Module 11: young people and drugs - issues for workers: facilitator's guide

3.1 The significance of values and attitudes

Page last updated: 2004

Values are beliefs or assumptions about what is good and desirable for people. This includes what we consider good and desirable for ourselves, for others and for the wider community.

Each worker has a unique perspective on the world and has their own set of values. These can often be traced back to our experiences as children and the messages that we get from our parents and friends as we grow into adults. We bring to the workplace a whole range of life experiences that define who we are.

It is neither possible nor desirable to separate ourselves into a 'work' self and another 'social' or 'family' self. We may modify our behaviour to fit work or social situations, but it is not psychologically healthy to alter our whole personality or to split our psyches into separate selves.

Our identity is not fixed, but is constantly evolving as a result of our interactions with friends, family co-workers and clients. We are also influenced by our interactions with employers and with social institutions.

Learners will be aware that they bring to their work a whole range of life experiences that define who they are.

Values are beliefs or assumptions about what is good and desirable for people. This includes what we consider good and desirable for ourselves, for others and for the wider community.

Each worker has a unique perspective on the world and has their own set of values. These can often be traced back to our experiences as children and the messages that we received from our parents and friends as we grew up. As we mature we develop our own attitudes towards life. We discard some parts of our value system and adopt new values.

It is neither possible nor desirable to separate ourselves into a 'work' self and another 'social' or 'family' self. We may modify our behaviour to fit work or social situations, but it is not psychologically healthy to alter our whole personality or to split our psyches into separate selves.

In order to work effectively with young people it is useful to reflect on our personal values and be aware of how they might impact on young people.

It is important to be conscious of our values because it helps us to:

  1. ask ourselves why we are doing what we are doing
  2. identify what the consequences of our actions will be for ourselves and the young person or colleague
  3. consider other and better options.
Top of pageOur values can impact in positive and negative ways when we interact with young people.

Example: We may attempt to influence the choices and decisions of young people on the basis of our own experiences, rather than looking at the individual situation of each young person.

Task
Overhead transparency

Task

Purpose of the exercise

To reflect on the diversity of specific values and attitudes from person to person and worker to worker.

Running the exercise

Ask the learners to write down an immediate response to the following three tasks. They should try to be spontaneous in their answers, rather than try and give the 'right' answer.

Ask learners for their responses to each of the tasks and process them one at a time, documenting responses as you go. Lead a discussion focusing on the diversity of responses that these simple tasks can generate and thus the differences in values and beliefs between workers.

Use the summary below.

(A good point for student to contact facilitator.)

If you are completing this course by distance ask at least two other people for their responses to these questions and compare them to your own. Try to write down the first response that comes to mind and encourage others to do the same.

Writing exercise

Question - What three words describe what you think about young people today?

Question - In one or two sentences describe the role of parents in today's society?

Question - Write down three words that describe what you think of young people who use AOD?

Overhead transparency

Being aware of our values and attitudes is important because it helps us to:
  • identify why we are doing what we are doing
  • identify what the consequences of our actions will be for ourselves or for the young person or colleague
  • consider other or better options
  • be more aware of the reasons for our responses to situations.