In the light of the declining moral standards in South African society, there is a need for
children to be supported and developed on their journey towards responsible adulthood.
The school is regarded as one of the most relevant stakeholders in the teaching of values
for the moral development of the younger generation in particular and broader society in
general. I observed how teachers impart values to leaners through the subject Life Skills
that also includes the moral aspect.
This study employed a qualitative research method using a case study of four schools
and twelve teachers. The four schools were purposefully selected to obtain a deeper
understanding of the participants' experiences from different perspectives. The selected
schools are from different socio-economic backgrounds. Two schools were selected from
rural areas. However, the areas differed in the sense that one was in a traditional village
under the authority of a tribal chief while other was on trust land bought by the residents.
One school was selected from an informal settlement and one from a semi-urban area.
Semi-structured interviews and classroom observations were conducted to gather data.
Teachers were interviewed after school and field notes were taken to record data
collected from the participants in order to examine how teachers understood and
implemented teaching values education in the foundation phase. These values include,
amongst others, social justice and equity whereby freedom of choice and access to
education are highlighted.
The study found that the professional training of life skills teachers and multiculturalism
during life skills lessons, i.e. the cultural differences between the teachers and learners
as members of a community, need to be addressed. The study also recommends that a
relationship of trust between parents and schools should be established to help enable
teachers to address the issue of moral regeneration in our society. Classroom observation was conducted during the collection of data. School policy documents were analysed and
teachers were interviewed to get a deeper understanding of how they understood values
and how they contributed to the development of young citizens.
From the observations and interviews, it could be deduced that teachers have different
understandings of values education. It was also found that teachers find it difficult to
contextualise and reconcile cultural values with the values that they are supposed to teach
The recommendations based on the findings of my study include the professional training
of Life Skills teachers and the promotion of multiculturalism during Life Skills lessons
where the cultural differences between learners and teachers are addressed. The study
also recommends that the relationship of trust between teachers, parents and the larger
society should be entrenched in order to assist teachers to instil values in young learners.