|A Sense of Belonging - Guidelines for Values for the Humanistic and International Dimension of Education (CIDREE - UNESCO, 1983, 31 p.)|
These guidelines provide a set of principles and qualities for the humanistic and international dimension of education. These are consistent with the UNESCO principles and when taken with the Council of Europe principles for the internationalisation of education and the basic tenents of the constructivist model of learning and teaching, they provide a powerful set of organising ideas with which a school can address the curriculum in terms of humanistic and international education.
It is important to remember that the curriculum is not just about learning facts and developing skills. Good relationships among pupils, between pupils and teachers, between teachers and parents and between the school and the local community contribute significantly to childrens personal and social development. Children have to learn how to cooperate with and understand others; how to acquire healthy habits and attitudes, how to distinguish between rules, rights and responsibilities29
29 SCCC Values in Education in Scotland. A Position Paper 1989
Each sentence and clause of that elementary statement is loaded with value judgements and is ripe for discussion about personal and social values in any classroom and at any level. The statement is an assertion of the centrality of personal and social education, and by implication, of the values for a civilised world. The development of social and personal skills is the responsibility of every primary teacher and of all specialist teachers in secondary schools30. But that responsibility is wider since education takes place in many settings outside school and social and personal skills are developed not only within the classroom, but also in school corridors and clubs, in the playground, and, most importantly, in the home. Parents, friends, the local community and the media all contribute to these wider aspects of the curriculum.
30 SCCC Social education Paper 1986
The curriculum needs to be sensitive to the changing needs, aspirations of society. Equally, society has to appreciate that there are limits to the capacity of the curriculum and the resources of any school staff to encompass all matters, no matter how crucial these may be. However, there is little difficulty in identifying the importance of social and personal education. The overwhelming difficulty is in its design and delivery and education systems must be responsive to this challenge. It is with this in mind that these guidelines provide a five-fold strategy for the implementation of this dimension of the curriculum.
Strategy 1: The School Values Statement: in this approach the focus of attention is the whole school climate and ethos. It is an approach pioneered in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.31 It addresses not only the formal curriculum and settings within classrooms but takes the view that a school must live and work by example and that all factors are worthy of inspection and consideration.
31 SCARBOROUGH SCHOOL BOARD Values Statement 1988
While such a strategy is important in terms of consensus building, policy formation and strategic planning, unless it is made real the statement will become little more than pious rhetoric.
Strategy 2: Permeation throughout the curriculum: Values permeate all educational activity. All areas of the curriculum are concerned with values education and all can contribute to the development of values for a humanistic and international dimension. In this strategy the dimension is delivered by all teachers at all stages and to all pupils. It is an approach actively promoted by the Scottish Curriculum Council.32 Permeation may be planned but is often most effective when the teaching or the experience is spontaneous and opportunistic. The teaching skill is to capitalise on, or exploit, an incident or situation which can illustrate a behavioural principle, an emotion, an attitude, a value, a moral dilemma. This is a teaching skill of the highest order. All teachers, or former pupils of good teachers, will recognise that skill and its effectiveness. The difficulty with the permeation strategy in this sense is that it is essentially spontaneous and difficult to monitor or fix in the curriculum planning process.
32 Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum: Values in Education in Scotland. A Common Sense Approach. Scottish CCC paper, Soest 1993 Values in Education in Europe - Approaches Experiences and Concepts
Strategy 3: Curricular Inserts: These are planned activities within suitable contexts or courses of study and are suitable at most stages of schooling for all pupils. Many subjects provide opportunities for such inserts which, in the context of the humanistic and international dimension might deal with matters such as human rights, democratic processes, citizenship, ecological issues and certain controversial issues.
The advantage of curricular inserts is that they provide a tidy means of managing specific aspects. However, the challenge is to ensure co-ordination and to obviate repetition and inconsistency in approach and method.
Strategy 4: Specialised Optional Courses: These are offered by the school, chosen by interested pupils and delivered by specialist teachers, usually at later stages of schooling. Increasingly, these are short courses on aspects of such matters as civic, health, environmental or media education. While they provide excellent opportunities to deal with aspects of the humanistic and international dimension they can sometimes tend to adopt the transmission model of teaching. Another potential problem here is that only a limited number of topics can be covered within the time available for choice and the limits on choice can be constrained by staffing expertise.
Strategy 5: Curriculum Audit: This is a management task at the levels of whole school and subject departments. There are five stages of the audit; discussion of objectives and strategies relating to the delivery of the humanistic and international dimension with the entire staff of the school; the establishment of the actual and potential contributions to the dimension from existing courses; the identification of gaps, overlaps and progression within the provision; achievement of a satisfactory balance between permeation, curricular inserts and specialised optional courses; and finally the monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the delivery.
By using these interlinking strategies it is possible for schools to address the values dimension and the attendant problems of curriculum overcrowding, while still providing a curriculum that is characterised by breadth and balance and to resolve the competing claims of utilitarian and economic considerations on the one hand and, on the other hand, the need for all individuals to be made aware ... Of their personal worth, their dignity and their rights and obligations33.
33 BEST Francine ibid