časopis pro pedagogiku v souvislostech * journal of education in contexts
Ročník: 2013Volume: 2013
Číslo: 1Issue: 1
Vyšlo: 15. července 2013Published: July 15th, 2013
Chudý, Štefan - Neumeister, Pavel. Views on the Definition of Value Category in Educational Context. Paidagogos, [Actualized: 2013-07-15], [Cited: 2023-12-11], 2013, 1, #11. P. . Availiable at: <>


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Views on the Definition of Value Category in Educational Context

Štefan Chudý - Pavel Neumeister

Abstract: Theoretical study focuses on the definition and specification of assumptions in the design category value. The authors focus on the definition in terms of active reconstruction of the various theoretical definitions of value and their interpretation. Based on these definitions try to backgrounds and was constituted the basic starting values in the curriculum. Constitute of specific assumptions is conceived in terms of decryption theory and comparative analysis of the definition of value in the study mentioned theories. Background accentuates the scientific approaches to education theory to philosophy of education. In accordance with the following approaches and considerations affecting authors praxeological form of the basis for discursive analysis, which I understand as the basis of scientific study defined the problem. In conclusion outlines possible solutions and suggested topics for further discussion.

Keywords: Value, the theoretical definition, background education, active reconstruction, educational content, taxonomic definition


The response of a man living in a modern society to the world is either pragmatic which means he fully acclimates himself to the rules, habits and senses which are intended for him and the fulfilment of which moves him up the social ladder, or the response is authentic, in the sense of self-reflection in the world, satisfying one’s own needs, in the sense of personal value orientation which is not always fully appreciated by the society. If we project these two types of responses ad absurdum, we can distinguish a person focused on social success, a conformist sometimes even rejecting traditional values (a model relating to a modern successful person) and, on the other hand, a person socially unsuccessful, who is authentic and respects traditional moral values (a model which is presented as ideal in documents defining educational curriculum and aims). This situation results from the pressure the society exerts on a man and his social and civilizational needs, as the pace of life is getting much faster and social status is based on material wealth, social contacts and affiliation with a certain social clasp. None of the above mentioned models is desirable for the society in the long term as the society needs people who are socially successful. This means that a person is accepted as well as accepting through social mechanisms, a person is active, authentic, creative but also moral and wise.

If the quickly changing society lays down demands that are clear and direct for a man (a pragmatic view of economic and political attributes) then education and upbringing in schools seem to be more stagnant than ever as for the needs of the society. Conservative approaches which stress the importance of preparation of learners through knowledge may result in serious social and educational problems in this process of preparation for life. The crucial element in the upbringing is a family. The family, though, reacts to the expectations the society has and chooses by its educational style and value orientation one the above mentioned models which will be preferred by an individual in the future. We do not wish to cast doubt upon the importance of a family and we do not intend to say that the influence of a family could be substituted by the influence of a society, but it makes us wonder about the role of an educational institution – school. It is clear that a teacher at school assumes the role of a mediator of socially desirable values and thus we understand this text as an impulse to clarify the values of an education and upbringing in a system of values (in pedagogical view) for pedagogical workers. We do not wish to explore the education itself from the didactic perspective but from the pedagogical axiological perspective as a complementary attribute to the value of learning (axiology of upbringing, see Gogová, 2004, p.67).

Viewpoint No. 1 - The Concept of a Value in Pedagogical Axiology

The role of pedagogical axiology does not only lie in setting pedagogical goals, its role is also to help one realize the need for development of individual evaluation of situations and values which individuals consider important, because the process of self-reflection and further evaluation helps stabilize personal value orientation. The fact that little attention is paid to pedagogical axiology means that teachers mostly prefer the attitude of „I am teaching –you“ than „ You are learning by yourself“ (Švec, Š., 1995, p. 61). That is why we wish to emphasize the value of learning which may be a prerequisite for self-education and self-improvement.

Self-education is a precondition of permanent education (not ending when graduating) which seems to be a must if a person wants to succeed in the 21st century. Historical context provides us with parallels in education and accentuation in the definition of educational goals and educational values. It may be based on the needs of the society or transcendental predestination or in the failure of educational efforts and its absurdity. The existential philosophy perspective and axiological sub-groups of timology (Lotze, Rickert) prove to be immensely inspiring (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Dilthey) as they put emphasis on the definition and analysis of the term 'value'and how it relates to the meaning of life and the view of the world.

In order to be able to analyze the value of learning, we first need to analyze the term value itself. This portion of text will not analyze the term value in depth from philosophical, psychological, anthropological or sociological perspective but it will stress the axiological dimension of the term in the context of process and content of an education and upbringing which is dominant in pedagogical axiology at the intersection of pedagogical disciplines.

Understanding the value as a theoretical category of pedagogical axiology and practical category of pedagogical work, which show to be important for further pedagogical contemplation, we may define four characteristic features of value as the following:

  1. infinite variety
  2. topicality
  3. contradiction
  4. abstractness (Gogová, 2004, p. 72).

The first characteristic feature makes us realize that it is an anthropological and axiological dimension of a value which predetermines it to be as varied as people are: individuality, experience, the standard of thinking and perception. The rich diversity of emotional responses and the way we decipher the meaning of terms make us unique and diverse from others when evaluating. The very same value may be interpreted and understood in a different way by individuals who have different habitual standards and different reactions. In order not to be forced to make subjective and relative judgments which would lead to vulgarisation, it is essential to understand another characteristic feature of a value, which is topicality. Topicality is related to an individual; nevertheless every individual may be categorized and determined as an individuality (without even realizing it) by his historical and social milieu. The interiorization of norms determines an individual according to social groups where he belongs and lives, by their culture, traditions and views which transform values. Values were presented as desirable by these social groups. That is why a value is always topical as well as contradictory, which is its third characteristic feature. An evaluating person not only reflects the topical situation and state but also future perspectives which may cause shifts in value acceptation and recognition. Apart from that, each value has its antipole, it is contradictory in its substance. The last given characteristic feature is abstractness of value. All values and even material values are abstract in our minds because this is the only way a fact, a thing, truth may become a value for a person when he breaks free from reality perceived only by senses.

When analyzing values, philosophers as well as pedagogues dealing with values from various perspectives were confronted with the idea whether it is possible to evaluate values themselves. By considering their meaning, the importance of values for a man as well as whether some values are more important than others, they came to the conclusion that is essential to categorize them.

The categorization of values at present is not an attempt to organize them hierarchically as Plato or Johan F. Herbart did. It is not even about subjectivism which Hume preferred or utilitarization of Shaftesbury or economization of a defined value of Marx. It is more an effort which is typical for European thinking, to introduce a system to the science and define basic premises and essences from normative perspectives of term definition and its context.

Pedagogical axiology seen through the methodological reflection of modern science presents itself as the intersection of three basic systems and theories which carry and reflect axiological context of education and upbringing. The important element when systematizing and normatively defining terms and relations is the very definition of value, as the term in its substance should include scientific as well as anthropological, ethical, axiological, social and theoretical scientific dimensions. That is why pedagogical axiology must be viewed from several perspectives – the perspective of definition and exploration of value substance, the participation of the subject and object of education and upbringing on the origin of value, the process of education and upbringing and its relation to values, its content and orientation as well as the process of creation of a value hierarchy and an evaluation process.

Viewpoint No. 2 - Construct of “a Value” and Its Normative Definition

Value as a scientific category construct appears in a range of works in its explicit definition of several scientific disciplines and in its implicit definition of attitudes, opinions and norms of human behaviour. There are many ways how to interpret and understand the term value. Current approaches to the definition of a value are based on various philosophical, anthropological, sociological and particularly psychological movements, concepts and taxonomies. The phenomenon of s value has been defined by philosophical literature, most often as a quality of any object in accordance with the needs of an individual. The distinction is between a utility value and an exchange value.

Morality which determines the norms of conduct may be understood as a value. (Philosophical dictionary - Filozofický slovník, 1994, p. 109). In sociology, value is defined as a relation between a subject and an object, between a subject and its system of values, in the sense of matching an evaluated object with the continuum of values in a system of values. (Sociological dictionary - Sociologický slovník, 2001, p. 104). Psychological Dictionary (2000, p. 192) defines value as a quality of an individual and it assigns him to a certain way of experiencing situations and objects related to the satisfaction of needs and interests. The definition of value in Pedagogical Dictionary (1995, p. 77) says that value is subjective appreciation and a degree of importance that an individual attributes to certain things, phenomena, people or symbols.

All elementary definitions offer some common traits which reflect relations and the degree of activity of objects and subjects concerning experiencing and reflecting the reality of life. Similar principles guide the evolution of definition in the historical context. Antiquity is known for its plurality of opinion and it is not any different in the definition of value from Sophists’ ethical pluralism, Socrates’ criticism and his own definition of good and evil as basic categories of evaluation to Stoics’ views of plurality (to dualism) and a life where nature and reason are in harmony and Aristotle’s virtues seen as archetypes of value categories. Modern history of philosophy and the evolution of the world confront us with opinions, where values are transformed into universal laws (Kant, Feuerbach) or into the result of social and economic relations (Marx). A different view on the definition of values as virtues and rules can be seen in Jewish Christian tradition of religion in Ten Commandments. This definition proves to be contributive to the normative definition of value categories, especially because it leads to ethical norms – social standards as valid rules of conduct which help an individual understand the process of origin and transformation of values. A contrary view was chosen by Černík (1986, p. 27) who interprets value through satisfaction or dissatisfaction of human needs. Hrabák (1962, p. 74) deals with value and its positive and negative implications for a man and society. He even formulates an opinion on time sequence of values which he understands as changeable. Műnsterberg (2010, p. 9) sees value as an element which is the result of the sphere of being. This is different from natural and spiritual being.

All three definitions understand value as specific for a man and his life in a society in the historical, cultural and spiritual context. The element of emotions when experiencing and creating value is addressed too. All the definitions emphasize a cognitive aspect which is most noticeable at representatives of psychology. Rokeach (1973, p. 59) links values and value orientation to cognitive network with attitudes. Feather (1995,p. 152) interprets values as abstract cognitive structures connected to an affective system. Value and its explicit expression could acquire certain emotional states which are results of reflecting a situation in the society and experiencing it by a subject. These are time-limited. However, this definition is not final for the needs of education and upbringing.

The question is whether it is possible to apply an opinion on clear and concise definition of this term. Cakirpaloglu holds the same view (2004 in Mlčák, 2005, p. 76) who believes that value as a term is more a hypothetical construct than descriptively defined term. Sak (In Průcha, 2009, p. 834) agrees, adding that value is also an interdisciplinary category. The definition of value as the product of education and upbringing and of the contents of the upbringing was provided by S. H. Schwartz who interprets value with the help of circle model (see on Czech literature Vávra, 2007, s. 15, Řeháková, 2005, s. 17). The model assumes that every human being has three basic demands:

The hypothesis of demands gave rise to the structure of eight motivational types which were later supplemented with two more to reach the number of ten and thus made the model complete.

This value circle serves as the basis for comprehensive taxonomic definitions of axiological resource on education and upbringing. Kučerová (1996, p. 67) defines values in a similar way and she understands values as basic cultural categories related to social and moral norms. Lorenzová (1999, p. 51-59) perceives values from the perspective of wishes, expectations and ideals. She also introduced a classification based on principles which join values of human life, science and tradition with social, ecological and cultural values. Pelikán (1995, p. 199) explores the same principles when defining values in accordance with the personality development and the development when the contents, motivational status and tasks change in the structure of life activities. Frankl (1996, p. 35) develops the idea further when defining values in relation to a situation and he taxonomically defines values not automatically, but hierarchically. This definition appeals to me most and I will use it as a comprehensive definition of value and it will serve as the basis for further taxonomic definitions.

Viewpoint No. 3 – Taxonomic Definition

Axiological hypothesis for a classification system of values can be found in the environment with plurality of opinions, which is represented by e.g. M. Scheler (2003). Provided that the individuality of every human being originates in eternal being and spirit, there is no generally true world view but only an individually applicable world view conditioned by its perfection and adequacy in the history.

Taxonomy - classification of values can be seen in two basic dimensions – personal one and social one. The classification is:

Classification system of values in axiology and term specification is important from the perspective of its nature and concept of values and is mostly common in psychological literature. Most often value definitions can be classified according to their perspectives 1:

The classification of value orientations is very subjective in its nature when observed from an individual value orientation perspective. However, it is not so obvious from the perspective of culture and its impact on shaping an individual’s personality. Value orientation is characterized by formation of an attitude and opinion on human activities functioning and following analysis of the attitude (Horák, 1997, p. 20). Bardi (2001, p. 270) sees a cultural individuality in formation of values and value orientation from the perspective of hierarchization.

Values acquire characteristics of unsubstituable features in the preservation of culture and society. Schwartz (2004, p. 66) adds to this view the dimension of culture exploration and understanding through values which can be presented in stories for children, analysis of norms and laws etc. Results of these analyses are an appropriate expression of value and society relations but they also provide a good basis to understand value and its changes. In a broad sense, we may understand value orientation as a part of a value system in education and upbringing and its understanding or concretization of its content. Value orientation is thus defined by exogenous and endogenous factors. Values seem to objective in their expressions and subjective in their orientations to have and to be.

Each value system constitutes a hierarchy of lists of values and reflects their order (importance) (Průcha, 1995 in Koldeová, 2007, p. 54). Psychological, sociological and socio-legal literature features plenty of taxonomies, hierarchies and classifications. Here we only state those which are analyzed, adapted and quoted most often in agogy. The most common and most used taxonomies are:

All our definitions of classification of values respect as a criterion either some aspects of human personality or some aspects of one’s character and understanding of values.

For the conception of value as a term and value as the content of education and upbringing at the same time, we will show a more detailed specification of taxonomies which in our opinion relate closely to the specifics of education evaluation and learning.

In his study, S. H. Schwartz (1992, 1994, and 2004) notes three types of values from the cognitive perspective:

This gives us ten fields of motivation: power, success, hedonism, stimulation, self-determination, universalism, benevolence, tradition, adaptability, safety.

Even though this classification covers all spheres of a human being, some values, considered important and researched in pedagogy, do not appear here (see Vávra, 2007, Řeháková, 2006, Hnilica, 2007). That is why we consider classical value classification according to Sekera, Blížkovský, Kučerová and particularly Lorenzová more appropriate for agogical theory and practice.

While Sekera (1994 in Průcha 2009, p. 835) in his definition takes advantage of value orientations set based on Herculean, Dionesean, Appolonian, Promethean and Socratean values, Blížkovský (1997,p. 134) understands the system of values and education and upbringing to values as value formation in basal system programme and he classifies sub-systems (elements of education and upbringing) which serve as a basis for the given values: relations to other people, relation to the nature, relation to work, one’s home, beauty, health and to the world. Kučerová classifies the values according to the dimensions through which a human being experiences himself and the world:

Respecting the choices of an individual complicates the definition of values which would be universal. It is important to approach values from the education and upbringing perspective if we wish to discuss the needs of an individual and education and upbringing in an axiological context. This criterion is very well represented in the taxonomic definition of Lorenzová (1999, p. 51- 56) according to core values:

M. Váross starts with similar criteria as Kučerová and Lorenzová. Váross relies on Meinonga’s theories (Váross, 1970, p. 239-246). He distinguishes economic, biological, religious, legal, aesthetic, ethical, artistic, noetic and performance-related values. The criterion he based this distinction upon is the content aspect which means a classification according to types of values. Brožík introduces simpler, but also more general classification (Brožík, 2000, p. 17-19) as he classifies values according to the subject of evaluation as follows:

It is also important to classify values according to the subject of evaluation when Brožík distinguishes:

Nevertheless, the classification according to motivation is necessary for the needs of pedagogical axiology:

Expectation values are very important for our research as they are related to self-education, or the ability of an individual to set one’s own goals for improvement with self-control and self-appreciation. We believe it is necessary to explore this classification of values further in our contemplations but we will also link it to the classification by Hudeček who classifies the values from self-educational perspective as:

As these types of values are often used in pedagogy too, we may call them target (gratification) and instrumental (directive) values. It is natural that in the development of an individual an instrumental value may appear as a target value because its interiorization or our recognition as a need makes us interested in complementary values which may gradually begin to appear as target ones and a value, originally considered target ones, may become instrumental ones.

We considered necessary to explore the analysis of this transformation further because the value of education may initially appear as instrumental, but may later change to target one. It may be understood as a target value when an individual realizes his need for education at a particular type of school as a precondition for his future career. It is an acquisition of a school report, diploma or certificate. If an individual thanks to the guidance realizes his potential during his studies, education may become a target value when erudition is considered a value. In that case, educational process is not complete but is transformed into self-education which results in constant self-improvement regarding one’s knowledge but also other moral, aesthetic, noetic and social areas. This is reflected not only in the level of knowledge but also in one’s approach to the world, to other people and in demands one places on himself.

Let us go back to the mission of education which takes place at school, we may observe that personal and social values should be explored from the perspective of an individual who may perceive them as either target or instrumental ones. This answers the question why certain social values recognized by learners do not become their personal values too. It is therefore necessary for a teacher to work with the assumption that interiorization of values is always based on a habitual and current level of a learner who projects his own future. Cognition is not the representation of the „outside world“, it is a continuous creation of the world. (Kaščák, 2002, p. 397). This is how we will further analyse understanding and education based on knowledge; we will focus on concretization of values in the content of education, in specification of value of education and in erudition as a key value.

Viewpoint No. 4 - Concretization of Values in the Definition of Educational Content

In this part of the text, our aim is to outline values which should be further developed in learners and integrated into contents of all taught subjects. We will point out particular opportunities for further analysis and research in the elaborated subject matter in the system of agogical science. We do not wish to address unifying trends or point out discrepancies in the research and the educational content concerning valuep. We aim to focus on values which are present in all cultures (traditional and progressive) and always express the degree of truth, good and evil. Teachers must have adequate professional skills and a detailed and comprehensive programme focused on the development of morality, sociability, adherence to high principles and respect to cultural and environmental values. On a basis of values and value relations, a learner creates his own auto regulation system concerning all sectors of life which is beneficial for the quality of relations to the environment. Moral values and principles of human conduct play an important role in the content of education and upbringing when creating value-orientation relationship. The significance of moral values is that they express criteria for morality and humanity of a person. Classification of ethical values according to moral phenomena classifies the values as:

Every society hierarchizes values in ethical systems. Žilínek (1997,p. 45) speaks of two types of hierarchy:

The first group consists of fundamental moral qualities that are necessary for regulation of human behaviour in interpersonal relationships. It is mostly moral qualities such as respect, generosity, self-sacrifice, compassion, pride, honesty, loyalty, trust, politeness, tolerance, diligence, civility, responsibility, patience etc. Fundamental moral qualities form the basis of personal culture. The second group consists of moral categories such as bliss, good, evil, justice, duty, responsibility, honour and dignity, the sense of life and happiness, conscience, tolerance and others. The above stated models promote moral values and ideals which express the need for greater ethical responsibility of a man in new life situations. Moral values in education and upbringing serve as a basis for morality and ethical education. Despite current reflections on morality and ethical crisis only a learner who is aware of moral values and whose behaviour is based on moral principles will be able to implement moral values to his everyday actions and moral conduct. The condition of moral conduct is a decision made freely and moral responsibility which is understood as a fundamental moral value.

The important part of the content definition of education and upbringing in accordance with moral values is pro-sociality as a fundamental moral value status. Pro-sociality is a significant axiological dimension of a man which is manifested in his behaviour to other people as pro-social conduct. Value-axiological dimension of pro-sociality consists in social and moral values of respect for oneself and others, in dignity, love, friendship, support and altruism. Pro-sociality also plays an important role in a formation of learner’s personality moral identity in interpersonal relationships (as a part of educational subject on education of religion, education for marriage and parenthood or ethics). This important moral quality should be transformed into educational objectives of contemporary schools (the content definition), and into the value system of schools and value orientation of learners. Finally, we wish to emphasize the fact that morality and pro-sociality form two basic moral categories of moral human behaviour and relations to the environment and that they are irreplaceable.

Aesthetic values rank high in the educational content. They are spiritual values which affect positively the quality of life, environment, interpersonal relationships and they are also a condition for the cultural preservation and advancement as well as for the understanding to other cultures. Beauty is a basic aesthetic value. We understand beauty as the feeling of harmony, concord, joy and happiness when a man experiences an undivided unity with nature, society, and his loved ones and with himself. He believes in the power of good, love and understanding (Kučerová, 1996, p. 130). Beauty takes many forms, may be aesthetically evaluated in object reality, may be expressed in artistic creation, in the arts; beauty reflects the aesthetic value of a man’s attitude formed on emotions.

Beauty can be found where a man creates to convey his inner world through his perception, experience and evaluation of beautiful and ugly, sublime and trivial, tragic and comic. These aesthetic categories show human attitudes to aesthetic. Beauty in its most concentrated form can be found in the arts. The arts provide technically perfect expression of ideal and emotional harmony between a man, the world and his life, the evaluation of the world and life (Kučerová, 1996, p. 133). The value of art lies in its specific way of understanding reality.

Art has several functions. The cognitive aspect of the art enables a learner to form a relationship to artistic values together with aesthetic experience which further urges a learner to express and evaluate works of art. Cognitive aspect is often overrated in the aesthetic education. We often see this in aesthetic educational subjects. If the art in the educational content is understood only as a cognitive tool, it affects a learner by its shape and content. Aesthetic value of the art and educational art lies in the emotional experience and evaluation of a man who reflects the art in his aesthetic actuosity and he understands beauty in the arts as an independent value reflecting value reality.

Art education and aesthetic values education in educational content provide learners not only with new knowledge enabling him to assess aesthetic phenomena but it also gives him the ability to treat phenomena, people and nature with consideration. A learner begins to understand harmonious relations in everyday life and beauty becomes one of his needs in life. Aesthetic values education inspires learners to create; it stimulates originality in thinking and creation of feelings and imagination. A learner becomes open to other nations‘ cultures and he is well-informed about mass culture and pseudo culture.

Aesthetic values education – education about beauty in everyday life and arts – is based on general aesthetic education and upbringing which is further reflected in the evaluation attitude of the subject which we call taste. Aesthetic taste education instructs a learner on abilities which may help him to keep a good track in the field of aesthetics and teaches him how to review various aesthetic values.

Aesthetic values – their knowledge – strengthen learners‘ relations to culture, human art works, phenomena and nature. If a learner accepts aesthetic values, it motivates him to accept aesthetic values to establish harmony and to overcome obstacles. Aesthetic sensitivity helps a learner to eliminate subjective, egocentric and utilitarian attitude to culture and open other dimension of values (for example transcendental or spiritual). Values related to natural environment problems and development – eco-social values – play an important role when forming a new value orientation of learners and new moral and aesthetic values in the educational content. These eco-social values stress value priority of the nature for human life and for the dependence of a man on the nature; human interference to all forms and aspects of life, sustainability, protection and care of natural environment and rejection of consumer life style.

To understand and grasp the above stated ecological and environmental context is essential for further development of ecological education and relations to natural environment and to the nature itself.

A teacher should assist a learner in formation of his eco-social orientation based on positive perception of outer world changes which depends on an individual’s inner world. Ecological knowledge serves a basis for acceptance of eco-social values. This ecological knowledge requires the use of rational, technical, ethical and aesthetic arguments integrating the given problems into one complex world view. It is necessary to exceed mechanical understanding of the world in the educational process and enable a learner to see various environmental problems from the perspective of different school subjects and intersubject relations. Based on ecological and environmental education, a learner should understand the following areas of problems:

The above stated problem areas form the basis of ecological literacy which helps learner create evaluation relations and practical skills to the environment. Eco-social orientation helps satisfy the need for spiritual dimensions in human life and it is one of the ways to improve the relationship of a man to the environment and to create harmony between a man and the nature.

This is closely related to efforts to find the meaning of life. Ecological and environmental education brings health and healthy lifestyle value to the educational process and to value orientation of learners. The educational content (the curriculum) in health education should be concretized to the following tasks:

School should clearly understand its role and function in educational process and value orientation process focused on value interiorization and principles of health and healthy lifestyle. The stated tasks must be projected into the educational content which presumes an active intervention to the creation of life philosophy where health and healthy lifestyle further reinforces the value of a man himself and enable him to cooperate more with the environment. In the end we wish to emphasize that axiological problems are more and more often in the centre of attention of current education and upbringing. Without an axiological dimension the educational content of the education and upbringing of learners cannot be effective.

In spite of that, value system creation in education and upbringing is often challenged. Value systems and value preferences are reduced to what can be described and use (see the curriculum and fundamentals of RVP in key competences and topics in methodical guidelines, Educational content should sort the values out into a value system which is typical for a particular civilization, culture and for a particular individual and a learner should be encouraged to adopt this value system. Values give meaning to life and form a basis for value orientation of learners in educational content - that is why we wished to explore its importance and role more on a theoretical level.

Viewpoint No. 5 – The Importance of Values in Education

Value as we characterized it in the previous part is an anthropological axiological category. That is why an evaluation process, as well as an educational process, has an anthropological dimension. This is the liaison between the two processes, the cognitive process. Cognition and evaluation are not the same but they are inseparable since cognition is always accompanied by evaluation and vice versa – an evaluation process cannot be completed without a cognitive one which helps formulate value consciousness. There is a relation of mutual dialectical interdependence. It is necessary to be aware of the importance of this relation in the context of educational process, because this awareness of the evaluation and cognition interdependence is the basis for higher quality educational processes at school but also in life long learning.

If we want to analyse the relation between values and education, first we need to explore the evaluation and cognitive process as complementary terms. When analyzing cognition from the perspective of values and educational content, it is stimulating to work with factual objectives of education and upbringing incorporated in documents and legislature of particular countries within EU. Concretization of the objectives and documents in pedagogical theory (theory of education, philosophy of education etc.) in an evaluation definition and education show a discrepancy. If the theory of agogy prefers value education and is based on psychological theory of personality development, then category of value education seems to be without traditions. (Vacek in Průcha, 2009, p. 836).

The category of value and the value education is specifically and explicitly addressed in the educational objectives in the White Book (2001) and in RVP ZV (2005).

The category appears (44 times) in elementary education section but only as a general interpretation (see Maňák, 2008, p. 54) and is later specifically addressed in key competences (namely civic competences). Value education is explicitly addressed in sectional themes which should be further explored in personality and social education, democratic citizen education, multicultural and environmental education and in education on thinking in the European and global context. The success is based on the effectiveness of teaching, systematic orientation (compare Kašpárková, 2008, p. 283, Kasáčová, 2008, p. 119, p. Gulová, 2008, p. 52) and in understanding the value of education as a general and target educational category.

Viewpoint No. 6 – The Value of Learning (Self-fulfilment Value)

Analysing learning and knowledge from the perspective of education and values and how they are understood, we find useful the teaching of K. Popper who analyses the world through the process of learning. We agree with the idea of everyday common sense in the assumption of the existence of material (“World 1“) and spirit (“World 2“) and with assumptions of existence of other things, mostly products of human spirit where our scientific drafts, theories and problems belong (“World 3“) (Popper, 1997).

According to this concept, values by its substance as an anthropological category belong to World 3, because an individual creates them through mental processes in World 2 after observation of phenomena and things in World 1. Communication among people brings familiarity with results of an individual spirit and people get enriched in the sphere of ideals and they begin to understand the significance of values. The third world, called the world of culture, is the world where these values are accepted and confirmed by the world of spirit (World 2) a by physical, material world (World 1). Popper’s approach to learning helps us understand values as a result of experience, learning and communication among people. The transformation of experience itself, learning about the significance of values, may be explained through an analysis of value consciousness formation process, the process when things and phenomena become significant for us, thus they become values. Hypothesis of M. Váross (Váross, 1967) seem to be especially thought-provoking when analysing the value consciousness formation process or axiological consciousness from the agogical perspective. Even though his work was created a few decades ago, it is still worth studying for its constructive, philosophical and psychological approach, which further serves as a hypothesis for pedagogical axiology. If we understand value as a quality perceived by a subject through norms, it brings us to realize the analogy in certain moments together with Popper’s conception. Analogy is found in the acceptance and awareness of a value which is preceded by experience and learning and from a pedagogical perspective by a certain socio-cultural situation in which the process of learning and evaluation happens. Váross talks about a scheme:

  1. impulse or incentive,
  2. awareness
  3. evaluation (Váross, 1970, p. 160-186).

The process in which a subject accepts and creates a value system has several stages which repeat infinitely in conscious or unconscious contact with things and phenomena of this world which an evaluating subject is a part of. To understand this process better from a pedagogical perspective, an ontological perspective seems to be apt. We are aware of the simplification which may happen but we will risk this in order to understand the connection between learning (cognition) and evaluation.

  1. The first stage could be characterized (from an ontogenetic period until two years of age as a state when a subject reacts to impulses from socio-cultural environment which vary in intensity and frequency. Reactions of a child are conditioned by his sociological nature; his reactions are instinctive in their “unfailing preferences” of what is important for their preservation and development. Reactions are also conditioned by mental well-being of his mother or other adults. Formation of associations with certain things and phenomena according to its agreeability is a fact which leaves a trace behind, a pre-concept in a child, which may later serve as a basis for value development in the future. Most often it is about spontaneous, inadvertent evaluation and experience associated with various pleasant and unpleasant impulses, which leave a trace in consciousness that we tend to call evaluating consciousness of youth and adults and we may compare this stage to an unconscious reaction to certain impulses from the environment, e.g. sounds, smells, people, situations etc.
  2. In connection with the development of the second signal system in children which is related to further development of thinking operations we may talk about the second stage which is called cognitive (until 11 years of age). Evaluation consciousness described in the first stage together with the development of cognitive functions (see in detail in J.Piaget, 1970) form the strong need to learn which is manifested as curiosity - a typical attribute of a child at that age. Curiosity enables a child to integrate into socio-cultural environment through his understanding. This understanding, together with higher feelings, is a precondition for future interests which will regulate his self-educational activities. At that stage we can already notice an ability to arrange things and phenomena in the order of their importance which is assigned to them by a child. This order may often change and we notice mainly preferences of natural values, or vital and social. This is the period of coexistence of evaluating and cognitive consciousness. This stage at adults is more about confrontation of learnt with the previous value system.
  3. The development of higher feelings, formal and cognitive operations and abstract thinking allow the transition to the third stage, which we may call an axiological stage. This period starts at the age of 12 in the time of ideals. Abstract thinking, which is predominant in the next life stage, facilitates the stabilization of value set after learning by experience but it also facilitates unconscious associations of pre-conceptual character and further extends the set of values by civilizational and spiritual values. This is a precondition for value orientation which is relatively stable set of values arranged into a relatively stable evaluation order. This represents an already formed value or axiological consciousness.

Even though we explained the process of value consciousness formation and thus world evaluation with ontogenetic development of an individual, it is necessary to be aware of the fact that this process is immanent for a man precisely because it is connected exclusively to a man and it is a permanent regulator of our conduct. In reality evaluating process proceeds in an unorganized way, often with insufficient involvement of consciousness. It is often the case that a primary, spontaneously and uncritically formed evaluating attitude accompanies a person for many years of his life while another, soundly formed and complemented continuously by experience, is pronounced hesitantly and cautiously. That is why not all evaluating judgements follow the given time scheme and not every one is finished by it. The personality development which continues till the last days of our lives is characterized by unstable, unevenly conscious and self-critical formation of evaluating attitudes (Váross, 1991, p. 180 in Gogová, 2004, p. 87).

Being aware of mutual link between cognition and evaluation thus helps us understand better the educational process as it forces us to realize that the result of education and upbringing does not only depend on pedagogical and didactic competences of a teacher but it depends on other factors too where the selection of impulses of the subject shows to be the most important. This conscious but very often unconscious selection is based on its evaluating, cognitive and axiological consciousness (compare Dargová, Petrasová, 2004, p. 57,Olivar, 1992, p. 27, Podmanický, 2002, p. 67, Vacek in Průcha, 2009,p. 835, Žilínek, 2002, p. 126). That is why we tend to match certain information related to our interests and positive evaluation to the experience we have. Classifying items into our value systems, they become the basis of our knowledge while we reject others, do not react to them and tend to ignore them. This brings us to a pedagogical problem which is related to the fact that in spite of compulsory and systematic education educational values are not included in people’s value systems and that is how a value of learning becomes problematic too. When differentiating an educational value from the value of learning we should distinguish by their position among types of values. As we have mentioned already, Hudeček categorizes values into gratification and directive ones (Hudeček, 1986, p. 48). From the perspective of educational process we may call them ideal (gratification) and real (directive) values as Hudeček’s approach may evoke certain technological attitude. The opposite approach (psychoanalytical) is favoured in the value classification system which is based on phenomenology and psychoanalysis of Meinong (Meinong in Griffin, 2008, p. 163). This approach distinguishes values of size, dignity, performance, beauty, truth and personal values. Personal values help us understand all other values in this concept. They seem to be ideal for the guidance of a man and his worldview formation in agogical theory and practice in the system of educational value and value of learning.

If they are related to general educational objectives, we may call them ideal pedagogical values. These values include morality, pro-sociality, level of cultural development, humanism, health and learning. These are ideal values which are interlinked and one value relates to another. The value of learning is perceived as a quality achieved not only by studying which may be demonstrated by a formal sign such as certificate or diploma, but its is also a quality achieved by self-improvement (Kročková, Gogová, 2004, p. 79).

This value encompasses cognitive, axiological emotional and social sphere of a personality and is achieved with the help of high motivation for self-improvement. We have also mentioned the value of education which may be understood as a real pedagogical value, a necessary condition of learning, because real pedagogical values are those which get us closer to ideal pedagogical values.


Learning is a real pedagogical value which may be characterized as a civilizational value as its meaning and importance for a man grows together with civilizational development as it is a pre-conditioning value for a social success of a man allowing him to achieve a certain social status and guarantees mobility in society. Learning only becomes a pedagogical value when it serves as motivation for further self-improvement. It also relates to the relation of needs and values. Looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we see that the top level is occupied by the need for self-actualization and self-fulfilment. These needs may be satisfied in many ways. But it is always about the process of formation of values – material or spiritual (Hyhlík, - Nakonečný, 1973, s 127-128).

The need for self-fulfilment may be saturated by learning which is dependent on an institution and through this we will see the relation between the value of learning through an institution (real pedagogical value) and the value of learning as an ideal pedagogical value as a way for self-fulfilment. If a value of learning occupies an important position in a value orientation of a man, it may motivate a personality in all aspects. Then we fully agree with the opinion of Skalková (2005, p. 10-11) who claims that significant anthropological dimensions play role in the concept of education. It is the cultivation of a young man and enhancement of his inner experience whether it should be a consequence of understanding or experiencing the curriculum or interpersonal relationships which are provided by school and its teachings.

This is where foundations of value orientation and human knowledge are laid. The development of value orientation incorporates not only today emphasized values of tolerance, solidarity among people and empathy but also well-known characters which professional literature tends to forget about: responsibility, honesty, consideration, patience and ability to be responsible for one’s actions consequences. Complementary values to the value of learning might be self-knowledge, the world knowledge. Value of learning something new, value of creating something unique, free, value of one’s own opinion and volitional and character values, because all these values may form our understanding a value of learning as an ideal and target pedagogical value.

From the perspective of our pedagogical experience we make mistakes in our pedagogical work which may make the above-mentioned process more difficult. Let us make a list of these mistakes to provoke future pedagogical discussion:

In the end we claim that if the educational process is not further reformed on the basis of what we have brought up and the education as a value is not only acknowledged but also recognized as necessary and desirable for an individual, then a value of learning may cease to exist as a self-improvement value developing other personality aspects from the value orientation perspective.


1. If possible, we always state the most common value category definition to a specific perspective and a list of representatives of a particular definition at the end of the definition.


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Kontaktní informace / Contact informations

Mgr. Štefan Chudý, Ph.D.

Ústav pedagogiky a sociálních studií, Pedagogická fakulta, Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci

Žižkovo nám. 5

771 40 Olomouc

Česká republika

Mgr. Pavel Neumeister, Ph.D.

Ústav pedagogiky a sociálních studií, Pedagogická fakulta, Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci

Žižkovo nám. 5

771 40 Olomouc

Česká republika

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