The ‘Ideal’ vs. ‘Real’ Values Educator: How teachers’ Practice Impacts on Values Education at a Disadvantaged South African School

ML Drake


A renewed emphasis on values education provides a ‘beacon of hope’ as to how South Africans may find common ground and become a united society through education. Teachers are described as role-models in the process of values realisations, with competence and commitment being key ingredients in how teachers model new South African values. This study investigates the role of the teacher in values education, by comparing policy ideals and context realities. Functioning in difficult circumstances, disadvantaged (township) schools continually struggle against the odds. Using qualitative research methods situated in the interpretive paradigm, observations, in-depth interviews and focus groups with teachers reveal deeply explanatory evidence that support how the attitudes and behaviours of teachers severely impact values realisation and enactment in a school community. Findings indicate that policy-makers need to carefully consider the end-users of policy; the teachers in the field. Without targeted interventions to address these ground-level, contextual issues, values policies will remain an idealistic rhetoric.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p1542

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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