What are your values? How about the values of your school? Do you think students at your school would be able to explain the school’s values to an outsider? If you found it difficult to answer all three, then you’re not alone; we tend to just assume our values are part of us and are reflected in our day-to-day lives. That’s true to an extent of course, but reaffirming what matters is never a bad thing.
Each year, World Values Day (19th October in 2017) challenges people worldwide to really think about, assess, and reaffirm their values. Check out their website for a range of useful and thought-provoking resources.
Why do values matter?
Values are, quite simply, what matters to you. On the World Values Day website, this definition is expanded: “Values are what make us who we are. They are the compass guiding everything we do – our choices and our actions.” When you take a step back and look at the broader definition, it’s probably quite easy to see why values are especially important for young people as they go through education. Arguably, it is education that enables us to define our own values, so being clear on what they are and how their influence affects our behaviour and choices is important. Most schools will have a motto, or at the very least will have had at some point in the past. My secondary school had (and still has) To Make Our Best Better as its flagship motto. Others from around the office include Teaching The Teachers Of Tomorrow, Nurturing Success, and Learn, Aspire, Exceed. All signify growth in some way – the perfect ethos for a school.
All about the motto
We’ve now arrived at the long-held tradition of the motto; not only used by schools, but organisations, charities, sports teams, and even countries. A motto is usually succinct and to the point, and nearly always memorable. It is the foundation around which values are built. It’s a little more tricky to define values in these terms, which is why a lot of schools we work with choose to have their school’s motto on their front cover, or a page dedicated to the school’s ethos. The benefits of having a planner page dedicated to this are numerous; it’s there for students to see every day as they record homework (how many youngsters do you think take the time to stop and look at your school’s sign every day?), and teachers have a reminder of what drives them. A school’s motto is essentially our first exposure to values in the wider community, so seize the opportunity to make it a part of the conversation on a regular basis. Ask the question regularly: what are we doing as a community and as individuals that define our values? It’s a lesson that none of us will forget.
Share your values with #WorldValuesDay on Twitter; we hope to see lots of values and mottos!
We have a range of templates in our library of page ideas that can be modified to include the values that make up your school’s ethos; alternatively, our planner specialists relish the challenge in creating something brand new that is completely meaningful and relevant for your school.