Identifying Values and Virtues

Lesson powerpoint here

Identifying our values.

Our values are our deeply held beliefs about the way that the world ought to be. They drive our behaviour. 

  • Put the following questions up on the screen (on lesson powerpoint) to help the students identify what they value most: 1. When you are happiest what are you doing and who are you with? 2. What annoys you? 3. Did you go out of your way to do something this week? What was it? (e.g. pick up litter, take food to someone who is ill.) 4. Who do you most admire/respect? Why?
  • Ask students to individually answer each question on paper and then try to make a list of their values out of their answers. They should write down their values on the A3 ‘my values and virtues’ sheet.

Values case study. 

  • Play this clip from ‘When Harvey met Bob’, a dramatization of the story behind Bob Geldof and Liveaid.
  • Ask the students in small groups to identify Bob Geldof’s values from his actions.
  • Feedback (examples might include justice, human life, protecting the vulnerable, getting things done).

Virtues (and vices).

A virtue is an inner disposition/ability that enables a person to make the right decision in a situation. Our virtues are what constitute our character and THEY HELP US PUT OUR VALUES INTO ACTION. Examples of virtues are Courage, Justice, Honesty, Compassion, Self-discipline, Gratitude and Humility.

Each virtue has a vice of deficiency and a vice of excess. For example, the vice of excess of courage is foolhardiness and the vice of deficiency is cowardice.

  • Show students the definitions of virtue and vice.
  • Look at the slide with 24 virtues on (might be worth printing it off).
  • Ask students to look at the next slide with images of famous people on it. Ask them to identify the virtues and vices of some of the people on the slide. They also need to back up their claim with evidence from what those people have done.
  • Feedback.
  • Ask students to identify their own virtues and add them to the ‘my values and virtues’ sheet. You could also ask the students to identify each other’s virtues.
  • Ask students to think of a time when they used some of their virtues: a time when they were at their best or felt really good about something they had done. Ask them to tell this story to someone else and ask the listener to spot the virtues they hear in the story.
  • Feedback.
  • Now ask the students to identify any of their vices. This could be things like bad temper, laziness, gluttony, being judgmental.

Prep: Ask students to notice and write about when they use their virtues between lessons. Also ask them to notice times when their vices come out to play.