Frequently Asked Questions
What is the New Zealand Foundation for Character Education Incorporated?
A non-profit organization without religious or political affiliations which was established in 1993 to fund the preparation, publication and promotion of character education resources.
The NZ Foundation for Character Education advocates the restoration of character education to its historical place at the centre of the school curriculum.
Why is character education important?Throughout history, and in cultures all over the world, education rightly conceived has had two great goals:
- To help young people master the skills of literacy and numeracy
- To help young people become good in terms of their behaviour
They need character for both. They need character qualities such as diligence, a strong work ethic, and a positive attitude in order to do their best in school and succeed in life. They need character qualities such as honesty, respect and fairness in order to live and work with others.
Character determines behaviour just as behaviour demonstrates character.
Why do schools implement character education?
- Behaviour is inextricably linked to character
- There is a clear and urgent need
- Even in a pluralist society there is common ethical ground
- Transmitting character is and always has been the work of a civil society
- Democracies have a special need for citizens of good character
- There is no such thing as values free education
- Character questions are among the great questions of life
- There is strong parental support for character education
- An unabashed commitment to character education is essential if schools are to attract and retain good teachers
- Character education is a manageable task, is inexpensive and the outcomes are cumulative
- Failure to educate for character imposes an enormous economic cost on communities
- Character education is a reform that will work. Other reforms may work but high standards of behaviour and conduct do work and nothing else works without them
- The best character education inspires young people by making them keenly aware that their own character is at stake.
What is the difference between values education and character education?
Values educationis primarily concerned with the quality of students’ thinking
Character educationis primarily concerned with the quality of students’ behaviour
What is the Cornerstone Values approach to character education?
- A simple, rational, manageable and inexpensive approach to character formation.
- The character traits are taught by precept and example.
- The teaching content is small – the definitions of eight objective values, the law of consequences and rational decision making.
- Recognises that character is communicated through relationships and is learned by being observed, modelled and experienced. For this reason the approach places a premium upon building a positive school culture.
- The school supports of the teaching content by advocating and modelling the eight cornerstone values.
- The eight cornerstone values inform and influence everything that happens in a school.
- The approach is not an addition to the curriculum but uses the curriculum and existing resources to communicate and build character.
- Acknowledges that while parents are the first and most important teachers of character the school has a pivotal role to play.
- Acknowledges that character education is a team effort involving the home, the school – trustees, principal, teachers, support staff, children – and the community.
- Recommends that one cornerstone value be taught per term.
- Inexpensive and teacher friendly resources have been developed to support the teaching component of the approach.
- Emphasizes the importance of stories, heroes and community service in character formation.
- Approach applicable to all levels of schooling
- While the definitions remain constant throughout schooling the resources and teaching methodology change to remain age appropriate.
- Recognises the inextricable link between character and behaviour.
Why are there eight Cornerstone Values?
The eight cornerstone values are drawn from the research of C. S. Lewis who spent decades studying cultures including the Ancient Egyptian, Old Norse, Ancient Jewish, Babylonian, North American Indian, Hindu, Ancient Chinese, Roman, Christian, Greek, Australian Aboriginal, Anglo-Saxon, Stoic and Ancient. As a result of his studies Lewis identified eight objective values which all cultures held in common. He expressed these in eight laws which he called the Tao or doctrine of objective values.
The eight Cornerstone Values express these eight objective values as:
- Honesty and truthfulness
- Consideration an concern for others (justice)
- Obedience (to rightful authority)
- Duty (obligation)
Why is Cornerstone Values called an approach and not a programme?
Cornerstone Values is not an addition to an already crowded curriculum. It uses the existing curriculum to teach a set of character traits and model them in the unwritten curriculum.
The eight cornerstone values inform and direct everything that happens in a school. Regardless of whether in the classroom, the principal’s office, the Board of Trustees’ meeting, the playground or the sports field.
Cornerstone Values is as much about school culture and what students are modelled and experience as it is about teaching eight objective values.
It is there an approach not a programme.
Where is the evidence that the Cornerstone Values approach to character education works to restore and conserve responsible and respectful behavior in schools?
An October 2004 study on the effects of character education in New Zealand schools found that schools that have had character education as part of their curriculum for over two years, show notable improvements in the school learning environment. These improvements include:
- Improved relationships between staff and students and between students
- Improved student behaviour
- Fewer discipline actions
- Enhanced the school as a caring community
- Increased staff stability
- Increased student attendance
Teachers acknowledged the advantages and satisfaction of teaching in a school with overt, proactive, specific character education.
The full report is available on www.cornerstonevalues.org/nzschools.html
A similar reach project was undertaken in June 2007. Analysis of the study is being supervised by Dr. Gael McDonald, Professor of Business Ethics, Auckland UNETIC.
When the report is available it will be posted on www.cornerstonevalues.org under the tab
How much does this approach cost?
Surprisingly little! About $500.
For details of the resources see the on-line store:
Building Character through CornerstoneValueswhich provides the rationale c $29.95. Also available as an eBook.
The set of eight
Cornerstone Values Resource Folderswhich provide two years teaching resources costs $318.
Staff training is available on DVD at a cost of $34.95
Other resources in production – A set of eight A2 character education posters and a CD of character education songs.
What would you suggest are the steps to begin to implement the Cornerstone Values approach to character education?
Rod Galloway who, as principal of two schools, introduced the Cornerstone Values approach to character education compiled the following list of forty proven ideas.
- Focus on one of the eight Cornerstone Values per term
- An order for of the value the term approach that works well is: Year 1 – Responsibility, Kindness, Honesty & Truthfulness, Consideration Year 2 – Respect, Compassion, Obedience, Duty
- Display values and definitions in classrooms and corridors
- Ask staff to teach and/or reinforce a unit that helps students understand the definition, desire the benefit and practice the behaviour
- Use teaching and learning objectives to help unpack each definition
- Display student work that supports the value of the term
- Sing a song that reinforces the value of the term
- Write an additional verse for a character education song
- Provide a school wide focus with recent examples of the value of the term at each assembly without moralizing
- Resource your school library with literature that reinforces the value of the term
- Explain and promote each terms value in one newsletter editorial early each term as an introduction
- Reinforce the value of the term by including a small and practical reminder in each newsletter
- Nominate practical community projects to reinforce the value of the term
- Devote part of a staff meeting at the beginning of the term to share ideas of the delivery of the value of the term
- Ask students to write about the right thing to do (www.lawsoflife.org)
- Provide an annual budget for Character Education
- Consider nominating an aspect of a value per year as a planning and reporting target
- Consider asking for financial support from service organisations
a willingness to model and/or teach good characterstatement in job descriptions
- Look for stories of heroes that model good character and celebrate them
- Conduct parent and student surveys to confirm your direction
- Publish your school character education philosophy and delivery in your prospectus
- Publish a character quote of the week for classroom use
- Publish anti-bullying strategies that incorporate your values
- Publish a Code of Conduct that incorporate your values
- Report to parents on their students Character Development
- Use a
Think Sheetthat incorporates your values asking students to consider the appropriateness of their action
- Appoint a student superhero for each value of the term
- Issue character vouchers while on playground duty. Organize a weekly draw for students with a certain number.
- Find practical examples of the value of the term to congratulate students at assembly
- Design and construct classroom banners, e.g.: Respect – Just Do It ?
- Use current events to highlight the presence or absence of the value of the term
- Role play various social situations demonstrating the value of the term
- Ask staff to consider the ways in which existing structures might incorporate the value of the term (e.g. Daily notices and form time)
- Emphasise the value of the term with your senior pupils in leadership roles
- Retain school displays of each terms value as a reminder for the year
- Check out these websites
- Establish Character Education links with Early Childhood Centres, Primary Schools and parenting organizations in your area
- Consider becoming an accredited Cornerstone Values School
- Document your story. Collect data and stories before, during and after each value of the term
Which New Zealand schools use Cornerstone Values?
Over 800 NZ schools have purchased resources for the Cornerstone Values approach to character education or attended seminars, conferences and symposia.
While the exact number of New Zealand schools using the Cornerstone Values approach is not known an official Ministry of Education publication suggests that it is significant.
Values in the New Zealand Curriculum – Ministry of Education Literature Review 2006,noted on page 83 that:
This programme [Cornerstone Values] had been very influential in a considerable number of schools … as evidenced by mention of the programme by many schools represented at regional consultation meetings.
Schools known to have implemented effective character education include:
- Bellevue School, Bancroft Terrace, Wellington, Contact – Angela Johnston, Assistant Principal, 04 478 7037
- Fairfield School, Sickels Street, Dunedin, Contact – Andy Larsen, Principal, 03 488 2040
- George Street Normal Dunedin, George Street, Contact – Rod Galloway, Principal, 03 474 0825
- Kaharoa School, RD2 Rotorua, Contact – Warwick Moyle, Principal, 07 332 3444
- Malfroy School, Malfroy Street, Rotorua, Contact – Nicky Brell, Principal, 07 348 8588
- Musselburgh School, Marlow Street, Dunedin, Contact – Brent Caldwell, Principal, 03 489 1452
- Owera North, Centreway Road, Owera, Contact – Bruce Laws, Principal, 09 426 4849
- Rangitaiki Independent School, 33 Meadow Vale, Whakatane, Contact – Gay West, Principal, 07308 9903
- Spring Creek School, Spring Creek, Marlborough, Contact – Andrew McFarlane, Principal, 03 570 5514
- Taupo Nui-A-Tia College, Taupo, Contact – Peter Moyle, Acting Principal, 07 378 7075
- Te Atatu Intermediate School, Harbour View Road, Auckland, Contact – Noelle Fletcher, Principal 09 834 5371
- Te Awamutu Primary School, Te Awamutu, Waikato, Contact – Gareth Duncan, Principal 07 871 5378
- Tongariro Area School, Turangi, Contact – Keith McKenzie, Principal, 07 386 8684
- Tauturau School, No 4 RD, Gore, Contact – Wendy Hendry, Principal 03 203 8254
- Waianiwa School, RD 4 Invercargill, Contact – Sue Walker, Principal, 03 235 2858
- Westbridge Residential School, West Auckland, Contact – John Rutherford, Principal, 09 832 4918
- Weston School, North Otago, Contact – Nicky Ryan, Principal 03 434 5445
- Westport South School, Westport, Contact – Jo Duston, Principal 03 789 7130
- Wyndham School, Wyndham, Southland, Contact – Neil Winefield, Principal, 03 206 4790
Where can I read about schools that have successfully implemented Cornerstone Values?
On the WebPage www.cornerstonevalues.org under the tab
Accredited Schools– www.cornerstonevalues.org/accredited.html
How do parents respond to cornerstone values approach to character education?
Schools that have effective character education report the overwhelming support of parents.
A report on research undertaken by the New Zealand Foundation for Character Education is posted on www.cornerstonevalues.org under the tab
Combined Survey Analysis– www.cornerstonevalues.org/survey.html
Research on the outcomes of character education in New Zealand schools which will be reported to the Annual Cornerstone Values Symposium on 2 November includes a section on parental response to character education.
The report will be posted on www.cornerstonevalues.org when it is available.
What resources does the New Zealand Foundation for Character Education recommend schools use, how are they useful and where do I get them from?
The resources produced by the New Zealand Foundation for Character Education to enable schools and colleges to implement effective character education which are available on the WebPage www.cornerstonevalues.org include:
A 272 page book –
Building Character through Cornerstone Valueswritten by John Heenan. It provides a rationale for character education, a practical teaching strategy and suggested resources.
Building Character through Cornerstone Values– A 92 minute DVD John Heenan discusses the what, the why and the how of the Cornerstone Values approach to character education. The presentation which is divided into six modules is designed for staff professional development. The DVD is ideal for schools beginning to implement Cornerstone Values.
Cornerstone Values Teaching Resource Folders – A collection of practical, teacher friendly photocopy masters for the busy classroom teacher. Each folder contains approximately 32 pages of classroom ideas, activities, book lists, and quotations that unpack each of the eight cornerstone values. Each folder contains more than enough resource for one school term.
Folder titles: Responsibility, Obedience, Respect, Compassion, Kindness, Consideration, Duty, Honesty & Truthfulness
Cornerstone Values Posters – A set of eight A2 posters to reinforce the definitions of honesty, responsibility, kindness, respect, compassion, obedience, consideration and duty with 48 catchy, easy to understand statements that will really get your students thinking.
The Cornerstone Values definition posters are an excellent way to promote the ‘value of the term’
Contemporary and colourful, these posters provide an ideal centrepiece for a display of your students’ written or art work. When displayed in areas such as corridors or the school library they remind students of the right thing.
Each poster provides the ideas and language for a fuller understanding of each value.
A list of 20 classroom activities for using the posters is included with each set.
Are there upcoming events that I can attend that would help my staff implement character education using the Cornerstone Values approach?
The 2007 Symposium
CONNECTING CHARACTER TO CONDUCT
Teaching Values in the New Curriculum
National Library, Wellington on Friday 2 November
A one day sharing of good practice, recent research, and new resources that will assist schools to implement the values and key competencies of the revised curriculum using the Cornerstone Values approach to character education
There is no registration fee for this symposium.
See www.cornerstonevalues.org/symposium.html for further details and registration.
Does the Cornerstone Values approach to character education work in countries other than New Zealand and how are resources ordered internationally?
Yes, inquires have been received from all over the world and Cornerstone Values resources have been sold to many countries.
One of the great attractions of Cornerstones Values is that each core value is consistent, universal and transcultural.
Who should I contact if I have an enquiry or need help to get started implementing the Cornerstone Values approach to character education?
Rod Galloway, Chairman, New Zealand Foundation for Character Education and Principal, George Street Normal School, Dunedin.
John Heenan, Director, New Zealand foundation for Character Education.