The language of “values” is now commonplace around schools, with a wide spectrum of activities, lessons and initiatives aimed at promoting and reinforcing the key values of the school and indeed of our society more generally (“British values”). At the risk of sounding awkward, values are great – but they can be a bit vague to be honest. And even when they are more specific, there is often work to be done to persuade an individual young person to adopt the values of the school or wider society, rather than a, possibly different, set of values that they imbibe from the media or even their home life.
Maybe what we’re really talking about is virtues – personally owned behaviours, or rather patterns of behaviour that reflect a particular narrative of what is good or desirable. In other words, we are talking about the formation of character. That no doubt sounds like a massive, if not impossible, task. But I would argue that it reflects the desired outcome more accurately than some of our talk about values. At least if we have an idea of the scale of the task we can approach it realistically.
Article by Mark Leveson, CEO: CRiBS