About VaKE

Prototypical course of a VaKEdis project

 Activity  Content  Grouping
0 Preparation: Clarification Student’s concept of values; relevant working skills Class
1 Presentation of the dilemma:
Brain storming: knowledge and values
Introduction, clarification of the content, first exchange of opinion: Where is the problem? What values are at stake? Class
2 Reflection/Proflection  What associations do I have with this dilemma? What opinion do I have? Why do I think this? What values are at stake? Individual
3 First decision  Who is in favor, who against a certain solution? Who cannot decide? Class
4 First dilemma discussion  Why am I in favor or against? Why are you in favor or against? Where do we agree? Class or groups
5 Reflection/Proflection  How do I think now about the problem? What opinion do I have now? What questions do I have? Individual
6 Exchange about experiences
and need for information
What are the strong arguments? What information do I need for my argumentation? Groups
7 Looking for information Collect all information that you need! Use all information source available! Groups or individual
8 Exchange of information Inform your group about new facts. Is this information sufficient? Groups
9 Synthesis of information Present the information to the class. Class
10 Reflection/Proflection How do I think now about the problem? What opinion do I have now? What questions do I have? Individual
11 Second decision Who is in favor, who against a certain solution? Who cannot decide? Class
12 Second dilemma discussion Why am I in favor or against? Why are you in favor or against? Where do we agree? Class
13 Repetition of steps 5 through 12
Change of perspective is useful
Repeat the process form another standpoint (as often as feasible and necessary) Class/groups/individual
14 Reflection/Proflection How do I think now about the problem? What opinion do I have now? What questions do I have? Individual
15 General synthesis Finalizing the process and summary (best with a project) Class
16 Generalization and transfer Feedback about the process; discussion about similar topics and problems Class

Here you can find a PDF of the VaKEdis-course: VaKEdis Englisch

A VaKE-class consists of 16 steps plus a preparation/clarification step 0. In the first four steps a discussion of a value conflict (pro-con-discussion that is dilemma discussion) takes place alternatively in class and small groups.

The moral conflict (the dilemma) contains a problem by which one choose between two possible options. They are designed in a way that requires learners to obtain additional knowledge in order to come to a satisfactory solution. Learners review their knowledge for viability and make so-called viability-checks.

The learners construct the additional knowledge by themselves in the steps 5 to 8, before the second pro-con-discussion is carried out (steps 11 and 12). If the learners need more information for their argumentations, it is possible to repeat one or multiple phases of knowledge construction and argumentation (step 13). In the steps 2, 5, 10 and 14 the self-reflection of the single learner is focused upon. The presentation of the findings and the application of the learned knowledge (steps 15 and 16) conclude the VaKE-class.

Aims of VaKE

  • Applicable knowledge 

    Learners understand what they have learned, and are able to apply their knowledge to new situations. The intensive debate of a subject matter and the construction of linked (interdisciplinary) knowledge are in the foreground.

  • Development of understanding of values and their implementation in concrete situations 

    In the discussion of concrete problem situations (values conflict) learners grapple with different perceptions of values. In that way they reach a higher level of value understanding and learn strategies in order to be able to solve moral problems. Their solution statements are used in the common discussion.

  • Critical thinking

    Learners grapple with different standpoints to a problem. They learn to discuss solution statements and perceptions with each other and also to challenge them rather than simply adopting them.

  • Autonomous learning

    Learners can work independently and organize the information relevant for them and integrate it in existing concepts. Furthermore they learn to plan and supervise their learning process, to assess themselves and to react appropriately based on the outcomes of their self-assessment.

  • Problem solving competence

    Learners acquire the necessary skills and knowledge in order to apply the learned subject matter to any given problem, to formulate hypotheses, to weigh up the alternatives and consequences of their approach to a problem, etc. In doing so they end up with a self-contained solution that is considered adequate by all participants.

  • Ability to work in a team

    Learners are able to take responsibility for each other and others in a team in a fear-free atmosphere. On the one hand they introduce their ideas into the team and provide their knowledge. On the other hand they learn active listening, to make compromises, to bring up conflicts, to mediate, to ensure that everybody in the team participates and to provide solutions. In doing so the emphasis is placed on arguments and not on the person presenting them; gender, origin, social position etc. are irrelevant.

  • Discussion and argumentation ability

    Learners learn to stick to the declared discussion rules and to play a constructive part in the discussion. Further they acquire the ability to formulate convincing arguments, which are based on funded facts, analogies and samples.