Bringing the values conversation into the classroom
by Luke Wynne, Head of Youth and Schools, Global Action Plan
Young people have grown up in a consumerist culture that reinforces values of self-interest which research1 shows are harmful to our emotional health, our communities and the planet.
To address this we believe that a focus on values in education is urgently needed. Schools have an important role in helping young people explore a more positive set of values, which can improve wellbeing and increase the chance of them getting involved in environmental social action.
So what can schools do? This Thursday (17th October) is World Values Day – a great chance to begin a values conversation in the classroom. To make it as easy as possible, teachers and their students can access a set of free, teacher-rated, values-themed resources on the newly-launched Transform Our World online resource hub.
One of these resources is Global Action Plan’s Goals for Good toolkit, which inspires young people to set goals rooted in things that really make them happy, rather than material and often unachievable notions of ‘success’. Early results for the Goals for Good programme show a shift away from materialistic values among participants.
Today Global Action Plan is also publishing a paper aimed at school leaders but relevant to anyone with an interest in the future of education. The paper suggests a framework for student wellbeing and a healthy planet, drawn from decades of academic research.
Over the coming months Global Action Plan, along with other organisations in the environment and education sector, will take a fresh look at what we mean by education for sustainable development, through a values lens.
- How can we make sure that it is up to the scale of the challenge ahead while fitting alongside the more immediate demands of the school system?
- Does education for sustainability need to actually be about sustainability?
- Maybe the way we teach is as important as what we teach?
Please get in touch with us if you want to join this discussion.
We know that students have the drive and determination to meet the global challenges ahead of us. Building a values base into our education system will equip them on their mission to Transform Our World.
The iwill Fund supports Transform Our World.
The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £40 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities.
Global Action Plan has created Transform Our World as part of its pledge to the #iwill campaign. It will be a chance for teachers who are on a collective mission to connect with one another, and to encourage their whole school to get involved in youth green social action, embedding it in school life and culture.
1 - Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (2001). Be careful what you wish for: Optimal functioning and the relative attainment of intrinsic and extrinsic goals. Life Goals and Well-Being: Towards a Positive Psychology of Human Striving, (116–131)
If you would like to help Transform Our World, get in touch at: [email protected]