PNU-ACES APPROACH IN TEACHING VALUES EDUCATION
The PNU-ACES approach has a very high probability of "winning the hearts and minds" of the learners of values.
THE PNU AFFECTIVE-COGNITIVE EXPERIENCE FOR SELF-DIRECTION (ACES) TEACHING APPROACH TO VALUES EDUCATION
A teaching truism reminds us that there is no one way to teach anything or anyone. In values education, many advocates of approaches and methodologies had attempted to present well-intentioned pronouncements on how one can best teach values. Each of these approaches has its persuasive features, and its influences have been considerable. However, very few, if any, were spared from criticisms from various sector of education. As a result, teachers in their fear to be identified with the limitations of the approaches, either do not use them or try a little of all the methods in an eclectic manner.
Rather than just leave the values education teacher to choose which of these approaches to use, combined or discard, we are presenting an alternative approach which is not at all new but which has attempted to integrate the strengths of five of the major approaches to values education discussed in previous chapters.
However, this is not presented as the panacea for constraints in values education. We do not claim that this is the right approach but like the acronym ACES suggests, it carries with it a very high probability of "winning the hearts and minds" of the learners of values. In this chapter, we will simply try to present an organized option to carry out our belief that the teacher is both a facilitator and director of values learning.
The ACES Teaching Approach is based on the confluent theory of education. The theory provides for the flowing together and interaction of the effective and cognitive elements in individual and group learning.
Affective refer to the feeling or emotional aspect of experience and learning, while cognitive refers to the activity of the mind towards knowing an object , or its intellectual functioning in the full grasp of the reality (thing, person, or circumstance).
Educators differ in their approaches to education. Many believe in the use of cognitive objectives as a means to develop affective reasoning, while other believes in the use of affective objectives as a means to cognitive realizations.
The confluent theorists believe in the simultaneous achievements of both affective and cognitive goals. Confluence, moreover, means wholeness. Learning one way does not happen independently of other ways. Each reinforces the other in the totality of effect in the individual.
The ACES approach conforms with the confluent theory of education. The integration of these two dimensions aims to balance the two components of values development for the person to have a solid base for its behavioral manifestation, the third component.
As Kroll (1987) puts it, "the aim of education is an education for living. It gives meaning and direction to all we do-including not only what, but how and why we might learn any technical information".
Kroll further states that learning values is not enough. By this, he means that the understanding of the concept of certain values-learning the principles of social responsibility-for instance, is not enough. If one chooses to act contrary to the best interest of society, he has really learned nothing. For Kroll, true education demands more than just processing information but laying down even the most basic question of human life. It requires a continuing change of behavior in a wholesome direction. True education involves learning and becoming a different person. Values education, therefore, should have these vital components of true education. The truly educated person is one who actually puts into practice what he has learned not only to benefit himself but also others.
THE TEACHER AS A FACILITATOR OF AFFECTIVE AND COGNITIVE LEARNING
" Values are caught, not taught." This statement seems to reject the idea of teaching values directly in the classroom, i.e., allot time for it as when we teach mathematics skill and science concepts. While we all agree that values can be "caught" in virtually all the various area of the "formal" as well as the hidden curricula, there is a point in learning values systematically and purposively in the classroom just as in any of the other academic lessons. In so doing, our assurance is increased that it is the desirable or appropriate Values that are caught.
There remains a challenge, therefore, of maintaining formal learning conditions and yet conditions where values are "caught" more effectively rather than taught. It is on this premise that the teacher of values education is preferred to act as facilitator whose role is to provide learning experiences and maintain an effective vehicle of values education. He/she is tasked to structure meaningful learning activities that the student can go through which may provide him some bases for making decisions and for manifesting his values orientations. In this way, the learning activities are so structured that the learners themselves discover what they value, clarify their values, listen to others’ views and finally make decisions. Values are not just imposed or "taught" to the learners. They are guided to be able to "catch" the values that surface from the learning experiences which they will process with their teacher.
The ACES (Affective, Cognitive Experiences for Self-Direction) teaching approach puts a heavy premium on the affective development of the student not because precedes the other dimensions but because it serves as the most vital force in the integration of the individual’s personality for a fuller and viable way of life. Development of a sound value system is of prime importance. For instance, the youth must not just be told that drug abuse is detrimental to their health, but more importantly, they should learn to value themselves and their personhood, i.e., their total being, their potential, their goals. They must also know their limitations.
The ACES teaching approach, therefore, makes the learner become aware of himself, his assets and liabilities. He learns to maintain and reinforce his strengths, to reduce and possibly eliminate his weaknesses, or to replace his liabilities with positive traits. He learns to value not only what he considers desirable but what he feels is right and proper to desire for himself and others. He learns to defend what he believes is right, to stand strongly by his peers and other external forces when necessary.
There are a number of alternatives from which the learner could choose. Before the finally chooses which to value, he uses his cognitive ability in analyzing which is proper for him and for others. The ACES teaching approach helps the learners develop an adequate construct system. How the learners perceives each alternative defends on how adequate his construct system is. This means that the individual must have the ability to construe events in different ways, to analyze the event, know the why’s and how’s of a certain situation. He should be able to sharpen his awareness of consequences following certain decisions such that when faced with a problem, he would have adequate alternatives to choose from. He would then be able to choose appropriately the alternative that would solve his problems.
THE TEACHER AS VALUES DIRECTOR
The teacher as values director has certain tasks to do.
A. Processing of Learnings
In processing the cognitive and affective learnings that surfaced in the discussions, the facilitator helps the students clarify their values or option further. The cognitive constructs or learnings processed serve as framework for the alternatives from which the student makes his decisions. This implies that it is important for the student to understand well the underpinnings and facts of a set of alternatives before he can make an intelligent decision.
Equally important for the facilitator to process are the affective learnings-how the student felt while going through the learning process, what he felt about his self-discovery or about her group’s decision, how he related with his group members and how he shared his personal insights about the learning activity.
Suffice it to say that at this stage of the process, the facilitator makes maximum effort to help the students clarify their values through some of values clarification and moral dilemma strategies.
B. Directing the Focus of Awareness
Unlike in the two approaches (i.e., values clarification and moral dilemma) the ACES facilitator suggests and directs here. He believes that values development goes beyond self-awareness, or the discovery of what one values. He does not disregards the values acceptable to a larger group of people, a community, a country.
The facilitator lets the students articulate their own options and ideas. But he himself also affirms a student’s idea or he offers other ideas which may be contrary to those given by students and to present other side of the issue. This, in a way, promotes discussion and expands the students’ awareness of other people’s feelings about value issues. In other words, the facilitator directs the focus of a awareness to an aspect of a value issue worth looking into.
The ACES approach, therefore, does not lead the students to think that decision-making is all a matter of personal opinion or whim. It does not leave the teacher noncommittal. The teacher should not be values-neutral. Instead, he guides the students to understand the alternatives and the possible consequences of the values that people must uphold to be able to perform their roles efficiently .
C. Providing Cognitive Inputs
In effects, the ACES approach provides the development of an adequate construct system. Cognitive inputs may be necessary at this point to present various sides of the issue. As indicated earlier, intelligent decisions are arrived at if these are made from a number of carefully studied alternatives and the respective consequences. The most common and practical ways of providing cognitive inputs are through lecturettes on lecture-for a or panel discussion participated in by the students who may have been assigned to do some reading on certain value issues. These activities which are more commonly referred to as talk sessions may be treated as separate lessons from the experiential sessions following the 4 A’s explained in the next section.
D. Directing Values to be Learned
Values inculcation is used after the students have clarified their options. The teacher may then expound and put across what he believes in after all sides of the issue are exhausted. It is very likely that students are influenced by their teachers and thus values education teachers need to consider very carefully whether what they offer their students are indeed worthy to believe in or emulate. Here lies the need for values education teachers who are imbued with the precepts being advocated as exemplified in their total being.
E. Planning with, and Monitoring Action Learning of the Students
Action learning is best employed in the application phase where the students are guided in deciding what specific actions they would take to manifest their values.
In traditional classrooms the teacher can quickly initiate learning plans for her students but most of the time she is obliged to give external motivation in order to implement certain plans. In the ACES approach, however, learning plans for action can readily be developed by enthusiastic and active learners who have been previously stimulated by the experiential lessons they have gone through. Moreover, the commitment to do something based on "clarified" values impels the students to make their action plans, to extend their learnings from the classroom to their homes, to other students and teacher in school, and to other members of the community. The students have become motivated from within themselves, hence the urge to act is spontaneous.
THE ACES METHODOLOGY AND PHASES OF VALUE LEARNING
The ACES teaching approach employs both the inductive as well as the deductive methods in the conduct of the lessons although the former is given more emphasis since certain principles and conditions of learning that activate the learner and make learning personal and meaningful are easier achieved through the inductive method. The uniquely personal and subjective nature of learning is best attained through having the learner undergo the experiences by himself and also with others in group. This learning approach is commonly called ANDRAGOGY or the experiential learning approach. Generally, the experiential learning process develops through four stages-activity, analysis, abstraction and application (PRODED’s 4A’s)-and follows four phases of value learning.
A. Learning Trigger Phase
Learning is a triggered by a carefully planned Activity such as individual disclosure or self-inventory, group discussion, case study, listening to vignettes, role-playing, song analysis, panel discussion, moral dilemma strategy and others. (See table 8.1 for other strategies.)
These are structured learning activities or experiences from which learning both cognitive and affective will spring. Strategies used here is mostly values clarification, value analysis and moral dilemma strategies. In this phase the student start to clarify or understand his own feelings, ideas or thoughts about specific situations contained in the activity, He starts the value clarification or analysis with himself through introspection, and further clarifies with other students through group dynamics if provided for in the activity.
B. Values Clarification Phase
The clarification process takes a more in-depth analysis in the second phase of value learning. With the help of the teacher as the facilitator, the students further go through the value clarification process mainly through clarifying responses of both the teacher and fellow students. Learning obtained from self-analysis and/or group discussions are analyzed and processed by the teacher-facilitator.
Analysis of the learning process has two phases: Affective processing and cognitive/content processing. The first involves personal reflections and insights which become part of the learner’s affective development while cognitive analysis of the experience is done through eliciting information and studying the content and concepts relevant to the lesson. Values clarification, e.g., clarifying response, dialogue, and moral dilemma strategies are employed to process affective learnings and insights. It is this phase of the lesson where the student gets a better understanding about his options. His values are better clarified to him.
C. Directive Phase or Inculcation Phase
In this phase, the teacher becomes directive in his leading questions or remarks. At this point in the lesson, he/she should already have highlighted the value focus of the lesson – the value she would expect the students to uphold. She/He reinforces the students construct system by an abstraction or generalizations and inferences. Cognitive development is further reinforced in the abstraction phase where generalization or inferences are made about experiences. It is in this phase that the facilitator enriches the learning which were processed in the analysis phase through cognitive and affective inputs, e.g., in a lecturette that the facilitator may share with her students. She/He also reinforces and supports the decisions made by students which she/he thinks are universally acceptable.
D. Action Phase
Practical application is done where the learner is expected to transfer his affective and cognitive learnings into actual situations. This could be the development of an action plan or assignments for internalizing the concepts learned, or an extended learning activity in the home where he may be asked to discuss value issues taken up in the classroom with the other members of the family.
The following diagram illustrates the phases of learning in the ACES methodology:
Two auxiliary but significant activities are the moodsetting and closing activities. The moodsetting in the ACES methodology is not just the motivational statement but a mini-activity related to the content of the lesson. Its purpose is to create a conducive psychological climate for learning. It is a pleasurable activity to free the students from hang-ups, tension, fears or passivity. Its helps create an atmosphere of comfortability with one one another, openness or initial attempt for self-disclosure. It is an effective way of building good rapport in the class.
The closing activity may be a song, quotation, philosophical thought, recitation of a verse that should capture the essence of the lesson. It gives an added impact to the affective learnings the student may have obtained, and keeps them in high spirits for whatever commitment they may have resolve at the end of the lesson.
The summary of strategies used in the ACES can be found in table 8.1 on pages 66.
Seven (7) Elements of the Andragogical Process
In a facilitating, the ACES facilitator considers seven elements of andragogical process (Knowles 1984):
1. Climate Setting. In planning procedures for climate setting, give attention to physical environment and psychological atmosphere. A suggested arrangement for values education classrooms is putting the chairs in one large circle or several small circles.
Equally important to consider are characteristics of a psychological climate that are conducive to learning.
a. A climate of mutual respect. People are more open to learning when they feel respected.
b. A climate of collaborativeness. Peers are the richest sources for learning; competitiveness makes these resources inaccessible.
c. A climate of mutual trust. People learn more from those whom they trust.
d. A climate of supportiveness. People learn better when they feel supported rather than judged or threatened.
e. A climate of openness and authenticity. When people feel free to be open and natural, to say what they really think and feel, they are more likely to be willing to examine new ideas and risk new behaviors than when they feel the needs to be defensive.
f. A climate of pleasure. Learning should be one of the most pleasant and gratifying experiences in life; after all, it is the way people can become what they are capable of being – achieving their full potential.
g. A climate of humanness. The more people feel that they are being treated as human beings, the more they are likely to learn. Aside from providing physical comfort, it means providing a caring, accepting, respecting, helping social atmosphere.
2. Involving learners in mutual planning. People tend to be committed to any decision in proportion to the extent to which they have participated in making it.
3. Involving participants in diagnosing their own needs for learning. This process should meet the needs the learner are aware of (felt needs) with the needs their organizations or society has for them (ascribed needs).
4. Involving learners in formulating their learning objectives. What procedures can be used to help learners translate their diagnosed needs into learning objectives?
5. Involving learners in designing learning plans
6. Involving learners carry out their learning plans
7. Involving learners in evaluating their learning
In a learning activity with such conditions as suggested above, most of the learning comes from the students themselves. They initiate discussion in small groups, for instance, group members react, interact and all become active thinkers and affective communicators. Individually, through introspection, and/or in groups through group dynamics, the students get their values clarified among their peers with an encouraging psychological atmosphere.
Structures and Real-life Learning Experiences
As seen, the ACES Approach makes use of structured learning situations in the classroom as springboards for values learning. It cannot be denied, however, that these are mostly, if not all, simulations of actual situations that occur outside the classroom.
High school and college students can plan to have their practicum with reach out activities and case studies in learning areas involving people in the community. A simple narration of an interview experience or case study with the student’s maid, for instance, may trigger values development for justice, human rights, freedom or other values.
Finally, the student’s commitment to the learning content of his experience whether taken from structured or real-life situations, can best be tested by how he directs himself to his goals, his stability and intelligence as a person when faced with an actual problem, and his choice of values which he clearly manifests in his actions.