Rationale Building Model of Value Education

James Shaver (1976) created the Rationale Building Approach, a jurisprudential model of moral instruction. Although this paradigm clarifies the several aspects of morality—judging, treating, and acting—it focuses primarily on the area of judgment. It can serve as a roadmap for educators who desire to implement a unique program of moral instruction in their classrooms.

Shaver’s proposed framework is connected to the function of critical reflection on the parts of both instructors and students in moral education rather than offering recommendations. Shaver’s model’s theoretical foundation is divided into three sections: 

  •  identifying a value, 
  • describing the nature of democracy, and
  • examining the role of moral instruction in a democracy.


Values, in Shaver’s view, are guidelines and criteria for determining significance. They are standards by which we determine whether certain elements (individuals, objects, concepts, activities, and circumstances) are acceptable, worthwhile, or acceptable, or, on the other hand, if they are terrible, meaningless, or fall somewhere in between. Shaver’s three main components make for an assessment of what Shaver terms values. Here are some of them:

  • Values can be defined, examined, and contrasted with other standards since they  are concepts rather than sensations. For example, accountability is a value by which we assess our own and other people’s deeds.
  • That worth already exists in the mind without reference to us or our knowledge. These could be at work underneath conscious decision-making and outward behavior.  For instance, even though an individual has never taken the decision to work hard, a guy may admire hard labor.
  • Values are not absolute classifications; they are multifaceted. They seldom define someone as fully irresponsible or totally lazy, for instance. Among the two extremes of a value, which are simply perfect ideals, there is always a continuum.

value and value judgement

Shaver differentiates between an opinion and a value. He defined value judgments as statements we make based on our values. Values are justifications, not declarations. We are passing judgment on their moral character. The judgment may be supported by patriarchal ideals, societal order, or an appreciation for institutional authority.

Values need to be considered in connection to other values as well as a specific judgment on a certain value. They should not be viewed as independent units, but rather as interconnected pieces of a larger value network. They are interconnected; one value affects the other. We could appreciate equality and liberty, for instance. To the greatest extent possible, we should encourage personal independence and freedom.

Contrarily, the principle of equality motivates us to ensure that every person has the same, legitimate access to public assets. Occasionally, in order to uphold the promise of equality, we may have to compromise on the concept of liberty. For instance, we think that even if the affluent argue that this restricts their economic freedom, they should pay more in taxes than the poor. Alternatively, we may declare that, despite the possibility of limiting the freedom of the normal person, those who are socially excluded should receive preferential treatment.


According to Shaver, values might be moral, practical, or aesthetic. It  defines beauty in terms of aesthetic values. Nevertheless, since these judgments are separate from moral ones, we shouldn’t mistakenly attribute moral or virtue to aesthetic ideas. Similar to how moral values and instrumental values are independent and different, outcome expectations are goals designed to meet other goals. For example, guidelines for discipline, focus, dependability, etc. are preserved as tools for good learning rather than as ends in and of themselves. They serve as a middle standard to protect more important goals.

Natures of democracy:

As per Shaver, the fundamental moral principle that upholds democracy is the principle of human dignity, which states that each and every human being deserves respect since they are valuable as ends in themselves. Without regard to one’s money, colour, sex, gender, or physical or mental capacity, every person deserves attention just because of his or her humanness.

Since all people are reasonable and so have the right to autonomous decision-making, the concept of dignity includes the flexibility to make crucial decisions as well as the right to self-determination.

Moral Education in democracy:

Considering democracy, by definition, values human dignity—that is, seeing the person as a goal in and of themselves—teachers are required to encourage pupils’ logical thinking and self-determination. The teacher’s level items are to support pupils in becoming independent thinkers by fostering their development of free choice. The instructor cannot, of course, force anything on the kids. In this approach, education will serve the essential goal of fostering genius, or the capacity for independent, logical thought. The instructor should work to ensure that the kids internalize democratic principles.


Although Shaver opposes a direct and focused system of moral education, he offers some fundamental suggestions for teaching or directing kids in this approach. These factors include:

  1. identification and clarification of values: 
  2. label generalization 
  3. value conflict analysis and 
  4. qualified decision-making. 
  1. Identification and clarification of values: Nearly all of us encounter conflict between ideals and practical ideals in daily life. Although we might choose one over the other in theory, in practice we tend to be more pragmatic. For instance, even though we may theoretically engage in equality before the law, we often give our close relatives or friends particular regard. However, because values are dimensional classifications, they must be explained and investigated in actual decision-making contexts in order to be applied.
  2. Label generalization: it is what Shaver refers to as placing moral standards in the context of principles. When an adult tries to quiet a youngster, the child could respond, “I have a right to do what I want.” as an example. The virtue she is referring to in this instance is what is often known as “freedom of expression.”
  3. Value conflict analysis: When passing judgment, we frequently encounter a value conflict. It is an instance when two or more values are vying for attention. For instance, you could support the dominant part principle, but you still need to defend the rights of the minority. Moral conundrums arise in real-world circumstances. The instructor must create these conundrums in the classroom through open debate. Shaver advises the use of analogies to resolve more complex conundrums. They might assist in making logical decisions.
  4. Qualped decision-making:  Shaver means “one that takes into account the possible negative consequences of an action to be supported and the circumstances under which one can support a different value.” In most conflict situations, judgment cannot be made simply or categorically. Thus, finding standards or guidelines by which to discern between two circumstances marked by divergent values is necessary.