Scholarly article on topic 'Elementary School Teachers’ Views on Values Education'

Elementary School Teachers’ Views on Values Education Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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{Values / "Values Education" / "Character Education" / "Value Acquisition"}

Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Yunis Şahinkayasi, Özge Kelleci

Abstract The purpose of this study was to understand how to actualize values education in elementary education and have teachers’ views on it. Participants of the study consisted of six teachers giving values education. The data, collected with semi-structured interviews, were content-analyzed. The results revealed that participants have difficulties in planning, implementing and evaluating values education lessons in respect to learning outcomes, content, instructional materials, activities and methods, and they offered some solutions to them.

Academic research paper on topic "Elementary School Teachers’ Views on Values Education"

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Procedía - Social and Behavioral Sciences 93 (2013) 116 - 120

3rd World Conference on Learning, Teaching and Educational Leadership - WCLTA 2012

Elementary School Teachers' Views on Values Education

Yunis §AHINKAYASIa*, Ozge KELLECIb

"Assist. Prof. Dr, Mustafa Kemal University, Hatay, 31000, TURKEY bPhD. Student, Mustafa Kemal University, Hatay, 31000, TURKEY

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to understand how to actualize values education in elementary education and have teachers' views on it. Participants of the study consisted of six teachers giving values education. The data, collected with semi-structured interviews, were content-analyzed. The results revealed that participants have difficulties in planning, implementing and evaluating values education lessons in respect to learning outcomes, content, instructional materials, activities and methods, and they offered some solutions to them.

© 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and peer review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Ferhan Odaba§i Keywords: Values, Values Education, Character Education, Value Acquisition

1. Introduction

Advancing technology and globalization have speeded up the transition process of information society. In this regard, every state and its government have made an effort to transform their community into information society. Therefore, the role of schools has been crucial in this process. While information society has been gradually developed, values of the society are being ignored in today's world. Therefore, it is undeniable that there is an urgent need for an effective values education. In this sense, the role of schools in making students acquire national and universal values and in ensuring continuity of society has become more important (Qelikpazu & Akta§, 2011). Ministry of National Education (MONE) specified a purpose as "growing up citizens who contribute to themselves, their families, society, and surroundings and who are at peace with themselves, their families, and surroundings and are easygoing, cooperative, honest, virtuous, tolerant, generous, good and happy" (MONE, 2003). Since the year 2010, in order to accomplish this purpose, a "Values Education Directive" has been issued by MONE. These values were intended to be gained in Life Science, Religion Culture and Moral Knowledge, Social Studies and Counseling courses within the hidden curriculum of primary education.

Despite the fact that values education has been integrated in the schools of our country, immoral events have occurred frequently in recent years and have spreaded in many parts of the society, which has increased the need for acquiring effective values education (Kilin9 and Akyol, 2009; Belet and Deveci, 2008; Akkirpik, 2007). This situation raises the following question, "How should values education be given in schools?"

Lickona (1999) states that the role of teachers has the greatest importance in the acquisition of values. In this context, teachers should give the content of national and universal values, not just their own values. In addition, while teachers teach values to students, they should use appropriate instructional strategies, methods and techniques (Gelen, 2005; Gültekin, 2007; Bazarkulov, 2008). Therefore, teacher resources such as guide books should guide

* Corresponding Author: Yunis §ahinkayasi Tel.: +90 326 245 60 00 - 53 06 E-mail address: yunnus2001@yahoo.com

1877-0428 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and peer review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Ferhan Odaba§i

doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.09.162

teachers in terms of appropriate teaching methods and techniques for values education. However, the previous studies indicated that changing values education from one school to another causes insufficient values education curriculum; an attempt to gain teachers' own values rather than the content of universal values to students; and deficiency in teachers' pedagogical content knowledge about how to teach values (Arthur and Revell, 2006; Yalar, 2010; Baydar, 2009).

In this context, it is required to determine the problems in values education and have an understanding of how it is realized for more qualified values education. This study focused on how existing values education was realized, the problems faced and solutions brought to these problems.

2. Methodology

In this study, a qualitative research approach and purposive sampling method was preferred. In this framework, participants of the study were six teachers (two classroom teachers, one social studies teacher, one Turkish language teacher, one religious culture and moral knowledge teacher, and one guidance counselor) giving values education to first and second cycle of elementary schools.

The process of developing semi-structured interview guide follows as reviewing the related literature, specifying research question, and forming the last draft of the interview guide. After the draft was examined by a Turkish language expert and a specialist in the area of qualitative research, the final form was achieved through necessary corrections. In the spring term of the academic year 2011-2012, the data were collected from interviews lasted about 40-90 minutes. Collected data were content-analyzed by using both inductive and deductive approaches. In order to collect more qualified data, interviews were recorded. Later on, Interview recordings transcribed with the help of a text editor. Transcribed interviews were made more manageable (who, what, where, frequency-occurrence) by reading them a few times. First level of coding was performed by focusing on the responses given to the common questions and omitting those unrelated with the subject. In the second-level of coding, the conceptualization of the first level of data analysis was made. Finally, the coding system was obtained through forming themes and sub-themes. To ensure validity and reliability of the generated coding system, it was examined by a specialist in the area of qualitative research. Thus, coding system was terminated by making necessary corrections on the codes and themes.

3. Findings

3.1. Learning Objectives: All participants stated that learning objectives for values education do not exist in teachers' guide book and most of the participants considered other related objectives as insufficient in terms of quality and quantity. One participant commented on this issue as, "Unfortunately, there are not objectives about values education in the curriculum designed by Authority of the Turkish Education Board (Talim ve Terbiye Kurulu) Instead of this, there are objectives related to the lesson subject. And, values are given in that subject. For this reason, every teacher makes students acquire the objectives in his/her own way. This causes a great disadvantage. " Half of the participants stated that existing objectives are very general and closed. Some participants emphasized that objectives are in the cognitive domain, not in the affective domain and they are not in quality of being felt by students. These participants reported that one of the reasons why objectives remain in the cognitive domain is that it becomes difficult to make students acquire values as they grow. In addition, most participants stated that objectives are not appropriate for the target audience.

3.2. Content: Most of the participants stated that they did not like the content pertaining to values education and therefore, half of them expressed that they changed the content of related course book upon students' cognitive levels and interpretations. In this context, some of the participants pointed out that they concretized the content of the course book by considering students' needs and levels and thereby optimizing it for student environment and school context. Giving unwritten, unstructured and hidden curriculum of values education through direct activities and giving the content under general topics of the related courses were shown by most participants as the reasons for disapproval. Especially, participants frequently pointed out that the content was not connected to each other and not complied with the following instructional principles: from near to far, specific to general, concrete to abstract, and

simple to complex. One participant commented on this issue as, "There is no unity between units, between topics, which is our biggest problem."

3.3. Instructional Activity: Most of the participants stated that they accessed the teaching activities from teachers' guide book or developed the activities themselves. Some participants also expressed that they reached teaching activities on the Internet and from their colleagues' resources. Considering the types of the activities, it is revealed that most participants preferred giving examples from real life, indicating role model and making drama. Most of them considered the activities of student workbook and course book as insufficient in terms of quantity and quality. In addition, it was revealed that participants tried to prepare instructional activities, including more stories. However, most of them admitted that the activities they developed were not effective and efficient.

3.4. Instructional Material: All participants expressed that they reached the instructional materials on the Internet; half of participants reached them from teachers' guide book, student course book and workbook. Some of the participants reported that they accessed the instructional materials from their colleagues and from book stores. Considering types of the materials, it was revealed that participants frequently reached the story-type materials. Some participants expressed that they used video, music and photographs in their lessons. In addition, most of the participants stated that available materials were insufficient in terms of quality and quantity. Furthermore, all participants explained that they needed multimedia materials for values education and they considered themselves as insufficient in developing multimedia materials. One participant, commenting on this issue, stated that, "... Certainly, there must be materials appealing to the five senses. But, unfortunately such materials do not exist... "

3.5. Teaching Process: All participants stated that they did not write any lesson plans to plan, implement and evaluate values education, but they made lesson plans mentally, and also they considered lesson plans in teachers' guide books as inefficient. Furthermore, most of the participants emphasized that they benefited from teachers' guide books while making lesson plans, but they found lesson plans in these books insufficient. Some participants, however, expressed that there is no planning in teachers' guide books. A participant clarified this issue as, ". That is, 'let's teach', let's teach one value, but there is a huge gap about how to do it... " Some participants disclosed that they taught lessons through direct activities and under general topics of the other courses. Most of the participants stated that they used case study method in values education. Some participants expressed that they used drama, Socratic Method, brain storming, discussion methods and interviewing with parents. Most of the participants reported that they used only role model approach for values education. Half of participants stated that they gave immediate feedback in teaching process. Some participants reported that they corrected behavior disorders by having students watch videos, giving verbal feedback, directing them to various resources, and repeating the topics. Most of the participants explained that they motivated students through rewarding in teaching process. Most participants explained that the best way to understand whether or not students acquire values is to observe their behaviors.

3.6. Teacher Qualifications: Most of the participants articulated that they found their pedagogical and content knowledge insufficient due to not receiving pre-service and in-service training about how to give values education. Furthermore, most participants expressed that they remained at cognitive domain in acquiring students values rather than proceeding to affective domain. Some of them attributed this to the inefficiency of teachers' guide book activities and to strictly adhering to traditional approaches. One participant put it this way, ". I told you, at first related to topic; we are a bit of traditionalist, we come from a traditional education. The first thing we try to give is generally cognitively loaded values. So, for example, giving only information... "Another noteworthy finding was that most participants found themselves inadequate in developing materials through a computer. Half of the participants emphasized that teachers should also have values for a more effective values education. One participant made particular emphasis on this issue, "For example, as a teacher you are talking about justice. But if you are unjust between two students, whatever activity, plan or study you do, you are zero!" Some of the participants stated that teachers should have cognitive knowledge about the value to be acquired. Besides, some participants expressed that using teachers' guide book effectively is a requirement for a more effective values education

3.7. Barriers to Value Acquisition: Most of the participants emphasized that insufficient school conditions were the most frequent hindrance in value acquisition. In this context, half of the participants drew attention, especially, to insufficient hardware in schools and to insufficient technological infrastructure in schools. One participant illuminated this topic as, ".There is no place at my school to show animations to children. For example, we don't

have a projector. Of course, I could have used computers much more productively if they had been available..." On the other hand, some participants pointed out to negative effects of media and family factors on students' value acquisition. They stressed that there is a need to give training to teachers-parents-peers in order to overcome the obstacles.

4. Discussion, Conclusion and Suggestions

Teachers are directly responsible for effective values education. For this reason, teachers should be very competent on teaching strategies, methods and techniques of values education. However, teachers haven't received pre-service and in-service training for values education. Research findings indicated that teachers need to receive the related training about it. Yalar (2010) also emphasized that teachers should take at least one qualified course pertaining to values education in pre-service period.

The research findings indicated that existing teaching materials and activities are insufficient in giving values both qualitatively and quantitatively. Concordantly, it was revealed that there are not instructional materials and activities for every value in existing resources, and existing materials and activities are respectively limited to stories and giving real-life examples. For all values, therefore, instructional activities and multimedia materials should be prepared and developed. It can be useful to prepare activities, especially, involving students to participate actively.

Findings indicated that teachers were incompetent in developing multimedia materials and teaching activities pertaining to values education. Bailey, Tettegah and Bradley (2005) also support this finding and they stated that teachers are incompetent in developing multimedia materials for values education. Furthermore, another finding is that teachers are inefficient in making students feel values. One of the findings about learning objectives was that the objectives related to values were not felt to students, that is, objectives remained in cognitive domain. For one reason, teachers haven't taken any pre-service and in-service training about values education before, and learning objectives in teacher-student resources remain in cognitive domain. In order to have students achieve objectives in affective domain, Kamradt and Kamradt (1999) drew attention that it is necessary to plan teaching process for objectives in cognitive and psychomotor domain, too. In another study, Kilmf and Akyol (2009) explained that instead of being in affective domain, presence of learning objectives in cognitive domain negatively affects values education. Therefore, learning objectives of values education in existing resources should be located in cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains and teachers should be supported with sufficient knowledge and skills as well.

Furthermore, findings indicated that the content of values education is not structured and connected to one another. Therefore, teachers interpret the content of course books depending on their perceptions. Absence of a values education curriculum, hidden and disconnected content may result in teaching values from teachers' own value perceptions. Arthur and Revell (2006) examined teacher candidates' experiences in values education and found that they have different opinions of values education. Therefore, the content of values education can be structured in accordance with teaching principles (from simple to complex, from easy to difficult, from concrete to abstract, from near to far); it can be given in the courses, except for the related four courses; for example it can be given in a separate course or a unit can be prepared to sum values given at the end of the terms and multimedia materials and instructional activities can be enriched accordingly. Boyd, Dooley and Felton (2006) emphasized that the content need to be enriched through activities requiring active participation in making students feel values.

This study indicated that it is necessary to include family, social environment and media alongside schools in the process of values education. Yalar (2010) and Qengelci (2010) also drew attention to effects of hindering factors, such as media, environment and family, on values education. Akkiprik (2007) pointed out that families and societies should contribute to students' character development, strengthen their character traits and involve them in this process. Qengelci (2010) indicated that activities outside the classroom for values education in elementary schools are not performed sufficiently. Furthermore, the necessity of visual and auditory materials for values education was also emphasized (Yalar, 2010). At this point, values education should not be limited to existing four courses, should support activities outside the classroom and qualified multimedia materials should be developed for all values. Besides, developing multimedia materials by teachers increases the effectiveness of values education.

The findings on the process of values education pointed out that teachers did not make any written planning for values education, they frequently benefit from teachers' guide book. Qengelci (2010) deduced that teachers did not systematically implement the approaches of values education and they taught values in an unplanned manner and only when the need arises during a lesson. However, teaching process of values education should be planned to be

more effective. In this context teacher candidates can be provided with training in making lesson plans for values education and implementing them in the first year of their profession. In addition, sample lesson plans and templates for values education can be developed.

This study revealed that case study is the most common instructional method used in the process of values education. It was understood that drama, Socratic Method, brainstorming and discussion were also used. Qengelci (2010) stated that teachers used methods such as observation, case study, discussion, Socratic Method and interviewing with parents in implementing values education in the course of Social Studies. However, this study revealed that among the frequently used methods only role model approach was used, but other approaches such as moral reasoning, value description and analysis of value were not used at all. In order to make values education more effective, it should be supported by these approaches. In this study, it was revealed that teachers frequently use observation method to measure whether students acquire values or not, which supports the findings about frequent evaluation method, observation, in the related literature (Qengelci, 2010; Can, 2008).

Consequently, three major implications can be derived form this study. Firstly, both pre-service and in-service teachers need acquiring necessary planning and teaching skills as well as preparing instructional multimedia materials for values education. Secondly, the elementary school curriculum should be revised so as to have a complete and coherent content of values education. Parallel to this, teachers' guide books and course books should be rewritten. Finally, an instructional material bank peculiar to values education should be prepared and made available to all teachers who are responsible for values education.

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