International Research Handbook on Values Education and Student Wellbeing

pp 703-716


Teach Our Children Well: A Social Work Perspective on Integrating Values Education in Schools

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This chapter describes a values education project which formed part of a major intervention research study aimed at crime reduction in schools in Durban, South Africa. Written from a social work perspective, where values education mainly concerns professional training and clinical practice, it shows how attempts were made to integrate values education in three disadvantaged schools over a range of interventions relating to HIV and AIDS education, gender relationships, discrimination and racism, and the promotion of cross-cultural understanding. Rather than ‘values education’ as an add-on, it argues for values education to be integrated into all areas of school life from teacher education, through to educational content and behaviour management, as well as parent involvement and policy making. Furthermore, it argues that this is best achieved through interdisciplinary collaboration in research and practice, particularly in the promotion of practical, useful knowledge which directly addresses concrete social problems and enables teachers to address ‘values issues’ as they arise in the classroom, on the playground or in the broader community.