feel the kids are ready and only after they have had a bit of a warm-up. Sharing Request an overt response: pointing, choosing, writing, etc. Request that students share their values unless they do not want to do so. Involve as many of the value processes as possible choosing, prizing, etc. Remain non-judgmental: don't feel you need to straighten out kids' thinking. Offer to reveal your own values after students have chosen. Warnings Don't ask too many questions let the kids reflect. Don't ask "why" questions since they may cause students to become defensive. Better to ask: "Do you want to tell us the reasons for your choice?" Don't moralize subtly through leading questions that have implicitly right answers. Avoid lumping concensus decision exercises with values exercises. The idea is not to come up with a group value, but with individual values. Individual values must be considered "sacred." Keep it simple. Don't expect miracles from a values clarification exercise: this strategy needs to be done often, so that students will get used to the idea of identifying and sharing their own values. Sources: Sidney B. Simon, Leland W. Howe, and Howard Kirschenbaum, Values Clarification: A Handbook of Practical Strategies for Teachers and Students (New York: Hart Publishing Company, Inc., 1972)

3 Values Clarification Tactics Handling Student Responses Some tactics to consider when handling student responses. Put the responsibility on the answer to look at his ideas and think about what he wants for himself. Do not try to do big things. The purpose of a clarifying response is to set a mood. Each response is only one of many: Its effect is cumulative. Do not intend for the clarifying response to develop into an extended discussion. The idea is for the student to think, and she usually does that best alone. Allow for two or three rounds of dialogue and then offer to break off the conversation with some honest phrase such as I see what you mean now, or Your idea was very interesting. Let s talk about it again some other time. Do not respond to everything everyone says of does in the classroom. Direct clarifying responses to individuals whenever possible. A topic in which Henry needs clarification may be of no interest to Mae. Issues of general concern may warrant a general response to the entire class, but even here the individual must ultimately do the reflecting for himself. Use clarifying responses in situations where there are no right answers, such as those involving feelings, attitudes, or beliefs. They should never be used to draw a student s thinking toward a predetermined answer. Examples of Clarifying Responses. Clarifying responses are not designed to follow any mechanical formula, but must be used creatively and with insight. There are several responses, however, that experienced teachers have found useful with children. As you read through the list that follows, try to elaborate upon the items and add to the suggestions. Are you proud of that? Do you really like that idea? Does that make you feel good? How did you feel when that happened? Did you think of any other way to do it? When did you first get such an idea? have you felt this way for a long time? Did you do it yourself? What do you mean? What would happen if your ideas worked out? Would you really do that? What other choices did (do) you have? Should everyone go along with your idea? Is that important to you? Do you do that often? Would you like to tell others about your idea? Do you have a reason for doing (for saying) that? Would you do the same thing again? Hod do you know it s right (or good)? Would other people believe that? Is this what I understood you to say? Would you do that again. As you read through the list, you should have related each comment to the seven components of the Raths valuing process. Those seven criteria are valuable guides as you think of other useful clarifying responses. In one way or another, all clarifying responses should encourage children to choose, prize, or act as outlined by the value theory. Raths recommends that the teacher (1) establish a climate of psychological safety, and (2) apply a clarification procedure. Some procedures that establish a climate of psychological safety are the following: Nonjudgemental attitudes. Teachers must refrain from unnecessary comments such as That s good, or That s bad, while responding to a child s idea. Manifestations of concern. Teachers should show interest in the students ideas by listening carefully and remembering what they say. The student will feel flattered by this recognition. Opportunities for sharing ideas. Teachers should encourage children to share their ideas and feelings in many different situations during the school day.

4 Examples of Values Clarification Exercises Twenty Things You Love To Do Students are asked to write the numbers 1 20 down the middle of a sheet of paper. The teacher then instructs students to make a list of 20 things in life that they love to do. The teacher should draw up his or her own list as well. It is acceptable if students have less or more than 20 items. When the lists are done, the teacher tells the students to use the left hand side of their papers to code the lists in the following manner by placing: A dollar sign ($) besides any item that costs more than $3 each time it is done (the amounts can vary, of course) The letter "A" besides those items the student prefers to do alone. "P" next to those she prefers to do with other people and "E" next to activities she enjoys doing equally alone or with other people. "PL" next to those items that require planning. "N" besides those items which would not have been listed 5 years ago. Numbers 1 5 besides the 5 most important items. The best liked should be numbered 1, the second best 2, etc. Maybe the day and date last engaged in next to each item. The list can be expanded to include other elements. The Values Grid This strategy will illustrate that few of our beliefs or actions fit the seven described tactics of the valuing process (see previous page). the activity indicates steps to take to develop stronger and clearer values. Construct and pass out, or ask students to construct, a values grid as shown below: Issue Now, with your students, name some general issues such as Iraq, water pollution, population control, abortion, race relations, forced urinalyses, etc. The students list the issues on the lines under issue. Next to each general issue each student is to write a few key words that summarize for him or her the position on that issue. The seven numbers in the columns on the right hand side of the paper represent the following seven questions: 1. Are you proud; do you prize or cherish your position? 2. Have you publicly affirmed your position? 3. Have you chosen your position alternatives? 4. Have you chosen your position after thoughtful consideration of the pros and cons and consequences? 5. Have you chosen your position freely? 6. Have you acted on or done anything about your beliefs? 7. Have you acted with repetition or consistency on this issue? The teacher can read these seven questions to the students who can write the key words (those underlined) at the top of each column. The students then answer each of the seven questions in relation to each issue. If they have a positive response to the question on top,m they put a check in the appropriate box. If they cannot answer the question affirmatively, they leave the box blank. It should be pointed out that the students are not being called on to defend the context of their beliefs. They are evaluating how firm their convictions are and how they arrived at them. Values Voting Voting is simply a procedure that allows every student to make a public affirmation on a variety of issues. Voting helps students see that others often look at issues differently. It is an excellent way to introduce specific values issues into the classroom. Short voting list are the best. Once they are familiar with the procedure, students can make up their own voting lists. (Remember, you vote too, but keep from influencing the vote, hold yours until a split second after most students have committed themselves to a position.) Procedure: Read aloud questions that begin with the words, "How many of you...?" After each question, the students take a position by a show of hands.

5 Those in the affirmative raise their hands. Those answering negatively point their thumbs down. Those undecided fold their arms. Those who want to pass take no action at all. The following is a sample list: "How many of you Think kids should be allowed to choose their own clothes? 2. Think you should be able to watch any television program you would like. 3. Think you should be able to watch as much television as you want. 4. Would tell someone that they had bad breath. 5. Would be willing to work after school to help clean the school? 6. Would eliminate sports in favor of more academics? Rank Order This strategy serves to help students in choosing among alternatives and affirming, explaining and defending their choices. It demonstrates that many issues require more consideration than we tend to give them. Explain to the class that you are going to ask questions that will require their making value judgments. Give three or four alternative choices and ask students to rank order the choices according to their own value preferences. Read a question. Write the choices on the board and call on six or eight students to give their rankings; first, second, and third choice. Any student may "pass" if he chooses. After the students respond, give your own rankings. Follow with a class discussion, with students explaining their choices and their reasons for the choices. Sample Rank Order Questions 1. Which of these would be most difficult for you to accept? the death of a parent? the death of a sibling? the death of a spouse? your own death? 2. How would you break off a three year relationship with someone you have been dating steadily? by telephone by mail in person 3. Which would you prefer to give up if you had to? economic freedom religious freedom political freedom 4. If you needed help in your studies, who would you go to? your friend your teacher a parent? 5. During a campus protest where would you most likely be found? in the midst of it? gaping at it from across the street? in the library minding your own business. 6. Which would you least like to be: a rifleman firing point blank at the charging enemy. a bomber on a plane dropping napalm on an enemy village. a helicopter pilot directing naval bombardment of enemy troops. Public Interview This strategy gives students the opportunity to affirm and explain their stand on various value issues. It is one of the most dramatic strategies and one of the students' favorites. It is especially useful at the beginning of the year for helping students get acquainted on a personal basis. Keep the interviews brief five to ten minutes at the most. Procedure: Ask for volunteers who would like to be publicly interviewed about some of their beliefs, feelings, and actions The volunteers sit in the front of the room or at your desk. You move to the back of the room and ask your questions from there. Review the ground rules with the class. You can ask any questions about any aspect of the interviewee's life and values. If the student chooses to answer the question, he must do so honestly. The student has the option of passing if he or she does not wish to answer one or more of the questions. The student can end the interview at any time by simply saying,"thank you for the interview." At the

6 end of the interview the student can ask any of the same questions put to him or her. Sample Interview Questions. 1. Do you watch much TV? How much? 2. What is your opinion of the War with Iraq? 3. Do you believe in God? 4. How do you feel about grades in school? 5. What did you do last night? 6. What do you think you do about your parents when they get told? 7. What books have you read that you liked? 8. Would you bring up your children differently from the way you have been brought up? 9. Did you ever steal anything? When? How come? As you become adept at conducting the interview, you might suggest that the students select the topic they would want to be interviewed about. Time Journal Ask each student to keep a chart of one week's activities, a column for each day, and each day broken down into half-hour blocks. Ask students to record where time went for the week. Remind students that it is a personal record; you will not see it. Ask students to review the sheet at the end of the week with these questions in mind? How much time did you spend doing what you value? How much time did you spend doing what you didn't value? How did you waste time? What gave you the truest gratification? Were there inconsistencies between what you say you like to do and what you really do? How would you spend a 25th hour in each day? Proud Whip Proud Whip provides a simple and rapid means for students to become aware of the degree to which they are proud of their beliefs and actions. The strategy will also encourage them do do more things in which they can take pride. Emphasize that the type of pride called for is not boasting or bragging but the pride that means, "I feel really good about" or " I cherish" this aspect of my life. Be supportive of those who pass. PROCEDURE: Ask students to consider what they have to be proud of in relation to a specific area or issue. Whip around the room calling upon students in random order. Students respond with the words, "I'm proud of... " Any student may pass if he chooses. SAMPLE QUESTIONS. 1. What is something you are proud of; that you can do on your own? 2. What is something you are proud of in relation to many others? 3. What are you proud of that has to do with school? 4. What are you proud of about your gift-giving? 5. What is something you have written that you are proud of? 6. What are you proud of in relation to your family? 7. What is something you have done about the ecology issue that you are proud of? Picture Without a Caption The teacher brings in a picture which involves a story of some kind. The students are then asked to supply a caption describing what is going on. After various captions are examined in the light of the available evidence, an attempt is made to see what the students would have done in the same situation. As example, photographs of a street fight were used. A Scene from a Movie or a Play A teacher obtains the script from a play, TV show, or a movie and duplicates a small part of it. Students act it out, but it is cut off before there is any solution to the problem. The students then take over and discuss what should have been done, how this situation was like something in their own lives, etc.showing films which are cut prematurely can also lead to interesting discussion. Coat of Arms The teacher prepares an outline of a coat of arms, as is shown below. The students should draw a picture for each

7 segment in response to a topic you suggest: something they are very good at, something that they are proud of having done, their favorite food, their favorite activity, their favorite animal, etc. Students can share, in small groups, the drawings on their coats of arms, explaining the significance of the symbols. A variation of the exercise might involve construction of coats of arms of popular news figures, figures from the past or the teacher. Another variation would be to make a collage of similar topics. Editorials Letters to the Editor Other Ideas Literature passed around election time. Popular song lyrics Tape recordings of interviews students have obtained from various personalities with strong viewpoints. Excerpts from speeches. Materials from embassies or foreign countries. Advertising Cartoons, comic strips, etc. Films. Sources: Raths, L.E.,. Harmin, M., & Simon, S.B. Values and Teaching (2nd ed.),. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill, 1978) Simon, S.B., Howe, L.W., & Kirschenbaum, H. Values Clarification: A Handbook of Practical Strategies for Teachers and Students. New York: Hart Publishing, 1972).

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