Live your values

Latha Vydianathan

In science, the term “paradigm shift” applies to throwing out theories that can no longer stand because research has shown them to be flawed or wrong. For a long time we thought the atom was the smallest particle possible. It was all we could “see” with the tools that were available. New technology and science proved that theory wrong. This created a paradigm shift in world view for everyone. We’ve known for years that there are better and more effective ways to educate our children than the current school model. We have also believed that human nature can be changed and a new destiny created.

Research has shown clearly for years that many of the practices that are held on to tightly by traditional schools are flawed and even harmful. Yet most people continue to embrace traditional education models as the “right” way. “Learn shift” is all about paying attention to the right things, to be open to and evaluate new concepts. To give priority to performance. To give priority to self-image as the generator of performance. Human relationships, teachers and learners are of primary importance to the journey of learning.

The values and attitudes we live by affect how we relate to other people and to all our activities in the environment and so are a major influence on our prospects for achieving a sustainable future. Although they cannot be separated from cognitive understanding, values and attitudes relate to the affective (or emotional) dimension of human behaviour. While values and attitudes are similar in this regard, they differ in several important ways.

Values are generally long-term standards or principles that are used to judge the worth of an idea or action. They provide the criteria by which we decide whether something is good or bad, right or wrong. Attitudes predispose us to respond in particular ways to people and events. They are not so deeply felt as values and quite often change as a result of experience.

An opportunity to consider the importance of human values and attitudes in shaping the future triggered the idea of an Invigilator-less Examination in schools*. The process also provides ideas and examples for two categories of strategies for exploring values in the classroom – values clarification and values analysis. Helping students to better understand the values that guide their own daily lives and contribute to changes in values held collectively by communities and personally by individuals. It has helped students not only in inculcating the value of honesty and integrity but also in imbibing in them the art of self-control and confidence. The students apart, the beneficiaries are also the teachers and parents.

The main objective of this type of assessment practice is to give students an opportunity to live their values – in this case honesty, truthfulness, and self-discipline. To show them that we trust them. The impact is a rise in self-esteem in students, improvement in student-teacher relationship. Students get a trouble-free environment to answer examinations. Its time we make a learn shift to listen to the inner voice as we are assessed and give importance to the obedience of self-assessment than opting to be assessed by someone else.

*The idea of invigilator-less exams was conceived by Vijayam Kartham, Vice Chairperson, Kerala Public School – Jamshedpur.

The author is Primary Coordinator, Delhi School of Excellence, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. She can be reached at

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