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‘The teachers put effort into teaching us about life, and what’s right and what’s wrong’: values and moral education in publicly-managed schools in Ireland

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In light of cultural and demographic changes in the Republic of Ireland, there is an important and urgent need for research on the articulation of values education in Irish publicly-managed schools. This article reports the findings from a research project on the moral, religious and spiritual values and traditions of staff and students in publicly-managed schools. Data was collected from 18 second-level schools throughout the country, using a mixed methods approach involving the named values of participants’ school, as well as the policies and practices employed within the schools to support these named values. Findings show that both teachers and students identify positive values such as respect and well-being, equality and inclusion, and describe values education in practice. However, some differences emerging in the findings highlight the vacuum left by the lack of sectoral guidance. The implications of this vacuum are discussed, as it provides an opportunity for dialogue and consensus-building on values, and also for schools to develop their own context-relevant set of values.
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Keywords: Publicly-managed schools; Republic of Ireland; mixed methods; values education

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Education, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland

Publication date: January 2, 2018

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