Should English Teachers be Teaching Values?

When we teach, values are always implicit. Showing respect for others, taking turns, assuming responsibility and turning in assignments on time are key values that are an integral part of what students learn in school. These values teach children not only to be good class members, but are a basis for learning to become good citizens and community members.

Which values are best?

The question isn’t whether or not teachers should be teaching values, but what kinds of values should teachers help students develop. First, by being a positive role model, a teacher models the right behaviours. These include honesty, showing respect for others, taking responsibility for one’s actions, cooperation and caring. Students are the reflections of their teacher. The way teacher acts, behaves and talks, is observed and evaluated by the student.

Secondly, by teaching students how to think and evaluate what they are learning, they are teaching values along with course content. For example, a lesson that teaches about Earth Day not only teaches facts and numbers, but also about caring for the environment.

Language impacts our values

English teachers, by the very nature of their course content, teach values. The languages that we learn and speak impact the way we think, the way we see the world, and the way we live our lives. When children learn a second language, they learn more than words. They learn about different cultures, about different ways of thinking and about how to accept and respect differences.

More than 30 years of experience in teaching English as a Foreign Language has shown me that the original methodology that our trained Helen Doron teachers use in the classroom to teach English supports learning good values. Our teachers use positive reinforcement, which teaches students respect for others, as well as respect for themselves. Learning through fun and games in small groups of 4-8 students teaches good sportsmanship and team building skills.

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