If you were to list three of your core values what would they be? Dedication? Reliability? Thoughtfulness perhaps? Now the tricky question, where did you acquire those values? How many of them came from your schooling?
This is a topical question. Research by Populus for the Jubilee Centre for Character and Values suggests 84% of parents sampled want school to instil key morals and values in their pupils.
I don’t know if there is a consensus as to what particular values should be transmitted. If a top three set of positive values could be taught (like the ones I mentioned in the first paragraph), they would be a powerful foundation on which to base some goal setting later in young peoples’ lives.
They might also lessen the number of young people who end up within the criminal justice system. A revealing feature story by BBC Home Affairs correspondent, Tom Symonds, touches on one young man’s value system which led him to commit a second knife-point robbery and end up in prison. The young man sounds like he considers his own needs first and foremost, when he says he did the robbery because “[he] was going shopping in the West End the next day and … wanted some money to spend”.
If in future that young man was motivated to identify more positive values he could be coached successfully. It would take time to build enough rapport to support him in action planning. The key achievement would be to help him identify a decisive action, to answer the question ‘what else’ does he want to do with his life after his sentence ends.