Values education making a difference to student achievement
Staff from around the diocese took part in the symposium
Greg Wilson, CEO Parramatta, shared research on the impact of values education
Catholic school leaders, Religious Education coordinators, teachers and other staff from around the Parramatta diocese gathered in Rooty Hill on 29 July for a Values Education Symposium.
Supported by Commonwealth funding, the day provided information and support for schools on significant issues including the place of values in a quality education and ecological sustainability for schools.
Team leader, Religious Education, Catholic Education Parramatta and symposium organiser, Greg Wilson offered insights into recent research and writings in the field of values education that demonstrates the impact of values education on student wellbeing and achievement.
‘With the current focus on literacy and numeracy, there is a danger that we will direct all our energy away from other important areas of the curriculum, such as values. We don’t want values to be overlooked simply because they don’t count towards a student’s ATAR,’ Greg said.
Greg spoke of data from various elements of the National Values Education Project that have begun to demonstrate ‘how this program has contributed to improvements in literacy and numeracy outcomes as well as pro-social outcomes (2008 National Values Education Forum)’. This research has shown that values education among other benefits has had a positive effect on classroom climate and ethos, student achievement, student attitudes and behaviour, and student resilience and social skills.
In the school sustainability session of the symposium, participants were given the opportunity to consider the planning model and ‘Sustainable Schools Network’ being promoted by the Australian Bishops and Catholic Earthcare, as a way of becoming more ecologically sustainable.
The symposium also provided an opportunity to launch the ‘Simulations Experience’ resource kit developed by Catholic Education Parramatta and the Caritas Be More Challenge, trialled in a number of schools last year.
The Be More Challenge is aimed at tackling global poverty and injustice by ‘doing’ justice. Caritas Australia, at the inspiration of Oscar Romero is calling Australians to aspire not to have more but to BE MORE. The Be More Challenge encourages Australians to be agents of change by setting 5 challenges; personal, family, local, national and global. The Simulations Experience introduces classroom simulations that provide powerful learning experiences for students through their capacity to deeply engage students in roles and situations that provide unique insights and perspectives into human behaviour, society and culture.
In covering such as wide range of values-related issues, Greg Wilson said it was hoped that ‘all would leave the day with a sense of possibility, with a genuine understanding of how to take action and a belief that something can be done to bring about lasting change’.
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