Empowering learners for life in the 'global village'

Rosemary Dewan

Rosemary Dewan is the CEO of the Human Values Foundation which promotes the importance of teaching human values in schools. Since 1995 it has been providing practical, cross-curricular programmes for personal development and behaviour management, integrating SMSC, PSHE education, Citizenship, PLTS and SEAL.

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Website: www.humanvaluesfoundation.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Globalisation and rapid, continuous technological change are presenting enormous challenges and making education ever more critical in preparing students for work and citizenship. In modern knowledge economies, education is not only the main driver of growth but a key social equalizer. However, it is vital that matters are kept in perspective so that education not only raises academic performance but also develops and nurtures the personal growth of children and young people by embracing domains such as their emotional wellbeing, their attitudes, their self-esteem and social competencies and their abilities to communicate well, since all these capacities are essential to each individual’s long-term happiness, relationships and attainment, whatever his or her role in today’s complex and extensively interconnected ‘global village’.

Education that is fit for purpose

The world over, thought-provoking debate is taking place about how to ensure education is fit for purpose in the 21st century. Experience shows that when shared values are successfully embedded into the heart of all that takes place in schools and teachers apply values-focused, student-centred pedagogies, with positive values being actively promoted as an integrated curriculum concept, all kinds of exciting changes and wide-ranging benefits begin to take place.

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Putting PSHE education and Citizenship into context

Clearly it is important to contextualise lessons and a useful source of relevant personal, local and global issues for consideration by today’s young citizens can be found within the range of materials developed as a result of The Earth Charter Initiative (http://www.earthcharter.org). The ambitious mission of the Earth Charter Initiative is to promote the transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework that includes respect and care for the community of life; ecological integrity; universal human rights; respect for diversity; economic justice; democracy; and a culture of peace.

Values as reference points to guide thinking, decision-making and actions

Associated with the Earth Charter is a “Guide for Using the Earth Charter in Education”. The guidebook was written for teachers interested in bringing into the classroom, their concerns for building a just and peaceful world. It attempts to respond to the needs of educators who feel that fundamental changes are required in our teaching and learning processes. It therefore addresses key questions such as:

  • What skills and perspectives are important for my students to acquire?
  • What shared values and principles should be at the heart of education?
  • How can I incorporate values for sustainable living into my teaching?

The Earth Charter offers a rich source of ideas for PSHE education and for developing engaging approaches to the understanding and application of values and citizenship in local and global contexts. The scope of issues looked into can provide children and young people with important insights into how their own and other people’s different values can significantly impact relationships, real-life situations and actual outcomes. The topics explored have the potential for deep learning and opportunities for student agency, helping individuals develop the confidence and capacity to participate and act independently when appropriate, with their informed thinking guiding their decision-making and ultimately their actions and behaviour.

Learn more...

Check out Innovate My School's PSHE / Citizenship directory for a range of useful classroom resources.

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