Home' Independence : Independence Vol 31 No 1 May 2006 Contents Independence Volume 31 No. 1 35
NEWS AND VIEWS
from or where you want to go. This can
often result in uncertainty about what
distance the school has to go before it
develops the culture it wants and in many
staff, students and parents not seeing the
point of the journey. Where this happens,
executive teams often find themselves
dragging reluctant participants along
the difficult path of change. Then, too,
school boards and principals end up
disappointed and frustrated as they
struggle to maintain commitment to
strategies designed to integrate the values.
Elephants can teach us a lot:
This story about elephants throws some
light on the problem of starting a journey
before convincing the travellers why the
journey is important.
When elephants are brought in from the
wild to be trained for the circus arena,
they are initially chained by the hind
leg to a length of chain which is
connected to a huge stake that is driven
into the ground. After some time has
elapsed, the stake is reduced in size
but the chain remains the same length.
Once the elephant is used to its new
environment, the stake is removed
and only a small piece of chain is left
attached to the elephant’s hind leg. The
amazing thing is that it never occurs
to the elephant to move outside of its
secure, n ew-found environment. The
only time it will do so is if it senses
danger; if it smells smoke and senses its
life may be threatened.
In schools, it is often only a few leaders
who “smell the smoke”. The findings
from a cultural audit can enable the
whole school community to “smell the
smoke” and commit to a process of
change to ensure the values it seeks to
espouse are integrated into school life.
The Hall-Tonna Values research is the
work of Professor Brian Hall, from the
Santa Clara University, and Dr Benjamin
Tonna, from the Internal Documentation
Centre in Rome, who developed a
methodology to identify priority values.
Their research has identified a set of 125
values that give boundaries and definition
to the values research that has been
conducted over the last 50 years. Their
inventory is used in the cultural audit
process to identify the values implicit in
key school documents.
Professor Hall (a keynote speaker at
the first National Forum on Values
Education, Melbourne, April 2004)
and Dr Tonna not only developed a
methodology to identify values but also
sorted the values into the following
• Foundation values: those that form the
foundation for the life of a group.
• Focus values: those that a group uses
in day-to-day decision-making and as
a basis for action.
• Vision values: those that form the
basis for what gives a group drive and
energy to strive to achieve their goals.
A document analysis is used to identify
the values inherent in key school
An example of the values identified through
document analysis follows in Figure 1.
The cultural audit collects both
quantitative and qualitative data about
how staff, parents and students perceived
the integration of values. The findings
from the quantitative analysis can be
represented on bar graphs, which provide
an effective visual representation of the
perception of the three groups.
• Justice/Social Order
The findings from a cultural audit can enable
the whole school community to “smell the
smoke” and commit to a process of change
to ensure the values it seeks to espouse are
integrated into school life.
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