Moral

Moral character

Practices | Identify and acknowledge fundamental values

1. Highlights

Values are the “why” behind what we do, but often they are not clearly stated or even consciously recognized. By articulating our own values as well as the values of those around us, we can better understand and navigate conflicts and ensure that our decisions, actions and solutions will align with our values, not work against them.

Articulate our own values and those of the community around us

Work through differences in values and seek to find commonalities

Develop creative, equitable solutions based on shared values

When we identify and acknowledge fundamental values by being clear about what matters most, we establish a compass to direct our decisions and actions — whether those actions are those we take in our personal or professional lives or whether they are the policy decisions made within educational institutions. In a learning community, we often hold different values, and, if not handled well, these differences can lead to conflict between individuals. In pluralistic situations like this, we need to engage in empathetic, honest and humble deliberations — working inclusively to engage everyone affected by a problem — to identify the values that should guide us in making fair and equitable decisions.

Understanding both our own values and those of others in our learning communities — including students, parents, fellow educators or others in our larger community — can lead to creative solutions which benefit from the diverse perspectives of our communities. In contrast, failure to consider these values can lead to innovations which are highly contested, inequitable and fail to address the core concerns of those whom the innovations are designed to serve.

Reflection can help us understand how our life experiences brought us to the values we hold today.
Understanding both our own values and those of others in our learning communities can lead to creative solutions which benefit from our diverse perspectives.

2. Context

Understanding both our own values and those of others in our learning communities can lead to creative solutions which benefit from our diverse perspectives.

3. Resources

Select one of our featured resources or visit the PI toolkit library for more tools.

A library full of books

Student agency through civic engagement

  Video

  7 minutes

  By: Principled Innovation™ (PI)

Please get to know your values

  Article

  5 minutes

  By: Forbes

Why values matter

  Video

  10 minutes

  By: Jan Stassen, TEDx

Values sort

  Tool

  30 minutes

  By: Principled Innovation™ (PI)

Access our collection of +200 learning materials

PI toolkit library

4. Connect the dots

How could this practice be enacted through the Moral assets?

Fairness

Fairness calls us to recognize that our place in society is shared with others who may have competing value systems. Designing solutions that equitably serve diverse stakeholders requires a clear understanding of what those stakeholders’ values are.

Honesty

Creating an environment in which stakeholders are comfortable in honestly sharing their beliefs and values requires the creation of learning environments which respect and reward truthfulness, whether or not that truth is welcomed or inconvenient.

Humility

By recognizing that we always have more to learn, humility helps us to identify our own values while knowing that others prioritize different ones, setting the stage for continued learning and understanding.

Empathy

Empathy plays a central role in helping us to more deeply understand others’ values and in helping us to circumvent or navigate conflicts in a pluralist and democratic society.