The English Classroom

A GUIDE TO IMPROVING STUDENT LITERACY

Beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviour are terms that are quite tricky to teach. However once I found this diagram, the concepts became less abstract and much clearer to conceptualise and form into a story.

Students need to hear a story as a way of understanding big ideas. Below, I have outlined how I explain the beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviour.


Preparation

Before explaining the concept, I provide students with the following flow chart. This diagram outlines the order from a belief and how this presents itself as a behaviour. After explaining each term and providing an example, I have students develop their own chart. They outline what beliefs they are taught and slowly make connections to values, attitudes and their own behaviours.


Beliefs

Before arrive at the notion of behaviours, we need to examine beliefs which informs everything else. Students need to understand that beliefs that you hold to be true – stemming from culture, faith, education, experience and relationships – informs what you value.

For example, if I have been taught from a young age that family is first, then I will later value family. I will likely put an emphasis of family in my life, spending free time with my parents and helping out where I can. Or, my faith may be Christianity, which means I will place a value on this belief on a day-to-day basis.


Values

Values stem from what is important to an individual. For example, I may value family higher than wealth. This might present itself as the willingness to provide financial support to family members even if it places yourself in a compromising financial positions. Others, may choose to place wealth higher than family. This might present itself as a willingness to compromise family time to ensure financial gain.


Attitudes

Your attitude impacts the way you treat others and approach situations. For example, if you were not taught to value the opinions of others then your attitude might appear hostile, thus impacting the way you behave.


Behaviour

Behaviour is the way you act. For example, If you have a hostile attitude then your behaviour could appear rude.


Example

Consider the following example to summarise to students. Is it an oversimplification of human psychology? Yes, but it demonstrate how one belief pulls a thread to a behaviour. Human behaviour is, of course, far more complex though this is a simple model to show how each concept is connected – it is not absolute.

Beliefs

Person A’s mentor instills the belief that wealth will amount to a happy life.

Values

Money and financial stability becomes a priority in Person A’s life and to hold higher than others values. Person A chooses to study for longer and spend less time with family.

Attitudes

Person A chooses to judge others based on their wealth. Seeks to spend more time and favour those with more wealth.

Behaviours

Person A will discuss wealth and seek others with a similar value for financial gain. Person A may choose to date someone else with similar values.


Get Interesting

For older students, you may like to present them with a video after you have modelled the concepts. Consider the following video:


Present the following questions to students:

  • What belief is the man taught during the beginning of the clip?
  • What attitude does the man and woman have towards family?
  • How does the man behave towards his wife?

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