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2009 National Values Education Conference

2009 National Values EducationConferenceValues in Action: shaping positive futures

Hotel Realm, 18 National Circuit, Barton, ACT
8.30am Thursday 30 April – 3.30pm Friday 1 May 2009

A full report of the 2009 National Values Education Conference is available for downloading at the end of this summary.

The Australian Curriculum Studies Association (ACSA) was commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) to manage the 2009 National Values Education Conference: Values in Action: shaping positive futures, held in Canberra on Thursday 30 April and Friday 1 May 2009.

The 2009 conference aimed to:

  • explore the implementation of the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools;
  • provide an update on the Values Education Program;
  • share good practice in values education in Australian schools;
  • explore linkages between values education, student wellbeing, positive education and other relevant learning areas; and
  • assess the research that has taken place in values education and its longer term impacts for schools communities.


View the full program 

The conference brought together approximately 250 speakers, stakeholders, curriculum leaders, teachers, principals and students from Australia and overseas. Keynote addresses, presentations and workshops celebrated values education and provided the impetus for discussions about leading and sustaining values education in Australian schools.

After an introduction by facilitator Tony MacKay, Conference participants were welcomed to country by Matilda House, a Ngambri-Ngunnawal elder. The 2009 Conference was officially opened by Dr Michele Bruniges, Deputy Secretary, Schooling and COAG, DEEWR.

Keynote speakers over the two days included Dr Ruth Deakin Crick from the University of Bristol, UK; Professor Terry Lovat from the University of Newcastle; Ameeta Wattal from Springdales School in New Delhi, India; and John Marsden, author and principal of the Candlebark School, Victoria. A number of the speakers emphasised the ground-breaking and world-leading role that Australia was playing in values education.

Dr Ruth Deakin CrickDr Ruth Deakin Crick began with the idea that learning and values are two sides of the same coin and that, through the processes of learning to learn, students also engage with core values. Through words, stories, symbols and metaphors, the seven dimensions of learning power changing and learning, meaning making, critical curiosity, creativity, learning relationships, strategic awareness and resilience – providing a powerful framework that not only acknowledges the identity and story of the learner but also the personal qualities and values they may need to progress.

In his reflection on the significance of the Australian Values Education program, Professor Terry Lovat spoke of how schools involved in values education had moved from being receivers of values, to agents for values. He believes that values and wellbeing pedagogy can improve ambience, relationships, wellbeing and diligence in schools and that values education is essential to effective schooling.

Ameeta Wattal, Principal at Springdales School, spoke of the importance of creating mutual trust and a collective value system within the school community. The core idea behind values education at Springdales School is to cultivate essential values in the students to assist them to live in a complex world and help sustain that world. At Springdales, every subject is seen as a values-enabled subject, and values-connected thinking and action is encouraged through deepening of consciousness, role play, cooperation, leadership, ethics and art and culture.

Author and founder and Principal of Candlebark School, John Marsden, spoke about the importance of being open to experience, and of children being offered the chance to learn through experience in a meaningful, lifelong way. One of the mottos of Candlebark School is ‘take care, take risks’. Marsden said that, when asked, there were two things that children wanted from school – to not to be bullied, and for teachers to be kind. One of the few rules at the school is ‘no excluding’. Marsden also stated that the greatest wisdom is in kindness.

Two panel discussions and 11 workshop sessions were held. Four workshops were presented by representatives from the Values in Action Schools Project: Engaging the disengaged; Values through ICT and philosophy; Building inclusion; and Out of apathy.

Additional presentations included a values education overview by Ms Amanda Day from DEEWR and an update on the Values in Action School Projects and Resources by David Brown, Jenny Wajsenberg and Jane Weston from Curriculum Corporation.

The speaker at the conference dinner at the National Press Club was Elida Brereton, the Principal of Camberwell High School best known for her role as Principal of Summer Heights High. Her droll observations on both roles were received warmly by an appreciative and knowing audience.

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

Download the 2009 Conference Report as a PDF file