Framing the framework: discourses in Australia’s national values education policy

  • Tiffany Mary JonesEmail author


In the past, many Australian state schools avoided teaching about values explicitly. However, the Australian government released Australia’s first official values education policy in 2005: the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools (NFVEAS). This framework represents a local manifestation of the recent international values education movement. This study contributes to an exploration of what, and who, the government’s construction of Australian values privileges. It uncovered the dominant discourses inherent in the framework through a critical discourse analysis, framing it in relation to the 16 key values education approaches identified in the literature. The data revealed the document’s strong privileging of conservative values education discourses, particularly civics and citizenship education, values inculcation and character education. In practice, some Australian schools have been disrupting this move to conservatism by taking more critical and postmodern approaches. The paper argues for such alternative practices and policy that is more diversified and student-centred.


Values education Values Australian moral education Character education Policy analysis Critical discourse analysis 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aarseth E. (1997) Cybertext: Perspectives on ergodic literature. The John Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  2. Admundson K. (1991) Teaching values and ethics: Problems and solutions. Arlington, American Association of School AdministratorsGoogle Scholar
  3. Aspin, D. (2002). An ontology of values and the humanisation of education. In S. Pascoe (Ed.), Values in education (pp. 128–130). ACT: Australian College of Educators.Google Scholar
  4. Australian Government. (2005a). National framework for values education in Australian schools. Retrieved 10 Apr 2006.
  5. Australian Government. (2005b). Values education resources kit. Retrieved 3 June 2006.
  6. Australian Government. (2005c). Values for Australian schooling poster. Retrieved 10 Apr 2006.
  7. Australian Government. (2006a). Good practice schools—stage 1 clusters. Values education for Australian schooling website: Good practice schools. Retrieved 24 July 2006.
  8. Australian Government. (2006b). Good practice schools—stage 2 clusters. Values education for Australian schooling website: Good practice schools. Retrieved 20 Sep 2006.
  9. Ball, S. (1993). What is policy? Texts, trajectories and tool boxes. Discourse, 13(2), 1017. doi: 10.1080/0159630930130203.
  10. Bebeau M., Rest J., Narvaez D. (1999) Beyond the promise: A perspective on research in moral education. Educational Researcher 28(4): 18–26Google Scholar
  11. Beck J. (1998) Morality and citizenship in education. Cassell, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Bee Bee, S. (2001, 2–6 December 2001). A critical discourse analysis of the mission statement of education in Singapore—SNG01002. Paper presented at the AARE 2001 Conference, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.Google Scholar
  13. Bryk, A. (1988). Musings on the moral life of schools. American Journal of Education, 96(2), 256–290. doi: 10.1086/443896.Google Scholar
  14. Charlesworth M. (1993) Bioethics in a liberal society. Cambridge University Press, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  15. Codd, J. (1988). The construction and deconstruction of educational policy documents. Journal of Education Policy, 3(3), 235–247. doi: 10.1080/0268093880030303.Google Scholar
  16. Curriculum Corporation. (2003). Values education study final report. Victoria: Australian Government, Department of Education, Science and Training.Google Scholar
  17. De Roche, E., & Williams, M.(1998). Educating hearts and minds: A comprehensive character education framework. California: Corwin Press Inc.Google Scholar
  18. Devereaux J. (2006) Teach Australian values or clear off. The Primary & Middle Years Educator 4(1): 11–15Google Scholar
  19. Dune, J. (1997). A critique of research evaluating moral education interventions. California: California Polytechnic State University. Easton, D. (1965). A framework for political analysis. London: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  20. Fairclough N. (1989) Language and power. Longman, LondonGoogle Scholar
  21. Fairclough N. (1992) Discourse and social change. Cambridge, PolityGoogle Scholar
  22. Fairclough, N. (1993). Critical discourse analysis and the marketization of public discourse; the universities. Discourse & Society, 4(2), 138–168. doi: 10.1177/0957926593004002002.
  23. Fairclough N. (1998) Political discourse in the media: An analytical framework. Blackwells, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  24. Forster, M., & Masters, G. (2002). Accepting the challenge: Assessing the moral and ethical outcomes of schooling. In S. Pascoe (Ed.), Values in education (pp. 140–151). ACT: Australian College of Educators.Google Scholar
  25. Foucault M. (1969) The archeology of knowledge and the discourse on language. Pantheon, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. Foucault M. (1979) Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. Penguin, HarmondsworthGoogle Scholar
  27. Foucault, M. (1981). The history of sexuality (Vol. 1). Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  28. Freakley M., Burgh G. (2002) Engaging with ethics: Ethical inquiry for teachers. Katoomba, Social ScienceGoogle Scholar
  29. Fulcher J. (1989) Disabling policies: A comparative approach to education policy and disability. Falmer, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  30. Gilbert R. (2004). Studying society and environment, a guide for teachers (3rd ed.). Victoria, Thomson Social ScienceGoogle Scholar
  31. Gilligan C. (1982) In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  32. Hall, S. (1980). Encoding/decoding. In S. Hall, S. Baron, M. Denning, D. Hobson, A. Lowe, & P. Willis (Eds.), Culture, media, language: Working papers in cultural studies 1972–79. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  33. Halstead, M. J. (1996). Values and values education in schools. In M. J. Halstead & M. J. Taylor (Eds.), Values in education and education in values (p. 9). London: Falmer.Google Scholar
  34. Halstead, M. J., & Taylor, M. J. (2000). Learning and teaching about values: A review of recent research. Cambridge Journal of Education, 30(2), 169–202. doi: 10.1080/713657146.Google Scholar
  35. Ham C., Hill M. (1984) The policy process in the modern capitalist state. Sussex, WheatsheafGoogle Scholar
  36. Harris, I., Morrison, M., & Reagan, T. (2002). Peace education (2nd ed.). Jefferson, NC: McFarlandGoogle Scholar
  37. Hill B. (1991) Values education in Australian schools. Victoria, The Australian Council for Education ResearchGoogle Scholar
  38. Hill, B. (2004, April). Values education in schools: Issues and challenges. Paper presented at the The National Values Education Forum, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  39. Hoepper B., Henderson D., Hennessey J., Hutton D., Mitchell S. (1996) Inquiry, Vol. 1. A source-based approach to modern history. Wiley, MiltonGoogle Scholar
  40. Ikemoto, T. (1996). Moral education in Japan; Implications for American schools. Retrieved 1 June 2006.
  41. Jewitt C., Van Leeuwen T. (2001) Handbook of visual analysis. Sage, LondonGoogle Scholar
  42. Joseph P.B., Elfron S. (2005) Seven worlds of moral education. Phi Delta Kappan 86(7): 525–534Google Scholar
  43. Kemmis, S., Cole, P., & Suggett, D. (1983). Orientations to curriculum and transition: Towards the socially critical school. Melbourne: Victorian Institute of Secondary Education.Google Scholar
  44. Kenway J. (1990) Gender and education policy: A call for new directions. Victoria, DeakinGoogle Scholar
  45. King, M. (1976). The future of integration. In L. Habermehl (Ed.), Morality in the modern world. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  46. Kirschenbaum, H. (1977). Values education: 1976 and beyond. In R. Leeper (Ed.), The school’s role as moral authority (pp. 51–69). Washington: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.Google Scholar
  47. Knight, S. D., & Collins, C. D. (2006). The Australian values education framework: No justification required? Australian Policy Online. Retrieved 20 July 2006.
  48. Kress G. (1988) Communication and culture: An introduction. New South Wales University Press, Kensington, NSWGoogle Scholar
  49. Lingard, R. (1993). The changing state of policy production in education: Some Australian reflections on the state of policy sociology. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 3(1), 25–47. doi: 10.1080/0962021930030102.
  50. MacDonald M. (2003) Exploring media discourse. Abingdon, Hodder HeadlineGoogle Scholar
  51. Marsh, C. (2004). Becoming a teacher: Knowledge, skills and issues (3rd ed.). Sydney: Pearson Education Australia.Google Scholar
  52. McKenzie, M. (2004). Seeing the spectrum: North American approaches to emotional, social, and moral education. The Educational Forum, 69(1), 79–91. doi: 10.1080/00131720408984667.
  53. Metcalf, L. E. (1971). Values education: Rationale, strategies and procedures (Vol. 41). Washington: National Council for the Social Studies.Google Scholar
  54. Mikulics, M. (1998). A systematic classification of approaches in values/ethics/moral/character education. San Diego, CA: United States International University.Google Scholar
  55. Moon B. (1992) Literary terms: A practical glossary. Cottesloe, WA, ChalkfaceGoogle Scholar
  56. Morton, D., & Zavarzadeh, M. (1991). Theory pedagogy politics: The crisis of “the subject” in the humanities. In D. Morton & M. Zavarzadeh (Eds.), Theory/pedagogy/politics: Texts for change (pp. 1–32). Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  57. Newell, C., & Rimes, J. (2002). Beyond pious platitudes: Values, spirituality and curriculum. In S. Pascoe (Ed.), Values in education. ACT: Australian College of Educators.Google Scholar
  58. Noddings N. (1984) Caring: A feminine approach to ethics and moral education. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  59. Nucci L.P. (1982) Conceptual development in the moral and conventional domains: Implications for values education. Review of Educational Research 52(1): 93–122Google Scholar
  60. Ozga, J. (1990). Policy research and policy theory: A comment on Fritz and Halpin. Journal of Education Policy 5(4), 359–362. doi: 10.1080/0268093900050405.Google Scholar
  61. Prunty J. (1984) A critical reformulation of educational policy analysis. Victoria, DeakinGoogle Scholar
  62. Purpel, D. (1997). The politics of character education. In A. Molnar (Ed.), The construction of children’s character: Ninety-sixth yearbook of the national society for the study of education (pp. 140–153). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  63. Robb, W. M. (1994). Values education: Can it alleviate social problems? Aberdeen: Centre for Alleviating Social Problems through Values Education.Google Scholar
  64. Rogers, R., Malancharuvil-Berkes, E., Mosley, M., Hui, D., & O’Garro Joseph, G. (2005). Critical discourse analysis in education: A review of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 75(3), 365–416. doi: 10.3102/00346543075003365.Google Scholar
  65. Schwartz, S. (2007). Universalism values and the inclusiveness of our moral universe. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 38(6), 711–728. doi: 10.1177/0022022107308992.Google Scholar
  66. Schwartz, S., & Bardi, A. (2001). Value hierarchies across cultures: Taking a similarities perspective. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 32, 268–290. doi: 10.1177/0022022101032003002.Google Scholar
  67. Smagorinsky P., Taxel J. (2004) The discourse of character education: Ideology and politics in the proposal and award of federal grants. Journal of Research in Character Education 2(2): 113–140Google Scholar
  68. Smith, R. (2008). In defense of national character. Theory & Psychology, 18(4), 465–482. doi: 10.1177/0959354308091826.
  69. Snook, I. (2000). The ethics and politics of values education. Paper presented as a Keynote Address to the Values Education Conference, Palmerston North, New Zealand.Google Scholar
  70. Snook, I. (2005, May). Values education in perspective: The New Zealand experience. Paper presented at the The National Values Education Forum, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, Australia.Google Scholar
  71. Taylor R. (1985) Ethics, faith and reason. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice HallGoogle Scholar
  72. Taylor M.J. (ed) (2000) Values education: Issues and challenges in policy and school practice. Farmer, LondonGoogle Scholar
  73. Thomas R.S. (1992) Values education: A classification of exemplars. University of Maryland, College ParkGoogle Scholar
  74. Veugelers W. (2000) Different ways of teaching values. Educational Review 52(1): 37 doi: 10.1080/00131910097397 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Wilson J. (2000) Methodology and moral education. Oxford Review of Education, 26(2): 255–262 doi: 10.1080/713688529 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wodak R. (1996) Disorders of discourse. Longman, LondonGoogle Scholar
  77. Yaxley L. (Writer) (2004). Peter McGauran backs PM’s public school jibes, PM Archive. Australia: ABCGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Griffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.La Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations