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2008 National Values Education Forum

The Australian Values Education Journey – Leading change, shaping futures, building community
29–30 May 2008, Hotel Realm, Barton, ACT

A full report of the 2008 National Values Education Forum is available for downloading below.

National Values Education Forum 2008The Australian Curriculum Studies Association (ACSA) was commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) to manage the 2008 National Values Education Forum.

The aims of the 2008 forum were to:

  • explore the implementation of the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools as the basis for the implementation of values education in Australian schools;
  • provide an update to participants on the Values Education Program;
  • share good practice in values education in Australian schools;
  • involve student voice in values education;
  • draw together the research findings of the Program since 2005; and
  • to facilitate discussion about future directions for values education.



The National Values Education Forum held in Canberra on May 29 and 30 brought together national and international speakers, teachers, principals, stakeholders, curriculum leaders and students. Three hundred people attended the forum to celebrate the values education initiative, share good practice ideas and experiences, involve the student voice in values education discussions and facilitate discussion about future directions in values education.

Two panel discussions and twelve workshop sessions were held, a number of which were presented by representatives from the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project (VEGPSP) – Stage 2. Workshops included: A Whole School Approach to Values Education, Socratic Circles as a Values-Positive Pedagogy, Student Action Teams, Connecting Story to Values and Place, and Service Learning.

Four international keynote addresses were presented by renowned researchers and educators.

Professor Martin Seligman, Director of the Positive Psychology Centre at the University of Pennsylvania is an experienced researcher in psychology, learnt helplessness, depression and optimism. He is keen to promote positive emotion, positive character and positive institutions as a means of creating positive education for young people.

National Values Education Forum 2008 - Andy Furco, Nazreen DasooDr Andy Furco, Associate Vice-President for Public Engagement at the University of Minnesota, spoke about his research with over 5,000 students infusing values education into state-mandated language arts curricula. Dr Furco provided valuable insights into the complex nature of values education and values acquisition in young people.

Dr Ruth Deakin Crick, Senior Research Fellow, Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol, UK spoke about the relationships between values and learning and the learning profiles of underachieving students. Dr Deakin Crick concentrated her presentation on the links between values and learning how to learn in schools. Dr Deakin Crick spoke about the importance of identifying, understanding and utilising the values inherent in peoples’ stories: the stories of individuals, the stories of local communities and the ‘big’ stories of nations and world histories.

Nazreen Dasoo, lecturer and senior researcher at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, spoke about values education developing in a context of rapid political, social, economic and educational reform in South Africa. She focused her keynote address on her involvement in research into street children’s values education programs in South Africa. Ms Dasoo spoke about the difficulties of ‘Whose values?’ in relation to trying to ascertain how values are formed and transmitted in gangs of children who live on the streets, fend for themselves, present with anti-social behaviours and don’t have the usual support mechanisms.

Interestingly the research that the keynote speakers have been involved in is coherent with and is echoed by what is happening in Australia in the VEGSPSP – 2 clusters.

During the plenary session at the end of the second day, facilitated discussion centred on questions of sustainability and the future of values education in the Australian context. Specifically, the question that was posed to the panel and the audience was: How do you know when values education is embedded and effective in schools?. The range of responses included the importance of continuing professional development for teachers, the involvement of parents, the nurturing of pre-service teachers, the need to drive values education from the top down and from the bottom up, ensuring that it involves young people as equal partners in schooling: in short, values education is embedded and effective when it is a whole-of-curriculum concept.

To view PowerPoint presentations from the workshops and keynote speakers visit the ACSA website.

Download the 2008 Forum Report as a PDF or Word file