Changing times, changing values : an alchemy of values education.
This study sought to explore what human values were being fostered by teachers at secondary schools within the context of the transformation that is occurring in South Africa and in education. Teachers from three different demographic regions: urban, township and rural responded to what human values were being promoted in their classes, why these values were being promoted and if they had changed their values during their teaching career, what factors were responsible for the change. This study is set in the context of a changing educational arena in South Africa. The promotion of values education is seen by the government of South Africa as a cornerstone in assisting with not only the transformation of education and also in the transformation of South Africa and to promulgate nation building. For this study the production of data involved a comparative case study of teachers. responses on values education, at three different geographically located schools. For this aspect, data was obtained through using a questionnaire. Data was also obtained from a semi-structured interview of three teachers, one teacher from each school. This information was then compiled as a narrative. The methodology employed for this study utilized a combination of comparative case study, narrative inquiry and auto-ethnography approaches. The analyses of the data are presented in two levels. Level one analysis which comprises descriptive statistics is contained in Appendix F. Categories that were identified from the emerging trends from the data analysis are presented as a second level of analysis. This study is located within the interpretative/social constructivism research paradigm. Different theories (Piaget, Kohlberg, Gillian, Bandura and Freud) of moral development that propose how values are developed are discussed to highlight the process on how human beings and more especially children formulate their values. Some of the perspectives that explain the development of morals or values include the cognitive approach, the developmental and the social learning perspective. Transformative Change xv Theory (Mezirow, Boyd & Myers) is also outlined, which explains transformation processes in an adult. An interdisciplinary approach was utilised since it was extremely difficult to select any one theoretical framework to guide this thesis. The data analyses revealed that teachers were struggling to adopt change and found that the promotion of human values was difficult to initiate. Teachers cited various reasons as to why this process was fraught with difficulties. The central concern of teachers was a lack of awareness of: values education in general, documents and policies implemented by the government and the education departments to foster positive values and a lack of avenues for professional development in the area of values education. While teachers cited that the country had transformed into a democratic nation, these changes were not experienced at .grassroots level.. It was also found that different teachers were at different levels in their ability to promote values education in their classes. On the basis of the above, my research has suggested the following which serve as a positive contribution to theory pertaining to values education: the theories on values development are largely concerned with the values development of children and does not apply to adults, in this case, teachers, and therefore a theory that will help explain how adults form or change their values is required. An alchemistic values cycle is then proposed.