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close this bookA Sense of Belonging - Guidelines for Values for the Humanistic and International Dimension of Education (CIDREE - UNESCO, 1983, 31 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
View the documentIntroduction
View the document1. Purposes of the Document
View the document2. The Nature of a Changing Society
View the document3. Educational Implications
View the document4. Values, Society and Schooling
View the document5. The International Dimension
View the document6. Values and Consensus
View the document7. Principles and Qualities
View the document8. Three Key Ideas
View the document9. Democracy
View the document10. Realisation in Schools
View the document11. Implementation Strategies
View the document12. Evaluation
View the document13. Recommendations for the Humanistic and International Dimension of Education
View the document14. Practical Suggestions for the Implementation of the Guidelines
View the documentReferences

4. Values, Society and Schooling

It has been suggested that the purpose of schooling is to promote the well-being of young people. Human well-being is defined ‘in terms of basic values such as survival, health, happiness, friendship, helping others (to an extent) insight, awareness, fulfillment, freedom, a sense of fair meaning in life’10. Clive Beck goes on to argue that the school can better play its distinctive part in achieving the goal of promoting human well-being if it greatly increases its emphasis on personal and social education. While not neglecting the traditional basics such as literacy, numeracy and scientific knowledge the school should give much more attention than at present ‘to fields such as values, culture, religion, politics, economics and ecology’11. These guidelines particularly pay attention to the ways in which values can be integrated into the curriculum.

10 BECK C Better Schools

11 BECK C ibid

The Guidelines are based on a view of the school as a cultural and social organism. Human beings are social animals and to survive and develop they must live interdependent lives within mutually supportive social settings. The school provides one such setting. Individual schools exhibit their own particular characteristics, rituals and behaviours. Each school is a distinctive culture of individuals and is also a powerful model for the wider society within which it exists. Schools, like society, depend on cooperative behaviour. The conduct of each individual citizen towards others is a principal outcome of an education system. Schools must attend to their educative responsibilities and strive to enable students to grow both personally and socially, thus allowing them to generalise from their school experience to society at large.

In society normative pressures and moral codes can be seen as social requirements which must be able to constrain individuals’ motives and actions when these conflict with long-term personal prudence or social harmony and efficiency12. The centrality of this concept to any cohesive social grouping is such that it must be at the heart of any school’s aims.

12 VINE I Moral Maturity in Socio-Cultural Perspective in Lawrence Kohlberg: Consensus and Controversy; Ed Modgil and Modgil Falmer 1985

Of course, students and teachers do not only inhabit the school environment, they also take more or less active parts in a large number of other social groupings; family groups, religious groups, social groups, political groups, and bring to the school their experiences of these groups. The school is, like all social groups, constantly in a state of change. Conflict, dissent, rejection are always present to an extent in institutions, not least schools. Alternative views will exist, sometimes challenging authority, often co-existing within an atmosphere of mutual toleration. As society becomes more and more diverse and more susceptible to internal conflict, there is a need to pay particular attention to the role of the school in the promotion of diversity. The ultimate objective must be to celebrate the richness of humanity and simultaneously promote an appreciation of the need for social cohesion.

Values and attitudes are central to the development of that role. We live in a diverse world but equally we live in a world that depends on co-operation and mutual understanding. Schools have a fundamental responsibility to promote these ideas. That is to say, the school as a community requires to develop a culture and ethos consistent with the ideals of co-operation and understanding. It must be a community in which peace, human rights, tolerance, international and intercultural understanding, solidarity and co-operation, peaceful conflict resolution and democratic organisation are fostered. These guidelines strive to provide a framework upon which each of these can be developed both within the subjects of the curriculum and the whole climate and ethos of the school.