chapter  1
16 Pages

Values

Working towards a clear understanding of values and valuing is a complicated business. The difficulty seems to be most acute when we think of all our thoughts and actions being imbued with values, and that even to believe in such a position is itself a value decision. Then, because we know that values can change and be learned, the teacher who explicitly includes values in their practice has to resolve the problem of the values they want for themselves and their students (and of course this is also a value decision). To do this the teacher needs to go beyond thinking of values as an expression of personal beliefs and begin to think of valuing as a practical and systematic activity. Values with all their theoretical and practical complexity then become an essential dimension of academic work that a teacher can strive to gain more insight into. In this chapter we will argue that the process of thinking about values and what it means to be a values-teacher will lead to a more reflexive practice that can provide a critical perspective to inform personal theories of higher education, research, teaching and academic life.