Teaching for Values

I I teach in an independent school which is guided by powerful vision and mission statements. For instance, we say our goal is to "peacefully transform the world." Can one get any loftier than that? Many other schools, both public and private, from the university level to the elementary level have phrases that aim at similar lofty goals.

Yes, I think that much of what my school attempts to create for students is in the ethos of the place. We have a religious and spiritual service at the center of our school week. Teachers go out of their way to create bonds with their students. We celebrate service at our school. We offer a remarkable array of rich and varied club offerings, many of which foster civic engagement and public service.

Yet....

Yet, so little of what we seemingly value makes its way into our formal curriculum even while it is implicit in our hidden curriculum. Our history, math, science, and foreign language curricula are largely similar to the nearby public and private schools while our mission and vision statements indeed distinguish us. This disconnect between what we say we value and how we have students spend 90% of their day hardly makes us unique, I expect. Why is this?  I'm not sure I have the answer to this.

One of my goals moving forward, especially as I begin to teach an International Relations course to 11th and 12th graders is to imbue the course with the values my school says it fosters and thus celebrates.

Popular Posts