Values in Education with NEARI @ ESAI

At the ESAI conference at the weekend, ( – Dr Bernie Sullivan from NEARI (, ) presented on the topic the ‘Relationship between Values and Research as a Lived Activity’.


Our values should be visible to ourselves and others, they underpin our thoughts and actions. Values often present at a tacit level and through a process of engaging in self-questioning and critical reflection they may become explicit. By living to our values, teachers and educators can help to create a more socially just and equitable environment in academic settings for staff and students.

Values may be categorised as ontological, epistemological and educational. Ontological, our way of being in the world, our relationship with others; values include respect and democracy. Next epistemological, our view of knowledge and how it is created, through dialogue and knowledge creation. Education is the third category – our approach to teaching, pedagogy and curriculum, through cooperation and collaboration.

When one is not living to our values, when values are not being realised in our practice – a ‘living contradiction’ occurs. The institution in which one works for example, may not be conducive to the promotion of your values and one’s practice may need to change to be more commensurate with the espoused values. Why the reason for this anomaly?


It’s interesting and valuable to take time out to reflect on values for our professional practice, but also for life. As society changes and challenges us, what are your values? 


As an aside, this was the first ESAI conference I attended – the end of the Easter break and teachers, academic staff and others gathered to listen, share and learn. One of the most over-riding feelings of the conference was of friendship and camaraderie. The conference was chaired by Dr Conor Galvin of UCD (), and throughout the few days I overheard his cheerful voice ensuring everyone was welcome – and that enthusiasm shone throughout.




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