Notes for teachers 2: Introductory activity

In this activity students are introduced to the language of values by considering the following questions:

  • What are values?
  • Which values are important to you?

Provide students with a copy of Student handout 1: Introductory activity

1a. Organise students into small groups and ask them to discuss and, on Table 1, write down examples of themselves or someone else displaying the nine values. Students should be encouraged to use examples from real life (such as at school, in the family or community), books, history, films, television, cartoons, music, poetry, comics or stories they have been told or heard. Ask students to define the meanings of these words from their examples.

1b. Have students share their anecdotes and stories in larger groups or with the class.

1c. Discuss the similarities and differences among the stories and the ones that are most and least meaningful to students.

1d. Have students discuss stories about particular values and which types of stories are favoured by them and why. For example, they may prefer stories about justice or love.

1e. Ask students to decide which three stories or anecdotes they thought were the most inspirational and why, by focusing on these questions:

  • Which story had a clear message?
  • How did the message of the story or the character affect you – did it make you feel sad, happy, angry or hopeful?
  • What was good, positive or worthwhile about the story?
  • Did the stories make you think that you could be brave, helpful, fair etc if the situation arose?

2a. Have students complete Table 2 on the handout.

They first make a list of synonyms for the words and phrases listed, for example care and compassion: concern, sympathy, empathy and looking out for someone. The second is a list of opposites of the values words and phrases.

2b. When students have completed this task ask them to rank these values from the most to the least important. Discuss and compare the results.


Other words and phrases with similar meanings

Words and phrases that are opposite in meaning

Care and Compassion


Doing Your Best


Fair Go




Honesty and Trustworthiness








Understanding, Tolerance and Inclusion


2c. Have students write down a definition of values.

One definition is as follows:

'... the principles and fundamental convictions which act as general guides to behaviour, the standards by which particular actions judged as good or desirable.'

(J Halstead, J and M Taylor, 'Learning and teaching about values: review of recent research', Cambridge Journal of Education, vol 30, no 2, 2000, p 169)

Overview | Notes for teachers 1 | Notes for teachers 2 | Notes for teachers 3 | Notes for teachers 4 | Student handout 1 | Student handout 2 | Student handout 3 | Student handout 4 | Student handout 5 | Student handout 6 | Student handout 7 | Student handout 8 | Student handout 9 | Student handout 10