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Issues in Educational Research, 2013, Vol 23(3), 394-414
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Concurrent pre-service teachers: An analysis of values

Thomas G. Ryan, Courtney R. Schruder and Stephanie Robinson
Nipissing University, Canada

Our investigation of axiology (study of values) allowed us to ascertain a hierarchy of values of pre-service education students concurrently enrolled in two degree programs. We discovered homogeneity which may be a consequence of the discipline (education) investigated and/or sampling, as 87% were female, which reflected the female dominance of the current Ontario pre-service education program at our University, and males totalled only 13%. Our values are linked to our understanding of self-concept and character we believed. Our survey data were examined in terms of gender, year of study, and division of study. Homogeneity of values was revealed within 'Terminal values' (end state of existence) as Family security was ranked highest. True friends was ranked second and Health ranked third; whereas Self-respect was ranked fourth and Freedom was fifth, leaving Equality sixth. For 'Instrumental values' (modes of conduct) being Honest was ranked highest by the entire sample (n=319) and Responsible was second. Loving was ranked third and Helpful was ranked fourth highest. Loyal was ranked fifth and Ambitious was ranked sixth. Teaching is not neutral therefore values clarification for teachers is a matter of identity as we need to be aware of what values we possess and employ within our praxes.


The largest organisation of educators in Canada, the Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF) (2005), has stated that they believe "all students, teachers and parents have a right to a safe, welcoming school environment that supports learning. [Furthermore, they note that] a civil society thrives in a culture that values and supports diversity" (p. i). With Canada's population nearing 32 million (Statistics Canada, 2006), the nation is growing and diversifying; there are currently over 200 ethnic origins represented (Statistics Canada, 2006), and many individuals speak a first language other than English or French.

Within CTF's vision statement, "prominence is given to the mission of the teaching profession to promote the well-being and education of all children and youth. One of the CTF priorities for 2005-2007 is to promote and encourage diversity and equity in public education" (p. i). This position closely supports Article 29 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that educators must work towards:

The development of respect for the child's parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own. (Canadian Teachers' Federation, 2005, p.16)
Inside Canada, the execution of such a United Nations convention requires an awareness of values. This awareness most likely emanates from the home, and via the school, which is where a child in Canada invests most of his or her childhood. The need for values awareness, values education, and the discussion of values may be obvious to some, yet within schools the need to confront values is a daily challenge as values surface in words and actions.

In Canada, a person wanting to become a teacher must undergo rigorous training in a post-secondary institution of higher learning. That 'would-be' teacher most likely was a Canadian student, and worked under the tutelage of many teachers over the course of eight elementary years of study, followed by four years of secondary level classes. An elementary or secondary student today will encounter an educator who is one of an estimated 220,000 teachers in Canada, according to a recent Canadian Teachers' Federation (2007) estimate.

Teachers in Canada receive initial (pre-service) training that includes classroom theory and practicum sessions where they are required to teach in schools. The theory portion of their studies requires an examination of "the social context of schools and their organisations, [and] teacher candidates investigate how changes in the values and composition of the Canadian population affect the nature of elementary and secondary schooling" (University of British Columbia. 2009, p. 25). This provincial observation is illustrative of the reality located in all Canadian provinces, as there is no national governing body in Canada education is a provincial responsibility. Teacher candidates are "...expected to provide artifacts that reveal understandings of Canadian and world societal values as well as an understanding of, and advocacy and educational support for, the diverse populations that they serve (University of British Columbia, 2009, p. 25). Teacher educators who train teacher candidates, "have a responsibility not only to introduce aspiring teachers to the traditions, practices and values of the profession to date, but to respect and encourage their capacity to act in ways that renew the profession" (Erickson, Darling, Collins, & Kind, 2005, p. 20). The values that the educational institution communicates are not only transmitted in the early, formative years of schooling, but throughout an individual's time as a student, and even when they are making the transition from student to teacher.

Education is not an unbiased or neutral enterprise (Parkay, Hardcastle Stanford, Vaillancourt, Stephens, & Harris, 2012, p. 64). The people who become teachers have to be aware of values -- their own, those of the school system, and those of the general populace. It is a matter of axiological importance as we study values to be aware of what we should teach, encourage, adopt, and address as Graham (2007) explained,

Broadly speaking, axiology is the study of values. Axiologies are expressed materially in patterns of choices that are both culture-bound and definitive of different cultures. They are expressed in the language we use; in the friends we keep; in the clothes we wear; in what we read, write, and watch; in the technologies we use; in the gods we believe in and pray to; in the music we make and listen to -- indeed, in every kind of activity that can be counted as a definitive element of culture. (p. 1)
Within our country becoming a competent educator can be understood and defined as a dynamic mixture of knowledge, abilities and values (Pantic & Wubbels, 2012). However, being unaware of specific personal value orientations may threaten an educator's perceived level and understanding of competency (Ornstein et al., 2010). Being unaware of the values of the organisation within which they work may also cause misunderstanding, conflict, and unexpected outcomes. Therefore the illumination of values is vital in pre-service since "learning to learn, preparation for work, responsible citizenship and instilling values tend to underpin the broad purposes of education in Canada" (Gambhir, Broad, Evans & Gaskell, 2008, p. 4). Initial teacher education (ITE) "is also part of a continuum of professional learning for teachers. Before examining the structure and challenges of ITE, it is important to understand the guiding principles and values that frame the professional development of Canadian teachers" (Gambhir, et al., 2008, p. 6). Nationally the distinction of each trait varies from province to province in Canada (Leithwood, Fullan, & Watson, 2003). Within our research we acknowledged the work of Collins and Tierney (2006) who reported, via the Accord on Teacher Education, 12 guiding principles which
advance the following values and ideals: the teacher as a professional, a life-long learner and a social activist; the power of teaching and learning; the values of respect, inclusion, globalization and diversity; the value of collaboration with educational and public communities; and the importance of strong content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge. At a minimum, the principles provoke important discussions and the possibility of joint efforts on issues central to the advancement of teaching and learning across the country among faculties and departments of education, at government levels, and within associations and organizations such as the Canadian Teachers' Federation and Canadian Education Association. (p.75)
By identifying (clarification) values pre-service teachers can better reflect upon, address, comprehend and match their own selected values with accords and positions articulated by Canadian educational organisations, institutions and bodies. Gambhir, et al. (2008) explained,
Initial teacher education programs in Canada tend to be viewed as a first, foundational stage in this professional development process. They are expected to provide an introduction to critical knowledge bases, skills, and practices that assist prospective teachers to develop a fundamental understanding of high quality student and teacher learning and performance. (p. 7)
These competencies need to be valued by the pre-service student who will assume a role and undertake the task of teaching within an institution. Some pre-service educators may already grasp the fact that "... schools are already powerful socialisers of traditional values "(Kohn., 2010, p. 186), even though many of us may "fail to appreciate the extent to which this is true because we have come to take these values for granted" (Kohn, 2010, p.186).

Values permeate our being and surface via the curriculum as teachers teach, students learn, and education unfolds in our nation's classrooms (Ornstein, Pajak, & Ornstein, 2010, p. 23). Values are taught "explicitly in classrooms and through the activities and relationships of the school and its community. In schools, core values influence how people communicate, work together, and make decisions. They are reflected in the policies and procedures of schools" (New South Wales: Department of Education & Training, 2004, p. 2). Possibly the most obvious example of values education is witnessed in the recent emphasis on character education. As Sprang (2005) has noted, "character education is not a separate subject...rather it is a strategy that incorporates guiding principles into the existing curriculum and into daily experiences and interactions" (p. 3). "Character education and other forms of indoctrinative moral education has aimed at teaching universal values" (Ornstein et al., 2010).

Curriculum (the plan for learning) is changing constantly as society evolves and social concerns exert pressure and migrate into the curricula (Ornstein et al., 2010). In many schools, even holidays that have traditionally always been celebrated, are being questioned and the titles are undergoing changes in order to be more general and all encompassing. Christmas has morphed into "Winter Celebration", and, likewise other traditions have begun to give way to new means of commemoration that are inclusive and sensitive to the diversity within schools and communities. The diversity evident within teachers and their classrooms has begun to be valued in a different way; this is something that needs to be examined; yet it is not a straightforward or simple process. Granted, "teachers ought to be trained to reflect on what kind of teachers they are, (their values and beliefs) and how they became that way" (Cherubini, 2008, p. 12), however, failing this, an examination of personal values is an effort and catalyst to realise this goal.

Herein we understand a value as "an enduring belief" (Rokeach, 1968, p. 160) that can be perceived and grasped as one's universal belief(s) about desirable and undesirable conduct (Feather, 1975; Rokeach, 1970, 1973). An individual's "value system is an enduring organisation of beliefs concerning preferable modes of conduct or end-states of existence along a continuum of relative importance" (Rokeach, 1973, p. 43). Consequently, a value system can be examined by looking into the organisation (rank) of specific values that inform beliefs and guide conduct. The process of linking conduct to beliefs and values is often covert, which has led researchers like Feather (1990) to conclude that values can be tacit, and yet make up the very nucleus of self-concept, influencing both thought and action. Values are grounded in human nature and are often identifiable in everyday human life (Beck, 1993). Teachers in training need to debate purposes, values and ideologies of their learning and teaching (Ornstein et al., 2010), while also referring to evidence from their practicum. This research can infuse our conversation by drawing additional attention to the values that pre-service teacher hold.


Our purposeful investigation of value orientations (terminal and instrumental, which will later be defined) allowed us to ascertain a hierarchy of the most highly held values of pre-service teachers, with special attention to sex, year, and division (Primary - grades K-3, Junior 4-6, intermediate, 7-9, senior, 10-12) qualification in which the university pre-service educator was becoming certified to teach within. This was deemed important, since understanding values has, and continues to be, vital to the understanding and prediction of how an individual will act to achieve his or her preferred "mode of conduct" or "end-state of existence" (Hodgkinson, 1978; Rokeach, 1973). Revealing values was deemed useful for both the researcher and the participants, as this discovery can be both educational and a means to better understand oneself within the larger context of society. Sharing the outcomes of this research is both instructive and supports an enhanced understanding of the psychological composition of these pre-service (education) university students, who will soon be teachers with values on display.



Subjects were 319 (278 female, 41 male) Concurrent University students from both campuses. Concurrent Education students at our University complete two degrees and will acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to fulfil the requirements for certification by the Ontario College of Teachers. They also become qualified to teach in one of two divisions: Primary/Junior (P/J) or Junior/Intermediate (J/I). The mean age of all Bachelor of Education students during the 2011-2012 school year was 24.5 years, however participants did not disclose their age during the study. All subjects completed the survey either online or in an education class. A total of 319 participants completed all questions on the survey. In the demographic portion of the survey, participants were asked to identify their sex, pre-service qualification (P/J or J/I), and year of schooling; the gender, pre-service qualification, and year distribution of completed surveys can be found in Table 1. Less than 1% were non-responsive (n = 3).

Table 1: Division and gender distribution of completed surveys



Two identical versions of the Rokeach Value Survey were used to collect data. Students had the option to complete a paper version in class, or to fill out an online version either in class or at home. Both versions asked participants to rank two lists of values (accompanied by a short description) by writing a number between 1 and 18 beside each value, depending on its order of importance to the individual. Each rank number could only be used once, and clear instructions preceded the actual survey. The online version was a replica of the paper version, but used an order ranking data form. The paper copy was included as Appendix A. The online version, found at http://kwiksurveys.com?u=valuessurvey1 allowed participants access at any time of the day or night.


The Rokeach Value Survey (RVS), designed to measure an individual's perception of the relative weight attached to certain values, was used herein (Ryan & Robinson, 2012). The survey tool and/or measure utilised was specifically Form E of the RVS (Rokeach, 1971) which consists of two alphabetically structured lists of values. Overall, there were 18 instrumental terms/words (values) on one page, and 18 terminal values on the other side of the page (Ryan & Robinson, 2012). Terminal values, which comprised one list, included such terms as freedom, happiness, and a world at peace, etc,which concerned the "end state of existence." The other list contained instrumental values, such as ambitious, helpful, and polite, etc, which address "modes of conduct." A short defining phrase followed each value. The psychometric properties of the instrument have been comprehensively studied (Rokeach, 1973; Feather, 1975; Rankin & Grube, 1980) and extensively evaluated via empirical investigations by researchers such as Braithwaite and Law (1985), as well as by Feather (1991). Bussey (2006) concluded:
The Rokeach Value Survey (RVS) is comprised of two lists of eighteen value statements that respondents rank order. Its initial validation testing involved a large sample (n>1,500) (Rokeach, 1973). Since its development in the late 1960's, it has been widely used and further validated; it is still in use today. (p. 3)
We elected to also place the survey online in order to increase accessibility, due to the fact that our training program has a laptop focus (iTeach Laptop Learning Program using Mac), which places the student in a technologically informed position in the province of Ontario. The survey task required approximately 10 minutes and anonymity of the subjects was ensured, as names were not required (Ryan & Robinson, 2012). All participants were instructed to rank the values in order of importance from 1 to 18. The resulting hierarchy defined the individual's terminal and instrumental value systems. Ideally, each participant completed the ranking of the terminal values before ranking the instrumental values; however it may not have unfolded this way. There was no time limit and participants were told to go back and check their answers to verify that the end results were a true representation of their values. Ethical clearance was realised once the ethical review committee of our institution approved our study, and ethics information was either distributed online or in classes using handouts.


Using gender as a category, we were able to divide the sample into two groups. We sifted through each survey and computed a total number of tallies for each word on the survey. First, for the terminal values, and then, on side two of the hard copy, for the instrumental values. We were able to calculate a mean for each gender, and arrive at the most highly ranked value out of each list of 18.

We again computed a number that indicated the most highly ranked value for each division of the two existing in the education program. Two divisions could be delineated including Primary/Junior and Junior/ Intermediate. Mean scores were then calculated to allow us to economically examine, compare, and contrast results. The lower the score, the more often respondents ranked this value higher or closer to one. Conversely, a lower mean indicated a higher rank chosen by the participant. To assess differences between genders, a series of Independent Sample t-tests were implemented (Ryan & Robinson, 2012).


Addressing the results displayed in Table 2, we noted the rank order (score) of each trait for the first six traits, as was done by Rokeach (1973). We aggregated the yearly scores for each item to arrive an outcomes presented herein. The lower the cumulative score, the more highly the item was ranked. In doing this we realised that Family security was ranked the highest by the entire sample and summing the rank gave us a cumulative score of 10 over the five years (1,1,5,1,2) with only year three and five ranking it lower than 1.

Table 2: Comparison of Terminal Values by Year (within 5 yr. program)

RankYear OneYear TwoYear ThreeYear FourYear Five
1Family securityFamily securityHealthFamily securityTrue friends
2FreedomTrue friendsTrue friendsHealthFamily security
3HealthHealthFreedomTrue friendsSelf-respect
4True friendsSelf-respectSelf-respectSelf-respectAccomplish
5Self-respectFreedomFamily securityFreedomHealth
7World at peaceAccomplishAccomplishAccomplishEquality
8AccomplishPleasureInner harmonyComfortableComfortable
9WisdomWorld at peaceWorld at peaceWorld at peaceFreedom
10ComfortableComfortablePleasurePleasureMature Love
11Inner harmonyMature loveWisdomMature lovePleasure
12Exciting lifeWisdomComfortableExciting lifeExciting life
13PleasureInner harmonyExciting lifeInner harmonyWorld at peace
14RecognitionExciting LifeMature loveWisdomRecognition
15Mature loveRecognitionRecognitionSecurityInner harmony

True friends was ranked second highest by the participants, with a cumulative score of 12 over the five years (4,2,2,3,1) with year 1 ranking it number one. Only year two and three ranked it similarly at two. Health was ranked third highest by our sample with a cumulative score of 14 (3,3,1,2,5), with year three ranking it number one. Only year four ranked it similarly at position two.

Self-respect was ranked fourth highest by our pre-service teachers, with a cumulative score of 20 (5,4,4,4,3). Year five ranked Self-respect third, whereas, years two, three, and four ranked it fourth. Freedom was valued fifth highest by the participants with a cumulative score of 24 over the five years (2,5,3,5,9,) with all years ranking Freedom differently. Only year two and four ranked it similarly at five.

Equality was ranked sixth by our sample, with a cumulative score of 31(6,6,6,6,7) as most years ranked it sixth except year five who ranked it seventh.

Addressing the results displayed in Table 3, we again elected to address the rank order (score) of each trait for the first six traits. We recognised that Honest was ranked the highest by participants with a cumulative score of 7 over the five years (2,1,1,1,2) with only year one and five ranking it lower than 1.

Table 3: Comparison of instrumental values by year

RankYear OneYear TwoYear ThreeYear FourYear Five

Responsible was ranked second highest by participants with a cumulative score of 10 over the five years (1,2,2,4,1) with year one and five ranking it number one. Years two and three ranked it similarly at two, while year four ranked it four.

Loving was ranked third highest with a cumulative score of 16 (3,3,5,2,3), with year four ranking it number two. Years one, two and five ranked it third while year three ranked Loving as fifth.

Helpful ranked fourth highest by our pre-service teachers, with a cumulative score of 24 (4,5,4,7,4). Year four ranked Helpful seventh, whereas, year one, three, and five ranked it fourth.

Loyal was valued fifth highest, with a cumulative score of 25 over the five years (7,4,6,3,5), with all years ranking Loyal differently. Year four ranked Loyal highest at 3 and year one ranked it lowest at seven.

Ambitious was ranked sixth with a cumulative score of 27 (6,7,3,5,6) with years one and five ranking it sixth while year three ranked Ambitious third.

Table 4 illustrates the ranking of terminal values for each division (Primary/Junior includes grades K to 6 and Junior/Intermediate includes 4 to 9, meaning there is a slight overlap between the two).

Table 4: Divisions: Terminal values

1Family securityFamily security
2True friendsHealth
3HealthTrue friends
7Sense of accomplishmentSense of accomplishment
8World at peaceComfortable life
10Inner harmonyWorld at peace
11Comfortable lifePleasure
12Mature loveMature love
13WisdomInner harmony
14Exciting lifeExciting life
15Social recognitionSocial recognition
16National securityNational security
17World of beautyWorld of beauty

We chose to acknowledge the rank order (score) of each trait for the first six traits. We identified Family security as the highest ranking value in each division, with a cumulative score of 2 (1, 1). True friends and Health were ranked a tie for second by all participants, with a cumulative score of 5 (2 P/J, 3 J/I True friends and Health 3, 2).

Freedom was ranked third highest by our sample with a cumulative score of 9 (5, 4). Self-respect was also ranked third with a cumulative score of 9 (4, 5). Equality was ranked sixth by each division with a cumulative score of 12(6, 6).

In Table 5 we recognised that Honest and Responsible were ranked equally high by participants with a cumulative score of 3 in each case (Honest 2, 1 & 1, 2 Responsible). Loving was ranked second with a cumulative score of 7 (3, 4). Helpful and Loyal ranked third highest by our pre-service teachers with a cumulative score of 9 (4, 5 & 6, 3). Ambitious was ranked sixth (5, 6).

Table 5: Divisions: Instrumental values


Table 6 displays Family security, ranked highest by the entire sample, regardless of gender, and summing the rank gave us a cumulative score of 4 (3 males,1 female). True friends was ranked second highest with a cumulative score of 5 (2 males, 3 females). Health and Freedom was ranked third highest by our sample with a cumulative score of 6 (4, 2 & 1, 5) respectively. Self-respect was ranked fourth by our pre-service male teachers with a cumulative score of 10 (6 males, 4 females). Equality was ranked fifth by our sample with a cumulative score of 11 (5 males, 6 females).

Table 6: Gender comparison: Terminal values

1FreedomFamily security
2True friendsHealth
3Family securityTrue Friends
7Sense of accomplishmentSense of accomplishment
8WisdomWorld at peace
9Comfortable lifeComfortable life
11Social recognitionInner harmony
12Exciting lifeWisdom
13Mature loveMature love
14Inner harmonyExciting life
15World at peaceSocial recognition
16National securityNational security
17World of beautyWorld of beauty

Addressing the results displayed in Table 7, we realised that Honest was ranked highest by the entire sample and summing the rank gave us a cumulative score of 2 (1, 1). Responsible was ranked the second highest by participants with a cumulative score of 4 (2, 2). Ambitious was ranked third with a cumulative score of 9 (3, 6) and Loyal was also ranked third with a score of 9 (5, 4). Helpful and Loyal ranked fourth highest by our pre-service teachers with a cumulative score of 11 (6, 5 & 5, 4).

Table 7: Gender comparison: Instrumental values


Concentrating on the results displayed in Table 8, we listed all 36 possible traits and the resultant rankings. In doing this we realised that within the Terminal values list, Family security was ranked the highest by the entire sample. True friends was ranked second highest. Health was ranked third highest by our sample and Self-respect was ranked fourth. Freedom was valued fifth highest by the participants and Equality was ranked sixth by our sample.

For Instrumental values we realised that Honest was ranked the highest by the entire sample and Responsible was ranked second highest. Loving was ranked second by all participants and Helpful was ranked fourth highest. Loyal was ranked fifth and Ambitious was ranked sixth.

Table 8: Value rankings of entire sample

RankTerminal ValuesInstrumental Values
1Family securityHonest
2True friendsResponsible
7Sense of accomplishmentPolite
8World at peaceBroad-minded
9Comfortable lifeIndependent
12Inner harmonyImaginative
13Mature loveIntellectual
14Exciting lifeSelf-controlled
15Social recognitionCapable
16National securityLogical
17World of beautyClean


Instrumental values

We discovered herein a valuing of Honesty (Instrumental value) at the highest level by participants in our study. Honesty is key for a person in a position of trust, where they must not only be a role-model but also sanction activities that may occur within the school learning environment. This social learning environment is where teachers display and enact the values they may have ranked at the highest levels we believe. If we were to observe this sample of selected pre-service teachers within the learning environment we would, at some point, likely note the instrumental values demonstrated, such as, Responsible, Loving, Helpful, Loyal and Ambitious. All of these are currently desirable within teaching since "the view of teaching as an ethical and value-laden activity seems to be widespread among the policy makers, teacher educators and teachers themselves "(Pantic & Wubbels, 2012, p. 55).

All teachers in the province of Ontario are required to be a member of the Ontario College of Teachers. It is this professional body that has stated that: "Members of the Ontario College of Teachers, in their position of trust, demonstrate responsibility in their relationships with students, parents, guardians, colleagues, educational partners, other professionals, the environment and the public" (Ontario College of Teachers, 2012). This position bodes well for our selected sample of pre-service educators since data complemented the position of the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT). We believed this was a result of several factors, for instance, "professional training and education also inculcate values and ways of thinking that are peculiar to the profession. Each professional group develops a characteristic stance toward the world, a language with which to interpret it and respond to it" (Lebacqz, 1985, p. 52). At times the actions of the Ontario College of Teachers may appear paternalistic as they have suggested the that aim of education, through teachers, is to transmit the right values and act within the OCT ethical guidelines while teaching (Ontario College of Teachers, 2012).

Terminal values

Rokeach (1973) defined terminal values as "modes of conduct" which an individual applies to realise terminal goals. The first three to six values chosen identifies the respondent's attitude and inclinations (Rokeach, 1973). Family security was ranked the highest by the entire sample and only years three and five ranked lower than 1. As Canadian educators we learn about our teaching role and the responsibilities an authority figure must assume, for example,
the concept that the teacher is acting in loco parentis has gradually evolved through legal precedent. This means that the teacher stands, in relation to the student, in the position of a caring parent, as an unofficial guardian. This concept not only allows the teacher some of the privileges of a parent but also brings with it added responsibilities for the protection of pupils. Thus, a teacher could be liable for damage caused to a pupil where the teacher's conduct falls below the standard of care commonly accepted as being reasonable in a parent-child relationship. A teacher may even have to meet a higher standard of care where special knowledge makes the teacher aware of dangers that the normal parent might not appreciate (Alberta Teachers Association, 2010).
Being aware of this responsibility leads to an omnipresent awareness of caring for others and this continues after school hours and is transferred to their immediate family hence the high ranking of Family security (safety) often realised when teachers must indicate their awareness or valuing of this trait. This principle affects several aspects of teacher conduct.

True friends was ranked second highest by participants, with year one ranking it number one. Only year two and three ranked it similarly as number two. We believe True friends was ranked highly since "human beings are biologically programmed to relate to each other and cooperate in many ways. The need to relate to others is considered to be a basic and fundamental human need" (Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, 2011). Education is generally perceived to be a social process that meets human needs by connecting people to one another via various activities, tasks and experiences, so having True friends is important in school and life. The Ontario based Hincks-Dellcrest Centre (2011) explained how "friendship refers to relationships between two individuals. Friendship is based on mutual liking and shared interests. Children begin to think of friendships as relationships that involve common values, commitment, loyalty, mutual support and reliability. Friends can confide in and gain support from one another" (p. 1). Teachers are in a position to model social skills and nurture friendships with peers, students and parents. This modelling can teach students how they can make and maintain true friends as they engage and progress educationally and socially in schools. Having friends and forming relationships with friends can impact Health.

Health was ranked third highest by our sample, with year three ranking it number one. Only year four ranked it similarly at position two. This outcome complements international research by Veisson (2009) who found, based on "Rokeach's and Schwartz's questionnaires, that Estonians considered the most important values to be health" (Kalmus & Vihalemm, 2004). Veisson (2009) further concluded that students' health is relatively highly valued by teachers and school directors following a survey "administered to 3838 students, 2048 parents, 620 teachers and 120 school directors" (p. 67). When we are unhealthy our quality of life is negatively impacted, which impairs our lived experiences and performance. If so our values may change (Beck, 1993).

Self-respect (self-esteem), ranked fourth highest by our pre-service teachers was ranked third by fifth year students, whereas, year two, three, and four ranked self-respect fourth. Self-respect, and self esteem are required if one is to learn, and act with confidence (Burns, 1991). Teaching in pre-service requires successful completion of practicum in which they are graded, evaluated, and deemed competent by university supervisors, associate teachers and the very students they teach, who respond to what they sense. The practicum is a cathartic moment in which self-esteem is infused with outcomes and reflective notions of teaching performance, hence the need to value self-respect, as this research indicates. Dobbins (1996) found,

student teachers' ability to cope during the practicum was affected by their self-esteem, which fluctuated throughout the practicum, depending on the nature of each individual, his/her energy level, how well he/she was managing the professional demands of "being a student teacher" and the personal pressures on him/her and the amount of support he/she received. ... People cope better when they feel good about themselves and have plenty of energy. When they are worried or tired their ability to cope declines. The emotional turmoil which the student teachers endured as a "constant companion" throughout the practicum (as a result of trying to "please everybody" and "be perfect") ... (p. 22)
Freedom was valued fifth highest by the participants with most years ranking it differently. Only year two and four ranked it similarly at position/rank five. This freedom priority links directly to Pantic and Wubbels' (2012) assertions that "individuals have an inalienable moral right, short of unacceptable intrusion in the affairs of others, to freely choose their conduct, attitudes and values" (p. 59). Being able to teach in a manner that supports freedoms, such as the freedom of speech, dress, expression and movement can be associated with the community within which the educators practice. Czerniawski (2009) concluded, "the degree of freedom teachers have to determine their own practice largely depends on the values of their 'communities of practice'" (Wenger, 1998, p. 22). Within Ontario, teachers practice within a community that supports an educator's freedom via the Ontario College of Teachers that oversees the behaviour of all registered teachers in the province. This is indeed, a "liberal conception of teachers' role [which] has been associated with the moves towards a highly regulated, value-neutral and impersonal quality of teaching, attempting to define educational professionalism minimally as a code of practice" (Pantic & Wubbels, 2012, p. 59). Our sample indicated that they were in favour of what some describe as a liberal-progressive role (Carr, 1993) where, "liberal values such as equality, respect of difference, parallel concerns for individual liberties and social justice, and consistent rationality" (p. 59). This is further affirmed by the fact that Equality was ranked sixth by our sample with all years ranking it sixth except year five, which ranked it seventh.


Our sample was mostly comprised of females (178 participants) and only 41 males, which is typical given the divisions included in this study, namely the Primary (grades K-3), Junior (grades 4-6) and Intermediate (grades 7-10) divisions. Most of our sample was from the P/J division and traditionally there is a higher female enrolment than males in that division, which was the case here. A direct comparative analysis seemed tenuous at best and we therefore embraced the findings of Hofmann (2009) who claimed that
value differences between the sexes are fairly consistent and stable (Feather, 1984), which may be due to the fact that males are generally socialized/predisposed to a higher degree of: (a) agentic/power, achievement, and risk taking (stimulation) values, (b) an expressive desire for hedonism (sexual gratification), (c) autonomy and self-direction, (d) noncommunal-expressive orientations, (e) forcefulness and assertiveness, and (f) nontraditionalism (Prince-Gibson & Schwartz, 1998) [ and] ... females generally valued (more than males) being loving, being honest, self-respect, and inner harmony, whereas males valued (more than females) being logical and having a comfortable life (Feather, 1984). (Hofmann, 2009, p. 117-118)
Due to the largely female sample of this study, it may be that we are really seeing female values illuminated rather than a balance of each gender. Nonetheless, we did isolate and analyse in terms of gender. It may be that a male today in education has similar sensitivities impacting values which align with female values. For instance, we realised homogeneity in that Family security ranked highest for both genders. True friends was ranked second highest. Health and Freedom was ranked third highest and Self-respect was ranked in fourth and Equality was ranked fifth by our sample.

This outcome complemented earlier research by Ryan & Robinson (2012) that found

The top six instrumental values for both males and females consisted of the same values. Both genders listed Honest as the highest ranked value while ranking Loving as the second highest value and Loyal as the third highest value. Females ranked 'Responsible' as fourth while males ranked it as sixth. Helpful was ranked fifth by females and fourth by males while 'Independent' was sixth for females and fifth for males.
This previous research was considered phase I or year one, of this ongoing project, and the results do shadow each other.

Year of study

Instrumental values
We elected to examine values for each year (Table 2, 3) of study since it was a five year program. This was prudent as "values change throughout life, and not just during adolescence. Human development is not simply a process that occurs during psychosexual development or social/cognitive maturation and/or socialisation -- it occurs from birth to death (Hofmann, 2009 p. 124). By looking at values in each year of the program we discovered how certain Instrumental values were selected, with Honest ranking highest; Responsible second highest and Loving third highest. Helpful ranked fourth and Loyal was valued fifth highest, with Ambitious sixth. The convergence was noteworthy and as noted earlier, teachers embraced the notion of honesty, being responsible, loving, helpful and loyal as one might expect given the role of educators as trusted and valued professionals. Recent changes in Ontario via the Accepting Schools Act 2012 has required all Ontario educators to ensure that there is a healthy, safe and inclusive learning environment that is positive. As this act was ushered in we consider the Ontario educator-in-training who will be teaching in schools in the near future. The social skills of a teacher and values which inform both actions and behaviours, become critical to success for all in schools. A teacher who demonstrates honesty, loyalty and who is responsible, helpful and loving would seem to complement this recent decree of provincial government.

Terminal values
"Well-being or the good life involves attaining basic values such as ... health ... friendship ... self-respect ... freedom. These values, which are largely ends in themselves, are tied to basic human desires and tendencies" (Beck, 1993, p. 21-22). Within our top 6 values, Family security was ranked highest with only year three and five ranking it lower than 1. True friends was ranked second. Only year two and three ranked it similarly at two. Health was ranked third with year three ranking it number one. Only year four ranked it similarly at level two. Self-respect was ranked fourth. Freedom was valued fifth highest with all years ranking Freedom differently. Only year two and four ranked it similarly at five. Equality was ranked sixth with all years ranking it as such, except year five who ranked it seventh. Beck (1993) reminds us that "the basic values -- survival, happiness, friendship and so on -- are pursued throughout life by virtually everyone, although ... their form often changes" (p.10).

Conclusions and recommendations

The homogeneity of values herein may be a consequence of the study itself. The sample consisted of 87% females, which reflected the female dominance of the current Ontario pre-service education program at our University. The percentage of males in this study at 13% is consistent with the last available data regarding enrolment by gender for the Faculty of Education (Ryan & Robinson, 2012). Nonetheless, we believed that our "values are empirically and fundamentally linked to the understanding of self-concept/identity" (Feather, 1994; Verplanken & Holland, 2002; Hitlin, 2003). Our sample was training to become teachers, an identity that they socialise within during the eight month long program. Indeed, the immersion of this sample within education and within the pre-service training program was a means to foster certain values. "In this way, through largely unconscious means, people 'pick-up' values from their socio-cultural environment. This happens to all of us and to a large extent makes us what we are" (Beck, 1993, p. 238).

However, what seems to be commonplace can quickly give way to differences of opinion, arguments and conflict. For example, teachers may object to the notion that they are teaching thoughtless conformity to school rules or that teaching responsibility is nothing more than getting students to do what adults want (Kohn, 2010, p. 185). Being honest within certain contexts may look very different than the words used within this survey research and this then becomes one of recommendations: Pre-service educators need to continue to clarify their values and be aware and critically examine how these values are applied and used within the multiple contexts of teaching.

A a new teacher assuming a role within the school will immediately be challenged by many elements within the school organisation and environment. Consider the fact that a recent study revealed that,

the top four terminal and instrumental values for professors and school administrators are a sense of accomplishment, self-respect, wisdom, and freedom, as well as being responsible, capable, broadminded, and intellectual, respectively. Also important in education are equality, inner harmony, and family security (terminal values), as well as [being] honest, courageous, imaginative, independent, logical, and helpful (instrumental values). (Hofmann, 2009, p. 132)
Broadly speaking our axiological investigation (study of values) has been expressed materially in the participants' choices that are both culture-bound and definitive of the teaching culture. Moreover, "they are expressed in the language we use; in the friends we keep; in the clothes we wear; in what we read, write, and watch; in the technologies we use; in the gods we believe in and pray to; in the music we make and listen to -- indeed, in every kind of activity that can be counted as a definitive element of culture" (Graham, 2007, p. 1).


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Appendix A

Gender ............................. Division ................................... Year of Study ..........

Rokeach's value survey (RVS) Terminal values

Below is a list of 18 values in alphabetical order. Study the list carefully and
arrange them in order of importance. Rank from 1 to 18 in order of importance.
The value that you hold as the least important should be ranked 18.

____ A comfortable life (a prosperous life)
____ An exciting life (a stimulating, active life)
____ A sense of accomplishment (lasting contribution)
____ A world at peace (free of war and conflict)
____ A world of beauty (beauty of nature and the arts)
____ Equality (brotherhood, equal opportunity for all)
____ Family security (taking care of loved ones)
____ Freedom (independence, free choice)
____ Happiness (contentedness, freedom from sadness)
____ Inner harmony (freedom from inner conflict)
____ Mature love (sexual and spiritual intimacy)
____ National security (protection from attack)
____ Pleasure (an enjoyable, leisurely life)
____ Salvation (saved, eternal life)
____ Self-respect (self-esteem)
____ Social recognition (respect, admiration)
____ True friendship (close companionship)
____ Wisdom (a mature understanding of life)

Instrumental values

Below is another list of 18 values in alphabetical order. Study the list carefully
and place a 1 next to the value that is most important to you, place a 2 next to
the value which you perceive as the second most important. The value that you
hold as the least important should be ranked 18.

____ Ambitious (hard-working, aspiring)
____ Broadminded (open-minded)
____ Capable (competent, effective)
____ Cheerful (lighthearted, joyful)
____ Clean (neat, tidy)
____ Courageous (standing up for your beliefs)
____ Forgiving (willing to pardon others)
____ Helpful (working for the welfare of others)
____ Honest (sincere, truthful)
____ Imaginative (daring, creative)
____ Independent (self-reliant, self-sufficient)
____ Intellectual (intelligent, reflective)
____ Logical (consistent, rational)
____ Loving (affectionate, tender)
____ Obedient (dutiful, respectful)
____ Polite (courteous, well-mannered)
____ Responsible (dependable, reliable)
____ Self-controlled (restrained, self-disciplined)

Authors: Dr Thomas G. Ryan is Professor of Education within Graduate Studies at Nipissing University, Ontario, Canada.
Email: thomasr@nipissingu.ca

Courtney R. Schruder MEd is an Ontario educator and former graduate student at Nipissing, Ontario, Canada.

Stephanie Robinson is a graduate student and research assistant in the Schulich School of Education at Nipissing University, Ontario, Canada.

Please cite as: Ryan, T. G., Schruder, C. R. & Robinson, S. (2013). Concurrent pre-service teachers: An analysis of values. Issues in Educational Research, 23(3), 394-414. http://www.iier.org.au/iier23/ryan.html

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