ERIC Number: EJ780975
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
American Teachers: What Values Do They Hold?
Slater, Robert O.
Education Next, v8 n1 p46-52 Win 2008
In a liberal-democratic society there is always a desire to separate the teaching of values from the teaching of reading, writing, and mathematics, the so-called value-neutral subjects. But teachers have learned--and every parent who has done homework with his child knows--that, like it or not, they teach values in the course of teaching these subjects. They teach, for example, the value of hard work, of doing things that you might not like, of persevering in the face of difficulty, of listening to and respecting the efforts of adults, of self-initiated effort, of postponement of gratification, and of meeting deadlines. All of these simple lessons are moral instruction, lessons about what is important and about what ought to be taken seriously. So even if what they teach is value-neutral, teachers' and parents' teaching--by the manner in which they do it and the nature of their interactions in the course of it--conveys messages to children about how they should regard themselves, consider others, and meet their obligations. During the course of the 2005-06 school year, each teacher spent upward of 1,260 hours working with the nation's 54 million elementary and secondary school students. It would seem useful to know something about the values they hold. Where do America's elementary and secondary school teachers stand on freedom of speech, family values, and economic inequality, for example? What do they believe about religion and human nature? The short answer to these questions is that no one knows. To get a better sense of teachers' values, one can turn to the National Opinion Research Center's (NORC) General Social Survey, one of the largest, most reliable, and frequently used data sets in the social sciences. It is an almost-annual, national sample of Americans in which one can find demographic information and information on teachers' values from 1972 to 2006. (Contains 4 figures.)
Descriptors: Ethical Instruction, Freedom of Speech, Democracy, Social Sciences, Secondary School Teachers, Teacher Attitudes, Beliefs, Moral Values, Religion
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.hoover.org/publications/ednext
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States