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1. Ready

What are values?

Brené Brown Brown, B. (2019, August). Living Into Our Values. Brené Brown #daringclassrooms Hub.
defines a value as “a way of being or believing that we hold most important”. Values are guideposts that help you make decisions, gain clarity, and find courage in moments of ambiguity or fear. However, there is a distinct difference between having values and living into your values: When you live into your values, you walk the talk – you do more than just declare your values, you practice them. Brown
Brown Brown, B. (2019, August). Living Into Our Values. Brené Brown #daringclassrooms Hub.
argues that when “we walk our talk, we are clear about what we believe and hold important, and we take care that our intentions, words, thoughts, and behaviours align with those beliefs”. Classroom values are two or three key characteristics (ex. kindness, empathy, honesty, respect) that everyone in the class can use to guide their thoughts, words, and actions. These values are collectively identified and agreed upon and, more importantly, each value must be operationalized: Examples of behaviours that are and are not consistent with each of your core classroom values must be identified.

One of the biggest barriers to living into our values is the failure to operationalize them; the failure to turn an abstract, idealized idea into a concrete set of behaviours that can be identified and pursued. In her research with organizations,
Brené Brown Brown, B. (2018). Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts. Random House.
found that “only about 10% of organizations have operationalized their values into teachable and observable behaviours”.
She Brown, B. (2018). Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts. Random House.
concluded that “if you’re not going to take the time to translate values from ideals to behaviours – if you’re not going to teach people the skills they need to show up in a way that’s aligned with those values and then create a culture in which you hold on another accountable for staying aligned with the values – it’s better not to profess any values at all”. Therefore, to create effective classroom values that inform your (and your students) thoughts, actions, and behaviours, values need to be both identified and operationalized.

Why are values important?

It can be helpful to think of your core values as guideposts, or lanterns that light the way when you feel lost and overwhelmed by darkness. Core values are what help you choose courage over comfort, they represent certainty amidst an abyss of uncertainty, and they guide your decisions.
The Barrett Values Centre, Barrett Values Centre (n.d.). Why Values are Important.
an organization dedicated to helping people put values at the heart of how they live and work, argues that “when we use our values to make decisions, we make a deliberate choice to focus on what is important to us”. Within teams and communities, there is a if values are not at the center of decisions and actions that are taken: For schools, this ultimately compromises the learning environment and limits student’s ability to learn, grow, and succeed.
Surprisingly, having too many values can be just as detrimental as not having values. When you have too many values,
  1. People scatter as they move towards different guideposts that are illuminating different directions
  2. People run towards the guidepost that is the safest and easiest to get to.
However, living into your values is not supposed to be a safe and easy option. In fact, it often requires more courage to act with integrity, which Brené Brown defines as “choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them”. Two or three class values are considered ideal because a couple of clearly defined and broadly adopted class values will build internal cohesion and trust in the classroom.

Furthermore, argue that educating students about values provides them with the opportunity to become aware of their own and other people’s values, to gain insight into moral issues, and to consider how their thoughts and actions align with their values. Overall, the concept of
values education Lapsley, D. K., & Narvaez, D. (2007). Character education. Handbook of child psychology, 4.
aligns with the belief that moral behaviour can, and should, be taught (Lapsley & Narvaez, 2007).

Where can I learn more?

Living Values Education activities for children ages 8-14

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Though Conversations. Whole Hearts.

#daringclassrooms Learning Lab Video: How do we as adults live out our values so that our kids can follow that path too?

#daringclassrooms Learning Lab Video: What happens when you have too many values?

#daringclassrooms Learning Lab Video: Why does getting clear about values really matter?

Netflix Special, Brené Brown: The Call to Courage

Restorative Justice & Peacemaking Circles: Creating rules or creating values, the difference in a restorative classroom

What will students learn?

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to…

  • Communicate what a value is and why values are important
  • Identify two core personal values, what protects and threatens those values, and a time when they were able to live into their values
  • Identify the agreed upon class values
  • Clearly explain examples of behaviours that are and are not consistent with each class value
  • Describe how they will hold themselves and each other accountable to living into their values


References
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Barrett Values Centre (n.d.). Why Values are Important.

Brown, B. (2018). Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts. Random House.

Brown, B. (2019, August). Living Into Our Values. Brené Brown #daringclassrooms Hub.

Brown, B. (n.d. a). What happens when you have too many values? [Video]. #daringclassrooms.

Brown, B. (n.d. b). Why does getting clear about values really matter? [Video]. #daringclassrooms.

Gray, M., Lovat, T., Toomey, R., & Clement, N. (2010). Teach Our Children Well: A Social Work Perspective on Integrating Values Education in Schools. In International Research Handbook on Values Education and Student Wellbeing (pp. 703–716).

Lapsley, D. K., & Narvaez, D. (2007). Character education. Handbook of child psychology, 4.

Restrepo, S. (Director). (2019, April 19). The Call to Courage [Video]. Netflix.

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