The Impact of Values Education on Student Effects and School Ambience: Results from Ten Australian Case Studies

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The case studies sought to identify the common practices which supported and maintained the schools’ focus on Values Education and also to explore the effects of Values Education on a range of student and teacher outcomes including student academic diligence, student-teacher relationships, student and teacher wellbeing, and parental and family participation.

Although there were variations across the schools in the way that Values Education was implemented, the results confirmed that explicit teaching of values appeared to have a settling effect on the schools by providing a common language for students, staff and parents to talk about interpersonal behaviour. The focus on teaching and promoting values such as responsibility, cooperation and endeavour provided students with a mechanism for self-regulated behaviour and also provided teachers with a positive framework for addressing instances of ‘inappropriate behaviour’. While the more settled school circumstances appeared to enhance opportunities for quality teaching and improved student performance, the relationship between Values Education and quality teaching and learning outcomes was not unidirectional. The case studies suggested that any relationship between Values Education programs and the quality of student attitude, parent involvement and interpersonal relations is much more complicated than simply being the case that Values Education in and of itself produces such quality teaching effects. Rather, it seems that the fit between Values Education and quality teaching is better described, not as one having an impact on the other, but rather as the two of them being in harmony. A number of common effective elements are described, including the embedding of Values Education into the core curriculum, teacher modelling and scaffolding of values, school-wide practices and policies, real-world learning and strong leadership.


Keywords: Values Education, Character Education, Quality Teaching, Effective Schools, Teacher Practice
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Prof. Terry Lovat

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Education and Arts
Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle

Callaghan, NSW, Australia

Professor Lovat is an experienced researcher and consultant. He has managed, individually and collaboratively, over A$1.75m of funded research, has written several scholarly texts (including one translation), over 80 refereed articles and chapters, and is a regular keynote presenter at national and international conferences, including most recently at the National Values Education Forum in 2005 and 2006. Professor Lovat’s research and consultancy around areas like Values Education and Religious Education has assured a recognition and reputation across the school sectors. He regularly receives invitations to address or advise in the public sector, as well as in the Catholic systems, and private and non-Catholic religious sectors. He is particularly involved at present in work around the issue of the impact of Muslim and non-Muslim schooling on Muslim youth. Professor Lovat is a former school teacher who taught in both public and Catholic schools.

Prof. Ron Toomey

Affiliation not supplied
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Dr. Neville Clement

Research Academic, Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
Callaghan, NSW, Australia


Dr Kerry Dally

Lecturer, School of Education, The University of Newcastle
Callaghan, NSW, Australia

Dr Kerry Dally is a lecturer in Early Childhood and Special Education. She has teaching experience and research interests in both prior-to-school and school contexts. The focus of her doctoral studies was a longitudinal investigation of factors, such as phonological awareness and inattentive behaviour, which may affect reading acquisition. As well as an ongoing interest in behaviour and learning difficulties, her current research activities include her roles as a university associate for a cluster of schools involved in the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project and as an evaluator of The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children’s Remote Early Learning Project.

Ref: L09P0763