Textbooks – value and education or just information?

Textbooks – value and education or just information?

ACADEMY OF EUROPEAN LANGUAGES was honoured to open the Second IPE (International Publishers Exhbition) in Tirana at Plaza Hotel. Our speech aligned with the event, we talked about textbooks in 21st century. The speech was hosted by the AEL founder and Drima Halilaj, one of the schools excellent students.

Textbooks – value and education or just information?

The main purpose of a textbook is to enable education and provide information. But does value come along or do we create it out of the given resources? How much is too much information?  In 2020 we are in desperate need of values and overloaded with information.

Introduction by Drima Halilaj, based on Why books are here to stay?

If you are a teacher, a parent, a carer, you are hero because you are sending messages in the future through children. Looking at this picture, when we ask them in the future what they were doing, they probably won’t remember the exact moment but they will remember the feeling. They have a biographical memory that is locked in their body. It is the same with each one of us. The early experiences lived as children are locked into us, but we won’t remember them, and here’s why relationships are so important.

Textbooks, Past- Present- Future.

The earliest known printed books were created using woodblock printing. The first printed book dates back in 17th century in China in the Dynasty of Thang. It only came to Europe some 800 years later. Papermaking coincided with another crucial step forward in the history of books. Johan Gutenberg invented the mechanical moveable type in 1544. Though the simple act of crafting small moveable letters may seem mundane in the contemporary world of digital devices, It is difficult to overstate the importance of Gutenberg’s invention and the effect it had on the world. He is considered the single most important influential person of the second millennium and his invention the most important one in the last 1000 years. Over the next centuries, the printing press changed everything about how books were made, distributed and read.

Effects of the mass production of books

The world was revolutionized by the advent of the printed book but what did not substantially change was the form of the book itself. The mass production of books helped the knowledge become democratized. Let’s not forget that the first book to be typed in Latin in Europe was the bible. While Gutengerg’s invention of the printing press ushered in an age of democratized knowledge and incipient mass culture, it also transformed the act of authorship, making writing a profitable enterprise. The biggest change to hit publishing book in the 20th century was the popularity of paperback book. Penguin books were the ones to make revolution.

Present  and future situation

Book has been the number 1 media of mass communication, followed later by the newspaper, radio, etc. its power and value has been indisputable. With technology era and digitalization, people started to question its existence and its future. The technological revolution is proving that it cannot diminish its value and importance. It only innovates the approach, but not the appeal.  Whether paperback, e-book, the book has not abolished its throne yet, and will not for many years to come. Even though the future is hard to predict, I am a firm believer that it will only emphasize its role and presence more, rather that spoil its status. The challenge of technology in the future is to produce such content that is easy to access and embrace as innovation, but by preserving the concept of the physical book.

What do books provide?

They provide a base level of knowledge in a subject, a point of reference and plenty of various learning resources, but in order for this to happen we need a connection between people, educators and the books. We need this connection and the establishment of trusting relationships.

Here I am going to cite Neil Hawkes. In one of his trips, he visited the concentration camps, the memorial of Holocaust, and he posed a question to himself: what can you do hat you could make a difference? Is education all about mathematics and stuff, great results? Or is there something more important, greater for humanity?

First, let’s decide what education is. Is it about social control? Neil argues and most of us would, that education is all about flourishing of humanity, as much as each of us can flourish. Aristotle said that education is a moral pursuit in which everybody should flourish. Neil is among the first to promote and work on language of values. He was long an observer and noticed how children used words such as respect and tolerance and how they demonstrated them.

Values based education

What is VBE? It goes beyond textbooks. It is when you underpin everything in school, the policies, the way you behave, the relationships, everything with a set of universal set of positive human values. There are limiting values and there are these sort of values that make the spiral down. But if we give this positive set of values, tolerance, justice, love, altruism then we give children the tools in which they can perform positive relationships with themselves and with other people.

There are seven pillars of values based education:

  1. MODELLING – take the values as a schools and model it. If you follow respect, you cannot shout t children at school.
  2. INNER CURRICULUM – starts with internal self, the inner world, wisdom of humanity.
  3. REFLECTION – How do you calm your anger? – I think of peace.
  4. ATMOSPHERE – Calm and purposeful.
  5. CURRICULUM – explicit, implicit (teaching by the values and aiming high).
  6. LEADERSHIP – All should be leaders but one must start it.
  7. ETHICAL VOCABULARY – values, words lead to ethical intelligence, the most important intelligence for us to develop.
  8. SMILING EYES – have a look at the person next to you.

Carl Roger says it is important to have unconditional positive regard. As a good teacher, that’s what you have with children. A values lesson on friendship: How do you show friendship? Show it to the person next to you… this is what kids do. The future is in the hands of students. BE A VALUES CHAMPION. It develops academic diligence in children- the philosophy which drives a 21st century curriculum that meets the needs of the children all over the world.

VBE develops the atmosphere in which mental health is ok, resilience is developed and we develop a sense of self, we are able to be responsible of ourselves. Can you imagine politicians using positive language? Zoom the message into the future and they will create a society in which this world could truly flourish. If children go to school and they do not learn, it devalues education. A well produced textbook is authoritative. With the limitless access to the internet, the role of the paper book has to be reexamined and the developing and developed world.

We will still provide value through textbooks by following some really simple practices. Tell your pupils stories, imply animals as the main characters. They convey the truth of human life. Imply learning by singing songs. Make use of role playing – modeling examples. Playing games is a great way to instill the moral value of cooperation and help. Last but not least, teach vocabulary with associations.

Textbooks might limit teachers as it promotes the study of a subject and it might ot promote reading. But we are here to manage this. Books are here to stay, as they did yesterday, and will do tomorrow too, just maybe different from today.

How to teach moral values in schools
Neil Hawkes – Values Based Education
1 Comment
  • BrianRuigh
    Posted at 12:13h, 03 April Reply

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