Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Paper - Contemporary Youth Learning Values


Yes. Values are the framework for our lives. The ways we think, feel and behave depend upon the values we hold, our religious and moral beliefs. Some values vary according to the situations we find ourselves in, others are more fundamental. A Filipino experiences family closeness and solidarity (pagpapahalaga sa pamilya), politeness (use of po or ho), hospitality (tuloy po kayo), gratitude (utang na loob) from "within", that is, subjectively and emotionally, unlike a non-Filipino observer, social scientist, or psychologist who studies Filipino values objectively from "without" or "from a distance". Such Filipino values as social acceptance, (pakikisama, amor propio, economic security, pagmamay-ari), and trust in God (paniniwala sa Diyos, bathala or Maykapal) find their philosophical basis in man's dynamic openness toward nature and the world (e.g., the value of hanap-buhay ng magsasaka), one's fellowmen (the values of paggalang, hiya, katarungan, pag-ibig), and God (the values of pananampalataya, pananalangin, kabanalan).

Values development has and will always be the concern not only of societies but also particularly of societal institutions like the schools and universities. The development of values is a complex process and the initial stages depend on those who look after us at home and at school.

Based on the premise above, the answer to the question posed as title of this paper is affirmative. The contemporary youth is learning his/her values from teachers in school. One avenue wherein the youth learns values from teachers is from the formal curriculum itself. In Region XI, in response to the need for values development, massive training programs in various elementary, secondary and tertiary levels are being conducted, aimed to equip the teachers with skills and strategies for developing values in their students. Strategies used in the elementary schools ranged from the simple telling, modeling, persuading to the more complex approach of identifying values, exploring feelings, and values clarification. In the secondary schools, the most widely used methods are inculcating, moral development, values analysis, value clarification, and action learning. The tertiary level integrates values in various disciplines by methods ranging from games, quiz shows to problem solving and role-playing.

There is also a way wherein values are integrated into the curriculum—through the “hidden curriculum.” Teachers and administrators help in shaping the values of students in an unconscious and unintentional way through two psychological processes: the reinforcement or the system of reward and punishment formally and informally and the role modeling or the imitation of significant adults in the school. There is however, the possibility that some values might be unintentionally emphasized such as giving recognition to achievement or hard work might overstress personally motivated success thereby promoting personal ambition over the value of service of others. In fostering economic security the educator might overemphasize working for economic betterment and in the process cultivate materialism over the values of thrift and simplicity.

Still, another way that teachers foster values to the youth is through informal approaches - primarily being a role model and providing examples for their students. It is good if teachers intentionally impart positive values by example. What is not good is when teachers tell their students about positive values but they themselves show the students negative values, unknowingly. Some Filipino values are positive but may be showed and taken in a negative manner. If these situations persist in school, the teachers will be contaminating the students or the youth in particular. The technical and professional competence of the teachers may not be in question here but rather it is the essence of the teacher, their core values, and their vision.

In Region XI, teachers should take extra caution considering cultural differences. While the youth learn from teachers their values, the family upbringings pertaining to certain cultures are heavier than that in school. Further, religion is also a factor to consider. Hence, values of the youth are not totally by teachers but also the family and the environment.