Values, Controversial Issues and Interfaith Understanding
Henderson, Deborah J. (2008) Values, Controversial Issues and Interfaith Understanding. In Marsh, Colin (Ed.) Studies of Society and the Environment: Exploring The Teaching Possibilities, 5th Edn. Pearson Education Australia, Frenchs Forrest, NSW., pp. 132-169.
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This chapter explores a range of approaches to teaching about values, controversial issues and interfaith understanding in social education/integrated social sciences and teh disciplines of history and geography. It is written for primary, middle and secondary pre-service teachers. Values are fundamental to human activity. What makes us distinctive is our ability to understand the challenges we face in life, and to make choices about how to respond. Yet, as the Cheshire cat from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland observed, if we don't care about how we make such choices, then the outcome of our decision making is diminished. Values education is a complex and controversial area, yet it is an essential part of the education system. Many syllabuses and policy documents require that certain values are emphasised. And of course, schools aim to inculcate and foster in students a range of personal, social, moral and spiritual values, many of which are shared by members of the wider community. Yet because values are also contested in the community, values education involves the exploration of controversial issues. Similarly, an exploration of the underlying belief systems of different worldviews and how they influence value commitments and interfaith understanding in today’s world is an increasingly significant part of values education.
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