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Essays About Values: 5 Essay Examples Plus 10 Prompts

Similar to how our values guide us, let this guide with essays about values and writing prompts help you write your essay.

Values are the core principles that guide the actions we take and the choices we make. They are the cornerstones of our identity. On a community or organizational level, values are the moral code that every member must embrace to live harmoniously and work together towards shared goals. 

We acquire our values from different sources such as parents, mentors, friends, cultures, and experiences. All of these build on one another — some rejected as we see fit — for us to form our perception of our values and what will lead us to a happy and fulfilled life.

5 Essay Examples

1. what today’s classrooms can learn from ancient cultures by linda flanagan, 2. stand out to your hiring panel with a personal value statement by maggie wooll, 3. make your values mean something by patrick m. lencioni, 4. how greed outstripped need by beth azar, 5. a shift in american family values is fueling estrangement by joshua coleman, 1. my core values, 2. how my upbringing shaped my values, 3. values of today’s youth, 4. values of a good friend, 5. an experience that shaped your values, 6. remembering our values when innovating, 7. important values of school culture, 8. books that influenced your values, 9. religious faith and moral values, 10. schwartz’s theory of basic values.

“Connectedness is another core value among Maya families, and teachers seek to cultivate it… While many American teachers also value relationships with their students, that effort is undermined by the competitive environment seen in many Western classrooms.”

Ancient communities keep their traditions and values of a hands-off approach to raising their kids. They also preserve their hunter-gatherer mindsets and others that help their kids gain patience, initiative, a sense of connectedness, and other qualities that make a helpful child.

“How do you align with the company’s mission and add to its culture? Because it contains such vital information, your personal value statement should stand out on your resume or in your application package.”

Want to rise above other candidates in the jobs market? Then always highlight your value statement. A personal value statement should be short but still, capture the aspirations and values of the company. The essay provides an example of a captivating value statement and tips for crafting one.

“Values can set a company apart from the competition by clarifying its identity and serving as a rallying point for employees. But coming up with strong values—and sticking to them—requires real guts.”

Along with the mission and vision, clear values should dictate a company’s strategic goals. However, several CEOs still needed help to grasp organizational values fully. The essay offers a direction in setting these values and impresses on readers the necessity to preserve them at all costs. 

“‘He compared the values held by people in countries with more competitive forms of capitalism with the values of folks in countries that have a more cooperative style of capitalism… These countries rely more on strategic cooperation… rather than relying mostly on free-market competition as the United States does.”

The form of capitalism we have created today has shaped our high value for material happiness. In this process, psychologists said we have allowed our moral and ethical values to drift away from us for greed to take over. You can also check out these essays about utopia .

“From the adult child’s perspective, there might be much to gain from an estrangement: the liberation from those perceived as hurtful or oppressive, the claiming of authority in a relationship, and the sense of control over which people to keep in one’s life. For the mother or father, there is little benefit when their child cuts off contact.”

It is most challenging when the bonds between parent and child weaken in later years. Psychologists have been navigating this problem among modern families, which is not an easy conflict to resolve. It requires both parties to give their best in humbling themselves and understanding their loved ones, no matter how divergent their values are. 

10 Writing  Prompts On Essays About Values

For this topic prompt, contemplate your non-negotiable core values and why you strive to observe them at all costs. For example, you might value honesty and integrity above all else. Expound on why cultivating fundamental values leads to a happy and meaningful life. Finally, ponder other values you would like to gain for your future self. Write down how you have been practicing to adopt these aspired values. 

Essays About Values: How my upbringing shaped my values

Many of our values may have been instilled in us during childhood. This essay discusses the essential values you gained from your parents or teachers while growing up. Expound on their importance in helping you flourish in your adult years. Then, offer recommendations on what households, schools, or communities can do to ensure that more young people adopt these values.

Is today’s youth lacking essential values, or is there simply a shift in what values generations uphold? Strive to answer this and write down the healthy values that are emerging and dying. Then think of ways society can preserve healthy values while doing away with bad ones. Of course, this change will always start at home, so also encourage parents, as role models, to be mindful of their words, actions and behavior.  

The greatest gift in life is friendship. In this essay, enumerate the top values a friend should have. You may use your best friend as an example. Then, cite the best traits your best friend has that have influenced you to be a better version of yourself. Finally, expound on how these values can effectively sustain a healthy friendship in the long term. 

We all have that one defining experience that has forever changed how we see life and the values we hold dear. Describe yours through storytelling with the help of our storytelling guide . This experience may involve a decision, a conversation you had with someone, or a speech you heard at an event.  

With today’s innovation, scientists can make positive changes happen. But can we truly exercise our values when we fiddle with new technologies whose full extent of positive and adverse effects we do not yet understand such as AI? Contemplate this question and look into existing regulations on how we curb the creation or use of technologies that go against our values. Finally, assess these rules’ effectiveness and other options society has. 

Essays About Values: Important values of school culture

Highlight a school’s role in honing a person’s values. Then, look into the different aspects of your school’s culture. Identify which best practices distinct in your school are helping students develop their values. You could consider whether your teachers exhibit themselves as admirable role models or specific parts of the curriculum that help you build good character. 

In this essay, recommend your readers to pick up your favorite books, particularly those that served as pathways to enlightening insights and values. To start, provide a summary of the book’s story. It would be better if you could do so without revealing too much to avoid spoiling your readers’ experience. Then, elaborate on how you have applied the values you learned from the book.

For many, religious faith is the underlying reason for their values. For this prompt, explore further the inextricable links between religion and values. If you identify with a certain religion, share your thoughts on the values your sector subscribes to. You can also tread the more controversial path on the conflicts of religious values with socially accepted beliefs or practices, such as abortion. 

Dive deeper into the ten universal values that social psychologist Shalom Schwartz came up with: power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, and security. Look into their connections and conflicts against each other. Then, pick your favorite value and explain how you relate to it the most. Also, find if value conflicts within you, as theorized by Schwartz.

Make sure to check out our round-up of the best essay checkers . If you want to use the latest grammar software, read our guide on using an AI grammar checker .

essay questions about values education

Yna Lim is a communications specialist currently focused on policy advocacy. In her eight years of writing, she has been exposed to a variety of topics, including cryptocurrency, web hosting, agriculture, marketing, intellectual property, data privacy and international trade. A former journalist in one of the top business papers in the Philippines, Yna is currently pursuing her master's degree in economics and business.

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  • A Research Guide
  • Essay Topics

120 Education Essay Topics

Education essay topics: how to choose the perfect one, education argumentative essay topics:.

  • The impact of standardized testing on students’ learning outcomes
  • The effectiveness of online learning compared to traditional classroom education
  • The role of technology in enhancing education
  • The importance of teaching critical thinking skills in schools
  • The benefits and drawbacks of homeschooling
  • The impact of school uniforms on students’ academic performance and self-expression
  • The necessity of teaching financial literacy in schools
  • The influence of social media on students’ academic performance
  • The pros and cons of single-sex education
  • The significance of arts education in fostering creativity and innovation
  • The role of physical education in promoting a healthy lifestyle among students
  • The impact of inclusive education on students with disabilities
  • The effectiveness of sex education programs in schools
  • The importance of teaching cultural diversity in schools
  • The role of standardized curriculum in preparing students for future careers

Education Persuasive Essay Topics:

  • The importance of implementing comprehensive sex education in schools
  • The benefits of incorporating technology in the classroom
  • The advantages of year-round schooling
  • The need for inclusive education for students with disabilities
  • The benefits of arts education in fostering creativity and critical thinking
  • The importance of teaching media literacy to combat fake news
  • The necessity of implementing mandatory physical education classes
  • The advantages of teaching coding and computer programming in schools
  • The need for comprehensive mental health education in schools
  • The benefits of implementing bilingual education programs
  • The importance of teaching environmental education to promote sustainability
  • The necessity of incorporating mindfulness and meditation practices in schools
  • The advantages of teaching conflict resolution and empathy skills in schools
  • The need for comprehensive and inclusive LGBTQ+ education in schools

Education Compare and Contrast Essay Topics:

  • Traditional Education vs Online Education
  • Public Schools vs Private Schools
  • Homeschooling vs Traditional Schooling
  • Standardized Testing vs Alternative Assessment Methods
  • Single-Sex Education vs Co-education
  • Vocational Education vs Academic Education
  • Montessori Education vs Traditional Education
  • In-person Learning vs Distance Learning
  • Charter Schools vs Public Schools
  • Early Childhood Education vs Primary Education
  • Special Education Inclusion vs Special Education Separate Classes
  • Education in Developed Countries vs Education in Developing Countries
  • Education in Urban Areas vs Education in Rural Areas
  • Education in Public Universities vs Education in Private Universities
  • Education in the Past vs Education in the Present

Education Informative Essay Topics:

  • The impact of technology on education: Advantages and disadvantages
  • The importance of early childhood education in cognitive development
  • The benefits of inclusive education for students with special needs
  • The role of standardized testing in evaluating student performance
  • The effects of homeschooling on children’s social and academic development
  • The significance of financial literacy education in preparing students for the future
  • The impact of teacher-student relationships on academic achievement
  • The benefits of bilingual education in a globalized world
  • The role of arts education in fostering creativity and critical thinking skills
  • The challenges and benefits of online learning in higher education
  • The importance of sex education in schools for promoting healthy relationships and preventing teenage pregnancy
  • The impact of socioeconomic status on educational opportunities and outcomes
  • The benefits of physical education in promoting overall health and well-being
  • The role of character education in developing ethical and responsible citizens
  • The effects of school bullying on students’ mental health and academic performance

Education Cause Effect Essay Topics:

  • The impact of technology on student learning outcomes
  • The effects of standardized testing on student motivation and performance
  • The influence of parental involvement on student academic achievement
  • The consequences of inadequate funding for schools on educational quality
  • The relationship between teacher-student relationships and student engagement
  • The effects of early childhood education on long-term academic success
  • The impact of school bullying on student mental health and academic performance
  • The consequences of high student-to-teacher ratios on classroom learning
  • The relationship between socioeconomic status and educational attainment
  • The effects of inclusive education on students with disabilities
  • The influence of teacher quality on student achievement
  • The consequences of school dropout rates on future employment opportunities
  • The impact of school nutrition programs on student health and academic performance
  • The effects of school violence on student well-being and educational outcomes
  • The relationship between access to educational resources and educational inequality

Education Narrative Essay Topics:

  • The transformative power of education: A personal journey
  • Overcoming obstacles in pursuit of education: My story of resilience
  • The role of teachers in shaping my educational experience
  • Learning beyond the classroom: Lessons from real-life experiences
  • The impact of technology on education: A personal perspective
  • The importance of cultural diversity in education: A personal reflection
  • The influence of family on my educational journey
  • The challenges and rewards of homeschooling: A personal narrative
  • The power of mentorship in shaping my educational goals
  • The role of extracurricular activities in my overall education
  • The impact of studying abroad on my personal growth and education
  • The significance of inclusive education: A personal narrative
  • The value of lifelong learning: My continuous educational journey
  • The impact of standardized testing on my educational experience
  • The role of education in shaping my career aspirations

Education Opinion Essay Topics:

  • The benefits and drawbacks of online learning in the modern education system
  • The role of technology in enhancing classroom instruction
  • The effectiveness of homework in promoting student learning
  • The benefits and challenges of inclusive education for students with disabilities
  • The role of arts education in fostering creativity and innovation
  • The influence of socioeconomic status on educational opportunities and outcomes
  • The importance of teaching financial literacy in schools
  • The impact of social media on students’ mental health and academic performance
  • The benefits and drawbacks of single-sex education
  • The role of standardized curriculum in promoting educational equity
  • The effectiveness of early childhood education in preparing children for school
  • The importance of teaching cultural diversity and inclusivity in schools

Education Evaluation Essay Topics:

  • The effectiveness of online learning in comparison to traditional classroom education
  • Evaluating the impact of standardized testing on student learning outcomes
  • Assessing the effectiveness of inclusive education for students with special needs
  • The role of technology in enhancing educational experiences
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of teacher training programs in improving classroom instruction
  • Assessing the impact of homework on student achievement
  • The effectiveness of school vouchers in improving educational opportunities
  • Evaluating the influence of parental involvement on student academic performance
  • Assessing the effectiveness of early childhood education programs in preparing children for school
  • The impact of class size on student engagement and learning outcomes
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of bilingual education in promoting language acquisition
  • Assessing the impact of school uniforms on student behavior and academic performance
  • The effectiveness of character education programs in fostering positive values and ethics
  • Evaluating the influence of socioeconomic status on educational attainment
  • Assessing the effectiveness of alternative education models, such as Montessori or Waldorf, in meeting student needs

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Helping Your Students Identify Their Values

Have your students write about the principles they want to live by, using these prompts to help them get started.

Three teenage students work together, writing and smiling, while their teacher assists.

The beginning of the school year is a good time to ask students to reflect on what gives them guiding direction in their lives. And writing their guiding principles for life is a perfect assignment for doing so.

For teachers of students fifth grade and up, ask your students to describe the laws by which they want to live their life. To help them get the idea, discuss any biographies they have read or watched (or watch clips or read excerpts together) and then discuss or list together a summary of the rules by which these individuals seemed to live their lives. Also ask students the same question about characters in novels, adults in their lives, or historical figures.

Getting Started

Question prompts will help students start thinking more deeply about their own values or principles:

  • Whom do you admire? List three of that person’s admirable qualities.
  • Describe an incident or event from which you learned a lesson “the hard way.”
  • What could you change about yourself to become a better person?
  • What three qualities do you value in a friend? A teacher? A parent?
  • Who has been most important in your life in helping you establish your values? Please explain.
  • What are the three most important values you think it will be important to encourage in your children one day?
  • What is the one rule that you believe is important to live your life by?
  • If we lived in a perfect world, how would people behave differently than they do now?

You may find it useful to have each student write their own answers to some or all of the prompts first and then ask students to share these in pairs, with a segment of a class, or in a whole-class discussion.

Teachers should follow up students’ statements with questions to help them think more deeply about their answers. For example, what makes these qualities worth admiring and worth following? How did you choose that particular incident or example or person? Why are these qualities or values so important to you?

Crafting a Reflective Essay

After students have had a chance to think about and discuss the prompts, they will be ready to start to write. A reflective essay of this sort can be linked in format to students’ appropriate grade-level language arts writing standards and objectives. Instruct them to reflect on the past year, both in and out of school, and write about what they consider to be the values or principles by which they want to live their lives, and why.

In my work with teachers who have guided students through this task, the resulting essays were moving, revealing, and inspiring. Students have often told stories about family members and important events in their lives. They have addressed such themes as love, responsibility, respect, relationships, perseverance, self-discipline, courage, honesty, and kindness—and often in combination.

One student, writing about how he and his siblings were about to be removed from their home by child protective services following the arrest of their mother, described how their mother’s friend, whom they had never met, fought for legal custody of them when no other family member appeared. His law of life was the importance of giving love even to people he does not know. Another student wrote, “I think loving others is the most important. A person must have love in his or her life. Love makes a person feel important.”

Here is part of an eighth grader’s essay about perseverance:

The key to success in my life is perseverance. My purpose is to continue to reach my goals, despite difficulties that I may face. My great grandmother was a person who struggled to make sure her family would be successful. Born in 1902, she was a maid who worked extremely hard just to make ends meet. She walked miles to get to work because she didn’t have money for transportation; after working in someone’s kitchen all day, she came home to take in laundry. Her driving desire to make life better for her children and theirs motivated her to persevere in a time when being black meant you were considered less than nothing. (Excerpted from Urban Dreams: Stories of Hope, Resilience, and Character .)

Moving from Reflection to Application

Ask students at the start of the school year to commit themselves to living by their principles or laws from the outset. Throughout the school year, you can have them reflect on what they wrote and committed to, check in with others on how they are doing on following through, and revise their laws if necessary.

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The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Education

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15 Values Education

Graham Oddie, Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder

  • Published: 02 January 2010
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This article offers a metaphysical account of value as part of a general approach to values education. Value endorsements and their transmission are unavoidable in educational settings, as they are everywhere. The question, then, is not whether to teach values but which values to teach, in what contexts and how to teach them effectively. This article discusses the contestedness of value endorsements, the place for noncognitive value endorsements in education and the role of inculcating beliefs in education. The article also describes the rationalist and empiricist response problem of intrinsic motivation.

Moral education has received a great deal of attention in the philosophy of education. But morality is just one aspect of the evaluative, which embraces not just the deontic concepts—right, wrong, permissible, obligatory, supererogatory, and so on—but also the full range of concepts with evaluative content. This includes the so‐called thin evaluative concepts (e.g., good, bad, better, worst ); the thick evaluative concepts (e.g., courageous, compassionate, callous, elegant, cruel, charming, clumsy, humble, tendentious, witty, craven, generous, salacious, sexy, sarcastic, vindictive ); and the concepts that lie somewhere between the extremes of thick and thin (e.g., just, virtuous, sublime, vicious, beautiful ). Value, broadly construed to embrace the entire range of evaluative concepts, presents an educationist with some problems. Should values be part of the curriculum at all? If so, which values is it legitimate for educators to teach and how should they be taught?

1. The Contestedness of Value Endorsements

Philosophers disagree wildly about the metaphysics of value, its epistemological status, and the standing of various putative values. Given the heavily contested nature of value, as well as of the identity and weight of particular putative values, what business do we have teaching values? Perhaps we don't know enough about values to teach them (perhaps we don't know anything at all 1 ).

It might be objected to this argument against the teaching of values, from value's contestedness, that value theory is no different from, say, physics, biology, or even mathematics. There is much about these disciplines that is contested, but no one argues that that's a good reason to purge them from the curriculum. This comparison, however, is not totally convincing. True, philosophers of physics disagree over the correct interpretation of quantum mechanics, but there is little disagreement over its applications, its significance, or the necessity for students to master it. Similarly, even if there is disagreement over the foundations of mathematics or biology, few deny that we should give children a solid grounding in arithmetic or evolution.

The contestedness of value has been used to argue for a “fact/value” distinction that, when applied to educational contexts, leads to the injunction that teachers should stick to the “facts,” eschewing the promulgation of “value judgments.” Given the contestedness of values, an educator should pare her value endorsements down to their purely natural (nonevaluative) contents, indicating at most that, as a matter of personal preference, she takes a certain evaluative stance.

2. The Value Endorsements Informing the Educational Enterprise

Attempts to purge education of value endorsements are, of course, doomed. Value endorsements are not just pervasive, they are inevitable. The educational enterprise is about the transmission of knowledge and the skills necessary to acquire, extend, and improve knowledge. But what is knowledge—along with truth, understanding, depth, empirical adequacy, simplicity, coherence, completeness, and so on—if not a cognitive good or value? 2 And what is an improvement in knowledge if not an increase in cognitive value? Sometimes cognitive values are clearly instrumental—acquiring knowledge might help you become a physicist, a doctor, or an artist, say. But instrumental value is parasitic upon the intrinsic value of something else—here, knowledge of the world, relieving suffering, or creating things of beauty.

The enterprise of creating and transmitting knowledge is freighted with cognitive value, but episodes within the enterprise also express particular value endorsements. A curriculum, for example, is an endorsement of the value of attending to the items on the menu. It says, “ These are worth studying.” The practice of a discipline is laden with norms and values. To practice the discipline you have to learn how to do it well : to learn norms and values governing, inter alia, citing and acknowledging others who deserve it; honestly recording and relaying results; not forging, distorting, or suppressing data; humbly acknowledging known shortcomings; courageously, but not recklessly, taking cognitive risks; eschewing exaggeration of the virtues of a favored theory; having the integrity to pursue unwelcome consequences of discoveries. In mastering a discipline, one is inducted into a rich network of value endorsements.

The thesis of the separability of fact and value, and the associated bracketing of value endorsements, is not just tendentious (it precludes the possibility of facts about value) but also is so clearly unimplementable that it is perhaps puzzling that it has ever been taken entirely seriously. The educational enterprise is laden with value endorsements distinctive of the enterprise of knowledge and the transmission of those very endorsements to the next generation. Without the transmission of those values, our educational institutions would disappear. So, even if the value endorsements at the core of education are contested, the enterprise itself requires their endorsement and transmission.

3. The Place for Noncognitive Value Endorsements in Education

To what extent does the transmission of cognitive values commit us to the teaching of other values? It would be fallacious to infer that, in any educational setting, all and any values are on the table—that it is always permissible, or always obligatory, for a teacher to impart his value endorsements when those are irrelevant to the central aims of the discipline at hand. For certain value issues, a teacher may have no business promulgating his endorsements. For example, the values that inform physics don't render it desirable for a physicist to impart his views on abortion during a lab. Physicists typically have no expertise on that issue.

But it would be equally fallacious to infer that cognitive values are tightly sealed off from noncognitive values. Certain cognitive values, however integral to the enterprise of knowledge, are identical to values with wider application. Some I have already adverted to: honesty, courage, humility, integrity, and the like. These have different applications in different contexts, but it would be odd if values bearing the same names within and without the academy were distinct. So, in transmitting cognitive values, one is ipso facto involved in transmitting values that have wider application. 3 This doesn't imply that an honest researcher will be an honest spouse—she might lie about an affair. And an unscrupulous teacher might steal an idea from one of his students without being tempted to embezzle. People are inconsistent about the values on which they act, but these are the same values honored in the one context and dishonored in the other.

I have argued that there are cognitive values informing the educational enterprise that need to be endorsed and transmitted, and that these are identical to cognate values that have broader application. However, this doesn't exhaust the values that require attention in educational settings. There are disciplines—ethics, for example—in which the subject matter itself involves substantive value issues. In a course on the morality of abortion, for example, it would be impossible to avoid talking about the value of certain beings and the disvalue of ending their existence. Here, explicit attention must be paid to noncognitive values. There are other disciplines—the arts, for example—in which the point of education is to teach students to discern aesthetically valuable features, to develop evaluative frameworks to facilitate future investigations, and to produce valuable works. Within such disciplines it would be incredibly silly to avoid explicit evaluation.

4. The Role of Inculcating Beliefs in Education

Grant that there are noncognitive values, as well as cognitive values, at the core of certain disciplines. Still, given that there are radically conflicting views about these—the value of a human embryo, or the value of Duchamp's Fountain—shouldn't teachers steer clear of explicitly transmitting value endorsements? Here, at least, isn't it the teacher's responsibility to distance himself from his value endorsements and teach the subject in some “value‐neutral” way?

In contentious areas, teachers should obviously be honest and thorough in their treatment of the full range of conflicting arguments. Someone who thinks abortion is impermissible should give both Thomson's and Tooley's famous arguments for permissibility a full hearing. Someone who thinks abortion permissible should do the same for Marquis's. 4 However, even if some fact about value were known , there are still good reasons for teachers not to indoctrinate, precisely because inducing value knowledge is the aim of the course.

Value knowledge, like all knowledge, is not just a matter of having true beliefs. Knowledge is believing what is true for good reasons. To impart knowledge, one must cultivate the ability to embrace truths for good reasons. Students are overly impressed by the fact that their teachers have certain beliefs, and they are motivated to embrace such beliefs for that reason alone. So, it's easy for a teacher to impart favored beliefs, regardless of where the truth lies. A teacher will do a better job of imparting reasonable belief—and the critical skills that her students will need to pursue and possess knowledge—if she does not reveal overbearingly her beliefs. That's a common teaching strategy whatever the subject matter, not just value. 5

The appropriate educational strategy may appear to be derived from a separation of the evaluative from the non‐evaluative, but its motivation is quite different. It is because the aim of values education is value knowledge (which involves reasonable value beliefs) rather than mere value belief, that instructors should eschew indoctrination.

5. The Natural/Value Distinction Examined

In ethics and the arts, noncognitive values constitute the subject matter. But that isn't the norm. In many subject areas, values aren't the explicit subject matter. Despite this, in most disciplines it isn't clear where the subject itself ends and questions of value begin. Even granted a rigorous nonvalue/value distinction, for logical reasons there are, inevitably, claims that straddle the divide. It would be undesirable, perhaps impossible, to excise such claims from the educational environment.

Consider a concrete example. An evolutionary biologist is teaching a class on the evolutionary explanation of altruism. He argues that altruistic behavior is explicable as “selfishness” at the level of genes. His claim, although naturalistic, has implications for the value of altruistic acts. Suppose animals are genetically disposed to make greater sacrifices for those more closely genetically related to them than for those only distantly related, because such sacrifices help spread their genes. Suppose that the value of an altruistic sacrifice is partly a function of overcoming excessive self‐regard. It would follow that the value of some altruistic acts—those on behalf of close relatives—would be diminished. And that is a consequence properly classified as evaluative. Of course, this inference appeals to a proposition connecting value with the natural, but such propositions are pervasive and ineliminable.

Here is an argument for the unsustainability of a clean natural/value divide among propositions. A clean divide goes hand in glove with the Humean thesis that a purely evaluative claim cannot be validly inferred from purely natural claims, and vice versa. Let N be a purely natural claim and V a purely evaluative claim. Consider the conditional claim C : if N then V . Suppose C is a purely natural claim. Then from two purely natural claims ( N and C ) one could infer a purely evaluative claim V . Suppose instead that C is purely evaluative. The conjunction of two purely evaluative (natural) claims is itself purely evaluative (natural). Likewise, the negation of a purely evaluative (natural) proposition is itself purely evaluative (natural). 6 Consequently, not‐ N , like N , is purely natural, and so one could derive a purely evaluative claim ( C ) from a purely natural claim (not‐ N ). Alternatively, not‐ V , like V , is purely evaluative. So, one could derive a purely natural claim (not‐ N ) from two purely evaluative claims ( C and not‐ V ).

Propositions like C are natural‐value hybrids : they cannot be coherently assigned a place on either side of a sharp natural/value dichotomy. Hybrids are not just propositions that have both natural and evaluative content (like the thick evaluative attributes). Rather, their characteristic feature is that their content is not the conjunction of their purely natural and purely evaluative contents.

Hybrids are rife among the propositions in which we traffic. Jack believes Cheney unerringly condones what's good (i.e., Cheney condones X if and only if X is good), and Jill, that Cheney unerringly condones what's not good. Neither Jack nor Jill knows that Cheney has condoned the waterboarding of suspected terrorists. As it happens, both are undecided on the question of the value of waterboarding suspected terrorists. They don't disagree on any purely natural fact (neither knows what Cheney condoned); nor do they disagree on any purely evaluative fact (neither knows whether condoning waterboarding is good). They disagree on this: Cheney condones waterboarding suspected terrorists if and only if condoning such is good . Suppose both come to learn the purely natural fact that Cheney condones waterboarding. They will deduce from their beliefs conflicting, purely evaluative conclusions: Jack that condoning waterboarding is good; Jill that condoning waterboarding is not good. So, given that folk endorse rival hybrid propositions, settling a purely natural fact will impact the value endorsements of the participants differentially because natural facts and value endorsements are entangled via a rich set of hybrids.

I don't deny that there are purely natural or purely evaluative claims, nor that certain claims can be disentangled into their pure components. I am arguing that there are hybrids—propositions that are not equivalent to the conjunction of their natural and evaluative components. The fact that we all endorse hybrid claims means that learning something purely natural will often exert rational pressure on evaluative judgments (and vice versa). An education in the purely natural sciences may thus necessitate a reevaluation of values; and an education in values may necessitate a rethinking of purely natural beliefs.

6. Intrinsically Motivating Facts and the Queerness of Knowledge of Value

I have argued that natural and evaluative endorsements cannot be neatly disentangled in an educational setting for purely logical reasons. Still, it's problematic to embrace teaching a subject unless we have a body of knowledge . For there to be value knowledge there must be knowable truths about value. A common objection to these is that they would be very queer —unlike anything else that we are familiar with in the universe.

The queerness of knowable value facts can be elicited by considering their impact on motivation. Purely natural facts are motivationally inert. For example, becoming acquainted with the fact that this glass contains potable water (or a lethal dose of poison) does not by itself necessarily motivate me to drink (or refrain from drinking). Only in combination with an antecedent desire on my part (to quench my thirst, or to commit suicide) does this purely natural fact provide me with a motivation. A purely evaluative fact would, however, be different. Suppose it's a fact that the best thing for me to do now would be to drink potable water, and that I know that fact. Then it would be very odd for me to say, “I know that drinking potable water would be the best thing for me to do now, but I am totally unmoved to do so.” One explanation of this oddness is that knowledge of a value fact entails a corresponding desire: value facts necessarily motivate those who become acoquainted with them.

Why would this intrinsic power to motivate be queer rather than simply interesting ? The reason is that beliefs and desires seem logically independent—having a certain set of beliefs does not entail the having of any particular desires. Beliefs about value would violate this apparent independence. Believing that something is good would entail having a corresponding desire . Additionally, simply by virtue of imparting to your student a value belief you would thereby instill in him the corresponding motivation to act. How can mere belief necessitate a desire? Believing something good is one thing; desiring it is something else.

One response to the queerness objection is to reject the idea that knowing an evaluative fact necessarily motivates. Let's suppose, with Hume, that beliefs without desires are powerless to motivate. A person may well have a contingent independent desire to do what he believes to be good, and once he becomes acquainted with a good he may, contingently, be motivated to pursue it. But no mere belief, in isolation from such an antecedent desire, can motivate. That sits more easily with the frequent gap between what values we espouse and how we actually behave.

This Humean view would escape the mysteries of intrinsic motivation, but would present the educationist with a different problem. What is the point of attempting to induce true value beliefs if there is no necessary connection between value beliefs and motivations? If inducing true evaluative beliefs is the goal of values education, and evaluative beliefs have no such connection with desires, then one might successfully teach a psychopath correct values, but his education would make him no more likely to choose the good. His acquisition of the correct value beliefs , coupled with his total indifference to the good, might just equip him to make his psychopathic adventures more effectively evil.

There are two traditions in moral education that can be construed as different responses to the problem of intrinsic motivation. There is the formal, rationalist tradition according to which the ultimate questions of what to do are a matter of reason, or rational coherence in the body of evaluative judgments. But there is a corresponding empiricist tradition, according to which there is a source of empirical data about value, something which also supplies the appropriate motivation to act.

7. The Rationalist Response to the Problem of Intrinsic Motivation

Kant famously espoused the principle of universalizability: that a moral judgment is legitimate only if one can consistently will a corresponding universal maxim. 7 A judgment fails the test if willing the corresponding maxim involves willing conditions that make it impossible to apply the maxim. Cheating to gain an unfair advantage is wrong, on this account, because one cannot rationally will that everyone cheat to gain an unfair advantage. To be able to gain an unfair advantage by cheating, others have to play by the rules. So, cheating involves a violation of reason. If this idea can be generalized, and value grounded in reason, then perhaps we don't need to posit queer value facts (that cheating is bad , say) that mysteriously impact our desires upon acquaintance. Value would reduce to nonmysterious facts about rationality.

This rationalist approach, broadly construed, informs a range of educational value theories—for example, those of Hare and Kohlberg, as well as of the “values clarification” theorists. 8 They share the idea that values education is not a matter of teaching substantive value judgments but, rather, of teaching constraints of rationality, like those of logic, critical thinking, and universalizability. They differ in the extent to which they think rational constraints yield substantive evaluative content. Kant apparently held that universalizability settles our moral obligations. Others, like Hare, held that universalizability settles some issues (some moral judgments are just inconsistent with universalizability) while leaving open a range of coherent moral stances, any of which is just as consistent with reason as another. What's attractive about the rationalist tradition is that it limits the explicit teaching of value content to the purely cognitive values demanded by reason alone—those already embedded in the educational enterprise—without invoking additional problematic value facts.

There are two problems with rationalism. First, despite the initial appearance, it too presupposes evaluative facts. If cognitive values necessarily motivate—for example, learning that a maxim is inconsistent necessarily induces an aversion to acting on it—then the queerness objection kicks in. And if cognitive values don't necessarily motivate, then there will be the familiar disconnect between acquaintance with value and motivation.

Second, rational constraints, including even universalizability, leave open a vast range of substantive positions on value. A Kantian's inviolable moral principle—it is always wrong intentionally to kill an innocent person, say—may satisfy universalizability. But so, too, does the act‐utilitarian's injunction to always and everywhere maximize value. If killing innocent people is bad, then it is better to kill one innocent person to prevent a larger number being killed than it is to refrain from killing the one and allowing the others to be killed. The nihilist says it doesn't matter how many people you kill, and this, too, satisfies universalizability. The radical divergence in the recommendation of sundry universalizable theories suggests that rational constraints are too weak to supply substantive evaluative content. Reason leaves open a vast space of mutually incompatible evaluative schemes.

8. The Empiricist Response to the Problem of Intrinsic Motivation

To help weed out some of these consistent but mutually incompatible evaluative schemes, value empiricists posit an additional source of data about value. They argue that detecting value is not a matter of the head, but rather a matter of the heart—of feeling, emotion, affect, or desire. It involves responding appropriately to the value of things in some way that is not purely cognitive. Many value theorists whose theories are otherwise quite different (Aristotle, Hume, Brentano, and Meinong, and their contemporary heirs) have embraced variants of this idea. 9

Different value empiricists espouse different metaphysical accounts of value, from strongly idealist accounts (according to which values depend on our actual value responses) to robustly realist accounts (according to which values are independent of our actual responses). What they share is the denial that grasping value is a purely cognitive matter. Responses to value involve something like experience or perception. That is to say, things seem to us more or less valuable, these value‐seemings are analogous to perceptual seemings rather than to beliefs, and value‐seemings involve a motivational component, something desire‐like.

What, then, are these experiences of value, these value‐seemings? According to the Austrian value theorists (Meinong and his descendents), evaluative experiences are emotions. So, for example, anger is the emotional presentation of, or appropriate emotional response to, injustice; shame is the appropriate emotional response to what is shameful; sadness to the sad, and so on. Emotions are complex states that are necessarily connected with value judgments, but also with desires and nonevaluative beliefs. A much sparser theory of value experiences identifies them simply with desires. 10 That is to say, to desire P is just for P to seem good to me. To desire P is not to judge that P is good, or to believe that P is good. Something might well seem good to me (I desire it) even though I do not believe that it is good. Indeed, I might well know that it is not good (just as a rose I know to be white may appear to be pink to me). Value‐seemings, whatever their nature, would provide the necessary empirical grounding for beliefs about value, while also providing the link between acquaintance with value and the corresponding motivations.

Imagine if you were taught the axiomatic structure of Newtonian mechanics without ever doing an actual experiment, or even being informed what results any such experiment would yield in the actual world. You might well come to know all there is to know about Newtonian mechanics, as a body of theory, without having any idea whether the actual world is Newtonian. But, then, why should you prefer Newton's theory to, say, Aristotle's, as an account of the truth? According to the value empiricist, values taught entirely as matters of reason alone would be similarly empty. By contrast, if value judgments have to be justified ultimately by appeal to some shared value data, and the value data consist of value experiences, then the job of a value educator would be, at least in part, to connect the correct evaluative judgments in the appropriate way with actual experiences of value.

9. The Theory‐Ladenness of Value Data and Critical Empiricism

If pure rationalism seems empty of content, then pure empiricism seems correspondingly blind. Notoriously, people experience very different responses to putative values. Indeed, the highly variable nature of our value responses is the root of the contestedness of value, and it is often the major premise in an argument to the effect that either there is no such thing as value or, if there is, it cannot be reliably detected. If values education goes radically empiricist, and experiences of value (affect, emotion, desire, etc.) are the empirical arbiters of value, then an uncriticizable subjectivism, or at best relativism, looms, and the teaching of values would amount to little more than the teacher, like a television reporter, eliciting from her students how they feel.

This criticism presupposes a rather naive version of empiricism, according to which experience is a matter of passively receiving theory‐neutral data that are then generalized into something like a value theory. A more promising model is provided by some variant of critical rationalism. Perceptual experiences are rarely a matter of passively receiving “theory‐neutral” data, as a prelude to theorizing but, rather, are themselves informed and guided by theory. Even if there is a core to perceptual experience that is relatively immune to influence from background theory, the information that one gains from experience is partly a function of such theory. An experience in total isolation from other experiences to which it is connected by a theory rarely conveys significant information. If someone who knows no physics is asked to report what he sees in the cloud chamber, say, then what he reports will likely be very thin indeed and hardly a basis for grasping the nature of matter. So, enabling folk to have the right kinds of experiences—informative and contentful—which can then be appropriately interpreted and taken up into a web of belief, is in part a matter of teaching them a relevant background theory that makes sense of those experiences. This might be more accurately called a critical empiricist approach.

Given value experiences, and a critical empiricist approach to knowledge of value, values education would be, in part, a matter of cultivating appropriate experiential responses to various values; in part, a matter of refining and honing such responses; and in part, a matter of providing a framework that supports those responses and that can be challenged and revised in the light of further value experiences. Further, if experiences of value are a matter of emotion, feeling, or desire, values education would need to take seriously the training of folk in having, interpreting, and refining appropriate emotions, feelings, and desires. This would not in any way diminish the crucial role of logic, critical thinking, and rational constraints like universalizability. But it would open up the educational domain to cultivation and refinement of affective and conative states.

10. The Agent‐Neutrality of Value and the Relativity of Value Experiences

The hypothesis of the theory‐ladenness of experience is, unfortunately, insufficient to defuse the problem of the radical relativity in value experiences. Compare value experiences with ordinary perception. It is rare for a rose to appear to one person to be red and to another blue. But it is not at all rare for one and the same state of affairs to seem very good to one person and seem very bad to another. If these radical differences in value experiences are to be attributed simply to differences in the value beliefs that people hold, then value experiences are too corrupted to be of any use. Experiences too heavily laden with theory cease to be a reliable source of data for challenging and revising beliefs.

This problem can be sharpened by a combination of an idea endorsed by many empiricist value theorists (namely, that value is not what is desired in fact, but what it would be fitting or appropriate to desire), with a popular idea endorsed by most rationalist value theorists (namely, the agent‐neutrality of real value). The fitting‐response thesis says that something is valuable just to the extent that it is appropriate or fitting to experience it as having that value. The agent‐neutrality of value thesis says that the actual value of a state or property is not relative to persons or point of view. So if something—a severe pain, say—has a certain disvalue, then it has that disvalue regardless of whose pain it is. It is bad, as it were, irrespective of its locus. These theses combined imply the agent‐neutrality of the fitting response to value . If a state possesses a certain value, then it possesses that regardless of its locus. And a certain response to that value is fitting regardless of the relation of a valuer to the locus of the value. Consequently, the fitting response must be exactly the same response for any valuer. So ideally, two individuals, no matter what their relation to something of value, should respond to that value in exactly the same manner. The responses of the person whose responses are fitting are thus isomorphic to value, irrespective of the situation of that person or her relation to the value in question. Call this consequence of fitting‐response and agent‐neutrality, the isomorphic‐response thesis .

Now, quite independent of the issue of theory‐ladenness, the isomorphic‐response thesis seems very implausible. Suppose that the appropriate response to valuable states of affairs is desire, and the more valuable a state of affairs, the more one should desire it. Then, the isomorphic‐response thesis entails that any two individuals should desire all and only the same states to exactly the same degree. But clearly the states of affairs that people desire differ radically. Consequently, either we are all severely defective experiencers of value or one of the two theses that jointly entail the isomorphic‐response thesis is false.

11. The Effects of Perspective, Shape, and Orientation on Perception

The fitting‐response thesis looks implausible if value experiences are analogous to perceptual experiences. There is an objective state of the world that is perceiver‐neutral, but perceivers have very different experiences of the world depending on how they are situated within it. First, there are perspectival effects: the farther away an object is, the smaller it will appear relative to objects close by, and that is entirely appropriate; objects should look smaller the farther away they are. Is there an analogue of distance in value space, and an analogue to perspective? If so, something might, appropriately, seem to be of different value depending on how far it is located from different valuers. Second, there are variable perceptual effects owing to the shape of objects and their orientation to the perceiver. An asymmetric object, like a coin, looks round from one direction but flat from another; but again, it should look those different ways. Is there anything in the domain of value analogous to shape and orientation?

Grant that pain is bad and that qualitatively identical pains are ( ceteris paribus ) equally bad. I am averse to the pain I am currently experiencing—it seems very bad to me. However, an exactly similar pain I experienced twenty years ago does not elicit such a strong aversion from me now. Nor does the similar pain I believe I will face in twenty years' time. I can have very different aversive responses to various pains, all of which are equally bad, and those different responses do seem fitting. The temporally distant pains are just further away, in value space, from me now. Time can, thus, be thought of as one dimension in value space that affects how values should be experienced.

Some people are close to me, and the pain of those close to me matters more to me than pain experienced by distant beings. If my wife is in severe pain, that appears much worse to me than if some stranger is in severe pain; and that response, too, seems appropriate. I know, of course, that my loved ones are no more valuable than those strangers, and I am not saying I shouldn't care at all about the stranger's pain. Clearly, the stranger's pain is bad—just as bad as my wife's pain—and I am somewhat averse to it as well. But suppose I can afford only one dose of morphine, and I can give it to my wife or have it FedExed to the stranger. Would it be inappropriate of me to unhesitatingly give it to my wife? Hardly. Someone who tossed a coin to decide where the morphine should be directed would be considered lacking normal human feelings. Persons are located at various distances from me, and since persons are loci of valuable states, those states inherit their positions in value space, and their distances from me, from their locus. And it seems appropriate to respond more vividly to states that are close than to those that are more distant.

Finally, we can think of possibility—perhaps measured by probability—as a dimension of value. Imagine this current and awful pain multiplied in length enormously. If hell exists and God condemns unbelievers to hell, then I am going to experience something like this for a very, very long time. That prospect is much worse than my current fleeting pain. And yet I am strangely unmoved by this prospect. Why? Because it seems very improbable to me. First, it seems improbable, given the unnecessary suffering in the world, that God exists. And if, despite appearances, a Perfect Being really exists, it seems improbable She would run a postmortem torture chamber for unbelievers. So, extremely bad states that are remote in probability space elicit less vivid responses than less bad states that have a higher probability of actualization. And that, too, seems fitting.

Of course, one might argue that these things should not appear this way to me, that the same pain merits the same response wherever it is located. But that's just implausible. As a human being, with various attachments, deep connections with particular others, and a limited capacity to care, it would be impossible for me to respond in a totally agent‐neutral way to all pain whatever its locus: the pain of total strangers; pains past, present, and future; and pains actual as well as remotely possible. It would also be bizarre if one were required to randomly allocate one's limited stock of care regardless of the distance of the bearers of such pains. So, if a value that is closer should appear closer, and desires and aversions are appearances of value, then it is entirely fitting that desires and aversions be more sensitive to closely located values than to distantly located values. 11

Distance is not the only factor affecting value perception. A valuer's orientation to something of value (or disvalue) may also affect perception. Take a variant of Nozick's famous case of past and future pain. You have to undergo an operation for which it would be dangerous to use analgesics. The surgeon tells you that on the eighth day of the month you will go into the hospital and on the morning of the ninth, you will be administered a combination of drugs that will paralyze you during the operation, scheduled for later that day, and subsequently cause you to forget the experiences you will have during the operation, including all the dreadful pain. You wake up in hospital, and you don't know what day it is. If it is the tenth, the operation was yesterday and the operation was twelve hours ago. If it is morning of the ninth, then you have yet to undergo the operation in twelve hours' time. So, depending on which of these is true, you are twelve hours away from the pain. Both are equally likely, given your information. You are equidistant from these two painful possibilities in both temporal space and probability space. You are, however, much more averse to the 50 percent probability of the future as yet‐unexperienced pain than to the 50 percent probability that the pain is now past. This asymmetric response seems appropriate. We are differently oriented toward past and future disvalues, and that can make a difference how bad those disvalues seem.

What about the shape of value, and the effect of shape together with orientation on perception? Should the value of one and the same situation be experienced by folk differently if they are differently oriented with respect to it? Suppose that a retributive theory of justice is correct, and that in certain cases wrongdoers ought to be punished for their wrongdoing; that such punishment is some sort of suffering; and that the punishment restores justice to the victim. The suffering inflicted on the wrongdoer is, then, from the agent‐neutral viewpoint, a good thing. Consider three people differently, related to the wrongdoer's receiving his just deserts: the wrongdoer himself, the wrongdoer's victim, and some bystander. It is fitting for the victim to welcome the fact that the wrongdoer is getting his just deserts. A neutral bystander will typically not feel as strongly about the punishment as the victim does, but provided she recognizes that the deserts are just, she should be in favor. What about the wrongdoer? His punishment is a good thing, but he has to be averse to the punishment if it is to be any sort of punishment at all. The difference in the victim's and the bystander's degree of desire for the just deserts can be explained by their differing distances from the locus of the value. But the differing responses of the victim and the wrongdoer cannot be explained by distance alone. Desire and aversion pull in opposite directions. Unless the wrongdoer is averse to his punishment, it is no punishment at all. Unless the victim desires the wrongdoer's punishment, it will not serve its full role in restoring justice.

Value is one thing, the appropriate response to it on the part of a situated valuer is another. The same value may thus elicit different responses depending on how closely the value is located to a value perceiver, the shape of the value, and the orientation of the valuer toward it. The thesis that the appropriate responses to value are experiences, which, like perceptual experiences, are heavily perspectival, defuses what would otherwise be a powerful objection to the agent‐neutrality of value. If the appropriate response to an agent‐neutral value were the same for all, then value would impose a wholly impractical, even inhuman, obligation on a person to effectively ignore his singular position in the network of relationships. Fortunately for us, experiences of agent‐neutral values can legitimately differ from one valuer to another.

Interestingly, these features of value experience help explain the attraction of Nel Noddings's ethics of caring, perhaps the most prominent contemporary educational ethic in the empiricist tradition. For Noddings, the prime value seems to be caring relationships and fostering such relationships through fostering caring itself. But one is not simply supposed to promote caring willy‐nilly, in an agent‐neutral way. Rather, one is supposed to be attentive to the caring that goes on fairly close to oneself. Consequently, it would be bad to neglect one's nearest and dearest even if by doing so one could foster more caring relationships far away. But it is not just distance in the network of care that is important. I am located at the center of a particular network of caring relationships, and my moral task is to tend not just to the amount and quality of caring in my network but also to my peculiar location in the network. So, it would be wrong for me to neglect my caring for those close to me even if by doing so I could promote more or better caring among those very folk. I should not cease to care for my nearest and dearest even if by doing so I could promote higher quality caring among my nearest and dearest. 12

12. Teaching Values on the Critical Empiricist Approach

Agent‐relative responses to agent‐neutral values are, thus, entirely appropriate on a critical empiricist conception of value. If this is right, it is not the job of an educationist to try to impose a uniform experiential response to all matters of value. Rather, it is to try to provide the necessary critical and logical tools for making sense of agent‐neutral values in the light of our highly variable agent‐relative responses, and to elicit and refine the fitting response to value in the light of a valuer's relation to it.

But this, of course, raises a difficult question for any would‐be value educator. How is it possible to teach appropriate responses to value and coordinate such responses with correct value judgments? Partly, this is a philosophical question involving the nature of value and the fitting responses to it, and partly, it is an empirical question involving the psychology of value experience and the most effective ways to develop or refine fitting responses.

Let us begin with a fairly uncontroversial case. It is not difficult for a normal human being to appreciate the value of her own pleasures or the disvalue of her own pains. A normal child will almost always experience her own pain as a bad thing. There is no mystery here, given empiricism, for the child's aversion to pain is part and parcel of the experience of the pain's badness. Indeed, it is through aversion to states like pain, or desire for pleasure, that a child typically gets a grip on the concepts of goodness and badness in the first place, since the good (respectively, bad) just is that to which desire (respectively, aversion) is the normal and fitting response.

Correct judgments on the goodness of one's own pleasures and the badness of one's own pains thus follow rather naturally on the heels of one's direct experiences of those pleasures and pains. What about judgments concerning more remotely located goods and evils? Provided one has some capacity to empathize, one also has the capacity to experience, to some extent, the disvalue of another's pain or the value of another's pleasure, albeit somewhat less vividly than in the case of one's own. Clearly, normal people do have an innate ability, perhaps honed through evolutionary development, to empathize with others in these crucial ways. 13 Recent research suggests that this capacity may be realized by the possession of mirror neurons and that these structures have played a crucial role in the evolution of social behavior. 14 With empathy in place, there is the capacity to experience values located beyond oneself.

What may not always come so naturally, and what might conceivably require some tutoring, is that the exactly similar pains and pleasures of others must have exactly the same value and disvalue as one's own. Even for a good empathizer, given the perspectival nature of value experience, another's exactly similar pain will seem less bad than one's own. And the more distant the pain is, the less bad it will seem. One has to learn, at the level of judgment, to correct for this perspectival feature of value experience. That will mostly be a matter of learning to apply principles of reason—specifically, that if two situations are qualitatively identical at the natural level, they must be qualitatively identical at the level of value. Presumably, knowledge of the agent‐neutrality of the goodness and badness of pain and pleasure will feed back into one's capacity for empathic response, enhancing and refining such responses. A defect in empathy may, thus, be corrected by becoming cognizant of the actual structure of value.

A person may, of course, have a very weak capacity for empathy, or even lack it altogether. This seems to be a feature of severe autism. Interestingly, an autistic person is often capable of using his experience of what is good or bad for him, together with something like universalizability, to gain a purchase on goods and evils located in other beings. His purchase on these more remote goods and evils lacks direct experiential validation, but he can still reason, from experiences of his own goods and evils, to judgments of other goods and evils. An autistic person may not thereby acquire the ability to empathize—just as a blind person may not be taught how to see—but he may still learn a considerable amount about value. 15 The value judgments he endorses will admittedly rest on a severely reduced empirical base, and that may never be enlarged by the theory, but the theory might still be quite accurate.

A more radical defect is exhibited by the psychopath, who seems to have no capacity to reason from his experience of his own goods and evils to goods and evils located elsewhere. 16 It is not clear how one might go about teaching value judgments or value responses to a psychopath. It might be like trying to teach empirical science to someone who has vivid experiences of what is going on immediately around him, but lacks any capacity to reason beyond that or to regard his own experience as a situated response to an external reality. Clearly there are limits to what can be taught and to whom.

13. Conclusion

Value endorsements and their transmission are unavoidable in educational settings, as they are everywhere. The question, then, is not whether to teach values but which values to teach, in what contexts, and how to teach them effectively. Clearly, the constraints of reason are crucial to the cultivation of a coherent set of value endorsements. But reason alone is insufficient. To access values we need some value data, experiences of value. And, to mesh motivation appropriately with value endorsements, value experiences have to be desiderative. This critical empiricist model of value knowledge suggests a model of values education that is richer and more interesting than either its rationalist or its naive empiricist rivals—one in which the cultivation and refinement of emotion, feeling, and desire and the honing of critical skills both play indispensable roles.

Of course, any teaching of values could go awry. That we are serious about teaching values, and that we attempt to do so with due respect for both reason and experience, does not guarantee that we will succeed. We ourselves may have got value wrong. Or, we might possess and try to pass on the right values, but our students reject them. Here, as elsewhere in the educational enterprise, there is always a risk that things might turn out badly despite our noblest intentions and sincerest efforts.

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If not, then other troubling consequences flow.

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Importance of value education

What is Value Education? Value-based education emphasizes the personality development of individuals to shape their future and tackle difficult situations with ease. It moulds the children so they get attuned to changing scenarios while handling their social, moral, and democratic duties efficiently. The importance of value education can be understood through its benefits as it develops physical and emotional aspects, teaches mannerisms and develops a sense of brotherhood, instils a spirit of patriotism as well as develops religious tolerance in students. Let’s understand the importance of value education in schools as well as its need and importance in the 21st century.

Here’s our review of the Current Education System of India !

This Blog Includes:

Need and importance of value education, purpose of value education, importance of value education in school, difference between traditional and value education, essay on importance of value education, speech on importance of value education, early age moral and value education, young college students (1st or 2nd-year undergraduates), workshops for adults, student exchange programs, co-curricular activities, how it can be taught & associated teaching methods.

This type of education should not be seen as a separate discipline but as something that should be inherent in the education system. Merely solving problems must not be the aim, the clear reason and motive behind must also be thought of. There are multiple facets to understanding the importance of value education.

Here is why there is an inherent need and importance of value education in the present world:

  • It helps in making the right decisions in difficult situations and improving decision-making abilities.
  • It teaches students with essential values like kindness, compassion and empathy.
  • It awakens curiosity in children developing their values and interests. This further helps in skill development in students.
  • It also fosters a sense of brotherhood and patriotism thus helping students become more open-minded and welcoming towards all cultures as well as religions.
  • It provides a positive direction to a student’s life as they are taught about the right values and ethics.
  • It helps students find their true purpose towards serving society and doing their best to become a better version of themselves.
  • With age comes a wide range of responsibilities. This can at times develop a sense of meaninglessness and can lead to a rise in mental health disorders, mid-career crisis and growing discontent with one’s life. Value education aims to somewhat fill the void in people’s lives.
  • Moreover, when people study the significance of values in society and their lives, they are more convinced and committed to their goals and passions. This leads to the development of awareness which results in thoughtful and fulfilling decisions. 
  • The key importance of value education is highlighted in distinguishing the execution of the act and the significance of its value. It instils a sense of ‘meaning’ behind what one is supposed to do and thus aids in personality development .

In the contemporary world, the importance of value education is multifold. It becomes crucial that is included in a child’s schooling journey and even after that to ensure that they imbibe moral values as well as ethics.

Here are the key purposes of value education:

  • To ensure a holistic approach to a child’s personality development in terms of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects
  • Inculcation of patriotic spirit as well as the values of a good citizen
  • Helping students understand the importance of brotherhood at social national and international levels
  • Developing good manners and responsibility and cooperativeness
  • Promoting the spirit of curiosity and inquisitiveness towards the orthodox norms
  • Teaching students about how to make sound decisions based on moral principles
  • Promoting a democratic way of thinking and living
  • Imparting students with the significance of tolerance and respect towards different cultures and religious faiths

There is an essential need and importance of value education in school curriculums as it helps students learn the basic fundamental morals they need to become good citizens as well as human beings. Here are the top reasons why value education in school is important:

  • Value education can play a significant role in shaping their future and helping them find their right purpose in life.
  • Since school paves the foundation for every child’s learning, adding value-based education to the school curriculum can help them learn the most important values right from the start of their academic journey.
  • Value education as a discipline in school can also be focused more on learning human values rather than mugging up concepts, formulas and theories for higher scores. Thus, using storytelling in value education can also help students learn the essentials of human values.
  • Education would surely be incomplete if it didn’t involve the study of human values that can help every child become a kinder, compassionate and empathetic individual thus nurturing emotional intelligence in every child.

Both traditional, as well as values education, is essential for personal development. Both help us in defining our objectives in life. However, while the former teaches us about scientific, social, and humanistic knowledge, the latter helps to become good humans and citizens. Opposite to traditional education, values education does not differentiate between what happens inside and outside the classroom.

Value Education plays a quintessential role in contributing to the holistic development of children. Without embedding values in our kids, we wouldn’t be able to teach them about good morals, what is right and what is wrong as well as key traits like kindness, empathy and compassion. The need and importance of value education in the 21st century are far more important because of the presence of technology and its harmful use. By teaching children about essential human values, we can equip them with the best digital skills and help them understand the importance of ethical behaviour and cultivating compassion. It provides students with a positive view of life and motivates them to become good human beings, help those in need, respect their community as well as become more responsible and sensible.

Youngsters today move through a gruelling education system that goes on almost unendingly. Right from when parents send them to kindergarten at the tender age of 4 or 5 to completing their graduation, there is a constant barrage of information hurled at them. It is a puzzling task to make sense of this vast amount of unstructured information. On top of that, the bar to perform better than peers and meet expectations is set at a quite high level. This makes a youngster lose their curiosity and creativity under the burden. They know ‘how’ to do something but fail to answer the ‘why’. They spend their whole childhood and young age without discovering the real meaning of education. This is where the importance of value education should be established in their life. It is important in our lives because it develops physical and emotional aspects, teaches mannerisms and develops a sense of brotherhood, instils a spirit of patriotism as well as develops religious tolerance in students. Thus, it is essential to teach value-based education in schools to foster the holistic development of students. Thank you.

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Types of Value Education

To explore how value education has been incorporated at different levels from primary education, and secondary education to tertiary education, we have explained some of the key phases and types of value education that must be included to ensure the holistic development of a student.

Middle and high school curriculums worldwide including in India contain a course in moral science or value education. However, these courses rarely focus on the development and importance of values in lives but rather on teachable morals and acceptable behaviour. Incorporating some form of value education at the level of early childhood education can be constructive.

Read more at Child Development and Pedagogy

Some universities have attempted to include courses or conduct periodic workshops that teach the importance of value education. There has been an encouraging level of success in terms of students rethinking what their career goals are and increased sensitivity towards others and the environment.

Our Top Read: Higher Education in India

Alarmingly, people who have only been 4 to 5 years into their professional careers start showing signs of job exhaustion, discontent, and frustration. The importance of value education for adults has risen exponentially. Many non-governmental foundations have begun to conduct local workshops so that individuals can deal with their issues and manage such questions in a better way.

Recommended Read: Adult Education

It is yet another way of inculcating a spirit of kinship amongst students. Not only do student exchange programs help explore an array of cultures but also help in understanding the education system of countries.

Quick Read: Scholarships for Indian Students to Study Abroad

Imparting value education through co-curricular activities in school enhances the physical, mental, and disciplinary values among children. Furthermore, puppetry , music, and creative writing also aid in overall development.

Check Out: Drama and Art in Education

The concept of teaching values has been overly debated for centuries. Disagreements have taken place over whether value education should be explicitly taught because of the mountainous necessity or whether it should be implicitly incorporated into the teaching process. An important point to note is that classes or courses may not be successful in teaching values but they can teach the importance of value education. It can help students in exploring their inner passions and interests and work towards them. Teachers can assist students in explaining the nature of values and why it is crucial to work towards them. The placement of this class/course, if there is to be one, is still under fierce debate. 

Value education is the process through which an individual develops abilities, attitudes, values as well as other forms of behaviour of positive values depending on the society he lives in.

Every individual needs to ensure a holistic approach to their personality development in physical, mental, social and moral aspects. It provides a positive direction to the students to shape their future, helping them become more responsible and sensible and comprehending the purpose of their lives.

Values are extremely important because they help us grow and develop and guide our beliefs, attitudes and behaviour. Our values are reflected in our decision-making and help us find our true purpose in life and become responsible and developed individuals.

The importance of value education at various stages in one’s life has increased with the running pace and complexities of life. It is becoming difficult every day for youngsters to choose their longing and pursue careers of their choice. In this demanding phase, let our Leverage Edu experts guide you in following the career path you have always wanted to explore by choosing an ideal course and taking the first step to your dream career .

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Your Article is awesome. It’s very helpful to know the value of education and the importance of value education. Thank you for sharing.

Hi Anil, Thanks for your feedback!

Value education is the most important thing because they help us grow and develop and guide our beliefs, attitudes and behaviour. Thank you for sharing.

Hi Susmita, Rightly said!

Best blog. well explained. Thank you for sharing keep sharing.

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Your Article is Very nice.It is Very helpful for me to know the value of Education and its importance…Thanks for sharing your thoughts about education…Thank you ……

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Home Essay Samples Life

Essay Samples on Values

The essential role of human values in the 21st century.

The 21st century presents a myriad of challenges and opportunities that call for a renewed emphasis on human values as guiding principles to shape individual behaviors, societal norms, and global interactions. In an era marked by technological advancements, cultural diversification, and interconnectedness, the role of...

  • 21St Century

Human Values in 21st Century: A Blueprint for a Better World

The 21st century presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities that demand a reevaluation of the values that guide human behavior. In this era of rapid technological advancements, cultural diversification, and interconnectedness, the importance of human values in the 21st century cannot be overstated....

Unpacking the Value of Community Service Hours

The concept of community service hours, often a requirement in academic and organizational settings, has sparked diverse opinions. While some see it as a mere checkbox to tick off, others view it as an avenue for genuine personal growth and societal contribution. Delving deeper into...

  • Community Service

The Power of Censorship: Safeguarding Societal Values

The debate surrounding censorship persuasive is one that evokes strong emotions and diverse opinions. It raises questions about the delicate balance between protecting public morality and preserving the ideals of freedom of expression. While some argue that censorship stifles creativity and limits access to diverse...

The Ascent of Money: Is Money the Root of All Evil

In Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money, Ferguson analyzes the history of money, banking, and credit. He tracks the development of currency as a form of trade, explores its growth and effects on society, and looks forward to how it may continue to develop in...

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Being Proud of Your Values and Beliefs

Hear the phrase “be yourself” all the time but what exactly does it mean. Some people can argue that “being yourself” has to do with your relationship with others, and that is by giving attention to what people think about you; while others can argue...

  • Being Yourself
  • Personal Beliefs

Understanding What Is The Special Value To Life

Value of life is a question is which many of us try to answer how valuable is our life, how valuable are peoples lives in general. This could be a dark subject if the outcome might be as positive as someone may think. When we...

  • Meaning of Life

Defining The Meaning And Value Of Human Life

The biggest cliché of all the questions already had the most varied range of answers. The value of life could even be answered by simple a way: that each individual constructs its own meaning. That is because everyone has their impossible mission in here. Each...

Finding The True Meaning And Value Of Life In Plato's Works

The universal question, “What is the meaning of life?” has been questioned since the beginning of civilization. Answers given by most individuals in today’s society dissent greatly from the answers of Roman and Greek civilizations thousands of years back. Great philosophers such as Socrates, Plato,...

The Meaning Of Life And Value Of Life Based On Plato's Philosophy

What is the meaning of life? There are numerous cultural beliefs on how life should be lived by following certain religious or traditional practices. These “meanings of life” could differ based on racial or religious beliefs but in a way, I believe there is an...

Searching For What Is The Value Of Life

The significance of this quote is to simply educate and persuade those who are experiencing dilemmas and complications regarding their decisions, specifically what they aspire to do in life, to take into consideration that there are viable options to fulfill their lives. I agree with...

The Value Of A Single Life And Its Meaning

Close to 6 million innocent animals enter shelters each year. All across the world, people are faced with the issue of how to deal with the overpopulation of stray animals. However, the murder of these animals should not be justified just because the problem is...

The Impact Of Religion On Defining What Is Value Of Life

What might most people on this earth value? You guessed it right, it’s Life! Life brings a lot of meaning and purpose that is I feel is an ideal answer to the society and lets just face it, what could someone value other than life?...

  • Religious Beliefs

Personal Dignity And Integrity As The Core Of Personal Values

'The standard of being honest and possessing powerful personal values' is the vocabulary term of integrity. In my view, terms were never useful for anything except for composing papers. Integrity is a person's way of existence. Every day we confront decisions in life that we...

Exposition Of Wicks Concept Of Human Right And Value To Life

Human right to life is the most fundamental of all human rights. In her book, The Right to Life and Conflicting Interests, Wicks (2010: 1), begins by noting that ‘the life on earth is diverse and abundant. From simple bacteria and virus through to the...

Money Is Not Everything: The Importance Of Knowledge

Money is one of the most sensitive issues when we mention it under any circumstances. It is also an indispensable thing for each people. In many people's opinion, money is very important and valuable. They think that with money, we will have everything. Besides these...

Importance Of Ethical Values In Islam: Patience, Truthfulness

The ethical values are very important in human life and play a vital role in human life. Ethics /manners are complete code of life without manners we cannot spend a better life. Quran emphasized us for better ethical values. In this paper the importance of...

Analysis Of Core Values Of The United States Airmen

Core values can be defined as someone’s central beliefs that are guiding principles and dictate their behavior. Usually, core values are used to help a person understand the difference between right and wrong. My core values were not all present when I first enlisted, but...

The Efficiency Of Common Law System

Common law is based on judges past decisions rather than written law (Department of Justice, 2017). The common law system takes past decisions made by judges and uses them in new situations that are similar to the original event; otherwise known as the term “stare...

  • Judicial System

Analysis of Leadership and Motivation Theories in the Movie Coach Carter

Being a leader is one of the most responsible roles one can take. An effective leader knows what is best for the project team as well as have a complete understanding of the needs of employees, peers as well as of the superiors. Outstanding leaders...

  • Coach Carter
  • Effective Leadership

Moral Values I Was Taught by My Parents

Love. Caring One of them is love and caring as it is the fundamental for all the children in the family. Since young, they used to give me love and care by giving adoring environment at home. My father constantly invested his energy and time...

The Real Value of Treasurable Moments in Achebe's "Civil Peace" and Maupassant's "The Necklace"

What makes something valuable or a treasure is not determined for their actual worth but for the value you are able to give or see in them. In the storyarticle “The Necklace” we can come across two different types of values, the value that is...

  • Chinua Achebe
  • The Necklace

Ethics: A Guiding Light in Human Life

Ethics must be the primary source of reference when it comes to evaluate a situation through acting upon it by making a decision. What’s right and what’s wrong depends on the perception of the person that is derived from the certain values that humans hold....

  • Decision Making
  • Ethics in Everyday Life

Exploring the Importance of Ethics in Our Lives

 Ethics is the discipline of moral and principle involvement to gain knowledge and experience. This specific code of conduct administers our thoughts so as to walk away from certain situations, almost like fleet or flight. “Rome was not built in a day”, it relates to...

Literature Analysis of Anna Quindlen's Article Life of the Closed Mind

A person’s values assumptions are why a person chooses one side over the other in a context. Value assumptions can be changed based on different topics that are discussed and the reasoning and conclusion can also vary by the person responding to the statement based...

  • Anna Quindlen

The Theme of Nonconformity in the Works of Chris McCandless

Pressure, perfection, and ideals are some of the dangers in society. Chris McCandless did not want to be a victim of the social norm, he wanted to live the life he wanted without allowing others to influence his decisions. The novel, Into the Wild, by...

  • Nonconformist

A Man For All Seasons: The Destructive Power of One's Morals

Values, virtues, and morals are often implemented in individuals as they grow up. However, how they are taken into effect and are followed varies based on personal greed. In the movie A Man For All Seasons, a screenplay written by Robert Bolt and directed by...

  • A Man For All Seasons

Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe: Questioning of Own Values with the Change of Era

As time passes, our morals and values change. This becomes apparent as we look back into human history throughout different cultures. This become apparent as we notice in our own lives that values that suited you as a child change as you become a young...

  • Doctor Faustus

My Key Personal Values That Make Up My Individuality

How do people decide what is the right or wrong way to live and behave? They use their personal values to lead them to make the decisions that they believe are right. Personal values are the way in which individuals decided the way of thinking,...

  • Thankfulness

Ideals In Dan Brown'S Da Vinci Code For Aringarosa And Collet

The Da Vinci Code is a thrilling and enticing novel that was written by Dan Brown in 2003. The main plot of the novel revolves around efforts to discover the truth about the Holy Grail as well as its location, and the story also features...

  • Da Vinci Code

Issues Brought Up in John Green's Novel Looking For Alaska

Looking For Alaska, written by the young John Green, brings forward some of the most concerning ideas in a high-schoolers mind. Love and Lust, Consequences, Friendship and Home. Green introduces a set of unique characters that most highschool kids can see themselves hugging in between...

  • Looking For Alaska

The Values and Codes of Behaviour in Liberal Studies

In critically analyzing and digesting the contentions of Flannery’s perspective in his article on liberal arts and education, the path is greatly elucidated to say that, liberal arts provide a monumental sense of direction for technocrats, educators and students in this advanced era. To this...

  • Good and Evil
  • Liberal Arts Education

How the Air Force Core Values Align with My Individual Values

From day one, every Airman is introduced to the Air Force core values of Integrity first, Service before self and Excellence in all we do. These core values are taught by peers and seniors. However, before a person decides to become an Airman, they have...

The Main Ideas and Values of Humanism

Humanism is defined as the rejection of religion in favor of the advancement of humanity by its own efforts. Key humanist beliefs are: They trust the scientific method when it comes to understanding how the universe works and rejects the idea of the supernatural (and...

  • Scientific Revolution

The Renaissance Value of Humanism

As a leader living during the Renaissance, I am focused on the qualities of humanism, individualism and secularism based on Machiavelli’s book. The Prince, written by Niccolò Machiavelli, is a guide for successful monarchial rule. From its origins in 14th-century Florence, the Renaissance spread across...

  • Renaissance

Personal Values In "What Should A Billionaire Give" And "Dumpster Diving"

Should everyone have the same obligations? Why or why not? Should those who have more give more? All human beings are in this world are equal. They had been created equal but their economic fame may additionally not. Not every human have an identical situation,...

  • Dumpster Diving

Values and Human Conscience in Shakespeare's King Henry IV

Shakespeare's, King Henry IV Part I’s an examination of timeless human conscience and behaviour of 15th century Elizabethan England compellingly transcends time and translates to the modern audience of the 21st century through its focus of universal human values of moral choice and individualism -...

  • William Shakespeare

Representation of Messages and Values in the Tom Burton's Filmography

In this essay I will be investigating how Tim Burton’s messages and values are represented through the style of his films by looking at five of his films: Edward Scissorhands (1990), Sweeney Todd (2007) Beetlejuice (1988), Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Frankenweenie (2012). Messages and...

The Euphronios Krater as a Figure of Heritage Value

James Cuno, an American art historian and the President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, in his book Who Owns Antiquity? argues that antiquities should not be returned to their countries of origin. He states that there is a distinction between encyclopedic and...

The Impact of Religious Values on One's Worldviews

Humans have struggled throughout the centuries with the complication and doubt of our humanity. I ask myself, when I think about worldview, is what we are as humans? Which I find to be difficult and does not have an easy answer. My first understanding of...

Life of Pi: Journey of Values and Self-Exploration

This story, from my viewpoint, is a fanatic one. The realness the author involves in the story makes readers believing. On the other hand, he wants to describe how hard the life of the protagonist, PI’s life was. This story starts with normal family life,...

Antigone and Creon: Discussion of Values and Justice

Occurring in the moral realm, the major conflict in Sophocles' Antigone finds its very essence in the binary opposition of two disparate minds, the upholder of divine law and the advocate of human law. This clash between two social forces is embodied by the author...

  • Antigone Tragic Hero

Teacher's Recollection of Life and Values

As an early childhood educator, it is important to identify your key values and beliefs. This is to ensure the children of the future will have the confidence and be able to believe in themselves. Leading them to be great and extraordinary. Having a good...

  • Childhood Development
  • Values of Life

Realization Of The Value Of Sacrifice

My dad squints his eyes, so focused that he doesn’t hear me asking him a question. Nothing seems to distract him from the news and his dictionary app in his hands. After moving to the States, he only watched American news and until recently, I...

Understanding The Meaning Of Leisure

Over centuries, the meaning of leisure has changed drastically due to the always developing societies and their norms and cultures. In other words, everyone has a different understanding of what leisure means for them. One can look at it from many perspectives which makes the...

Personal Values, Morals & Biases Connected With Them

According to Mashla (2016) values is what we believe about what is right and wrong and what is most important in life, and that which controls our behaviour. My personal value system is one that is built strongly on Christian principles. I am a person...

  • Personal Life

Social Values In Singapore And Their Role For Economy

In “Singapore as Model” Huat explains that social values have played a significant role in Singapore's evolution and changes in its position in the global economy. One example of this involves the social (and political) values of anti-communism, which was a defining force during the...

  • Economic Development

Ethical Dilemmas: Personal Values versus Professional Ethics

The values I personally hold dearest and strive every day to realize, exemplify, and uphold for others as well as myself are fairness, social justice, tolerance, integrity, dignity, and equality. These values are deeply rooted in my personality and have, for as long as I...

  • Personal Qualities

My Valiues In Community, Moral Decisions And Professional Choice

Values are treasured by a person, a group of individuals, or an organization. Each and every single person has a distinct set of values. My values are made up of my experience, surroundings, and family background. My actions in my community, my moral decisions, and...

The Process Of Becoming Superior Human Beings

In the aphorism Excelsior, meaning to go beyond an imposing height, of Book 4 of “The Gay Science” by Friedrich Nietzsche, Nietzsche encourages all human beings to transcend, to rise ever higher, ever upwards than before: to become superior human beings. Throughout the aphorism, Nietzsche...

  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Human Development

Best topics on Values

1. The Essential Role of Human Values in the 21st Century

2. Human Values in 21st Century: A Blueprint for a Better World

3. Unpacking the Value of Community Service Hours

4. The Power of Censorship: Safeguarding Societal Values

5. The Ascent of Money: Is Money the Root of All Evil

6. Being Proud of Your Values and Beliefs

7. Understanding What Is The Special Value To Life

8. Defining The Meaning And Value Of Human Life

9. Finding The True Meaning And Value Of Life In Plato’s Works

10. The Meaning Of Life And Value Of Life Based On Plato’s Philosophy

11. Searching For What Is The Value Of Life

12. The Value Of A Single Life And Its Meaning

13. The Impact Of Religion On Defining What Is Value Of Life

14. Personal Dignity And Integrity As The Core Of Personal Values

15. Exposition Of Wicks Concept Of Human Right And Value To Life

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  • Personality
  • Clinical Experience
  • Childhood Memories

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Home / Essay Samples / Life / Values / Fostering Core Values in Education: A School’s Responsibility

Fostering Core Values in Education: A School's Responsibility

  • Category: Education , Life
  • Topic: School Curriculums , Student , Values

Pages: 3 (1321 words)

Views: 1168

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  • Values education. (2019, September 21). 
  • Tucker, K. (2019, January 10). Pros & Cons of Teaching Values in Schools. 

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