Values Education: A Comprehensive Guide to Educational Intervention Methodology

Values Education: Educational Intervention Methodology


As Sanchez Torrado (1998) points out, values hold significant cultural and political weight, shaping individual and collective behavior. They determine actions and, consequently, the very fabric of society. Creating “new social subjects” necessitates comprehensive educational efforts that extend beyond the confines of traditional schooling.

The Importance of Values

Humans are distinguished by their rationality and critical thinking, enabling them to recognize a set of core values. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) identifies twelve fundamental and universal values: cooperation, freedom, happiness, honesty, humility, love, peace, respect, responsibility, simplicity, tolerance, and unity.

The ultimate goal of values education should be to cultivate social subjects committed to human rights, social justice, and solidarity. The international educational program “Values to Live By” emphasizes the contemporary relevance of values, as educators, parents, and children alike grapple with issues like violence, social problems, and a lack of social cohesion.

This program advocates for values education that fosters critical thinking, recognizing that values are not taught but rather discovered within each individual. Values are intrinsically linked to personality and personal circumstances, necessitating meaningful experiences that allow children to organically internalize them.

Sources of Values

Our family environment plays a crucial role in shaping our values. The affective dimension of family experiences encourages us to prioritize certain values over others. Schools and peer groups also serve as significant influences in value acquisition.

However, we must acknowledge the impact of other prominent value transmitters in contemporary society, such as music, movies, television shows, and advertisements. Educators must guide children, youth, and adults in self-analysis, exploration, and the development of their own personal and social value systems, grounded in universally accepted values.

Key Universal Values


Felix and others (2003) posit that freedom is paramount, as it underpins the existence of all other values.


According to CNICE, peace represents a space for joyful human connection. It transcends mere absence of war or conflict, encompassing tolerance and harmony even amidst disagreements, prioritizing non-violence.


Felix and others (2003) define respect as a genuine interest in understanding others and supporting their life pursuits.


The same authors argue that responsibility, as an ethical value, pertains to the just or unjust consequences of our actions. Ethical responsibility implies an individual’s capacity to regulate their behavior through four abilities:

  1. Freedom of choice
  2. Reflection
  3. Anticipation
  4. Justice

Other Universal Principles

Simplicity, honesty, love, cooperation, tolerance, humility, and happiness are also crucial universal principles. It is essential to recognize that no single value holds greater importance than another; balance is achieved through their complementarity and interconnectedness.

Contemporary Issues in Values Education

Beyond these fundamental values, certain issues demand particular attention in contemporary values education programs:

  • The influence of technology and social media on values
  • The importance of environmental sustainability
  • The promotion of intercultural understanding and respect
  • The development of critical thinking skills in a complex world


Values education is an ongoing process that requires a multifaceted approach. By fostering critical thinking, providing meaningful experiences, and promoting universal values, we can empower individuals to navigate the complexities of the modern world and contribute to a more just and compassionate society.