core values

On what basis do we make choices about our practice? Informal educators should be guided by certain commitments. But what are they?

photo: skylight circusOn the one hand are found what we can call ‘core values’ – a set of beliefs that are shared and debated among informal educators. On the other, are our personal commitments and values. At times these will coincide, and at others they will clash. We have to make choices around each of these sets of values and live with and by them. Informal educators do not have a ready-made set of guidelines telling them what is right and wrong. They can’t have this and hope to continue to engage honestly with the everyday experiences of those they work with. They have to make up their own minds as they encounter different situations. This they do in dialogue – with others, the core values and themselves.

Let us begin by thinking about what some of the core or first order values may be.

These values are difficult to define and are often argued about - but they do provide us with a starting point.

infedcov.jpg (18462 bytes)Taken from Tony Jeffs and Mark K. Smith (2005) Informal Education. Conversation, democracy and learning, Nottingham: Educational Heretics Press.

© Tony Jeffs and Mark K. Smith
First published November 1999. Last update: July 08, 2014