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Teachers and Students as Co-Learners

Toward a Mutual Value Theory


Dengting Boyanton

Teaching is hard. Many teachers find it stressful. New teachers often lose their enthusiasm. The special education population is skyrocketing. Students are losing their motivation. What has gone wrong? How can we create powerful learning in students? Most importantly, how can we bring joy back to the classroom? Mutual value theory, as developed by Dengting Boyanton, asserts that to generate powerful learning, four essential values must be instilled in both students and teachers:
1. self-value – both students and teachers value themselves highly
2. perceived self-value—both consider themselves to be highly valued by others
3. other-value – both value each other highly
4. course-value – both value the course highly
Since 2007, the author has applied this theory to her classroom teaching and has received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Students describe her courses as motivating, engaging, enjoyable, respectful, and empowering. Based on both theory and personal teaching experiences, Teachers and Students as Co-Learners: Toward a Mutual Value Theory will help readers develop a deeper understanding of learning, re-ignite their enthusiasm, and, most importantly, create powerful teaching and learning in the classroom.
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Chapter 2. Value


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. 2 .


Meaning of Value

Value is an essential attribute with any learning factor and, as mentioned earlier, each participant in the classroom setting (both student and teacher) functions both as a valuer who assigns values to other people or objects and as a valuee who is subject to such value judgment. What does “value” mean in this context? It is the evaluation assigned to certain qualities of self or others. In general, this evaluation covers three aspects: positivity (e.g., is this quality positive?), acceptability (e.g., is this quality acceptable?), and significance (e.g., is this quality significant?). “Significant” here means the valuer thinks highly of certain qualities and views them as favorable. Based on the valuer’s evaluation results in these three areas, the assigned value can vary across three different levels: to deny, to accept, and to appreciate (Table 2.1).

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