Exploring the fostering of values in a school's vision and mission through curriculum implementation in English.
Vision and mission statements are developed by schools to give purpose and direction to all those who work in these institutions. They also articulate the values that the organisation endeavours to promote. This case study demonstrates how an independent school fosters values in the vision and mission statement through curriculum implementation. The school offers a values education programme in conjunction with the National Curriculum Statement. This is done through the example of the English curriculum in a primary school. The challenge for the National Curriculum Statement is how to promote the goals and values of social justice, equity and democracy, by integrating them across the curriculum. The Department of Education views values development as being crucial for the personal development of the students and to ensure that a South African identity is built on values different from the apartheid era (Department of Education, 2002). The school therefore has an important role to play not only in the development of knowledge and skills of their students, but also the development of values. This study adopts a qualitative approach which is located in the interpretative paradigm. A case study approach using multiple methods of data production was used. Document analysis, observations and semi-structured interviews were used to gather rich data. The vision and mission statement of the school was analysed to determine what values are articulated in it. Six comprehension lessons of three teacher participants were observed and a semi-structured interview was conducted with each teacher to determine what values are fostered through the teaching of English. The findings revealed that the values articulated in the school’s mission statement played a pivotal role in teaching. There was a strong relationship between the values in the mission statement and teaching of English. Teachers were successful in eliciting values during their teaching by using a variety of strategies, creating a positive classroom atmosphere and being acutely aware of the importance of being good role models. The training and support received by the teachers enhanced the fostering of values. In spite of the fact that the teachers were not involved in developing the school’s vision and mission statement which was the ideology of the organisation that started and manages the school, their belief in the values programme motivated its successful implementation.