The purpose of value exercises is to spark reflection and discussion about the values we attach to certain issues/themes. These exercises are very effective when students work in groups, as they bring up many of the values (values that can lead to conflicts within groups) present during idea development and selection.
1) Come up with a list of assertions based on the course’s theme or related to the student’s projects. “When working in groups, it is most important:
- A) To make decisions together
- B) To spend equal amounts of time working
- C) To have a clear division of labour
- D) Something else?”
2) Then, designate corners of the classroom with individual assertions and prompt students to go to the assertion (corner) that they agree with most. Ensure them that there are no right or wrong answers.
3) When students have situated themselves in a corner, ask them to discuss among themselves why they chose their assertion.
4) Thereafter, ask each group to share excerpts from their discussion in plenum.
The exercise does not have a formal conclusion. However, you could ask groups to discuss how they might apply these different positions within the context of cooperative group work.
Many variations of value exercises exist. For example, you could create only one assertion and ask students to line up, 1-6, according to the degree with which they agree with it.
“It is the teacher’s responsibility to motivate students.” The teacher might say, “If you (students) strongly agree with this assertion, stand at the number 1 position, if you wholeheartedly disagree, stand at the number 6 position.” From there, a discussion to address differences in opinion can begin.
Prepare some themes/assertions for students to consider.
Values and Teaching: Louis Rath, Sydney Simon og Merrill Harman, 1966, Charles Merrill Publishing Company
Values Clarification: Sidney Simon, Leland W. Howe og Howard Kirschenbaum, 1972, Warner Books