Six Core Values for Who We Are and How We Learn

At the end of my last post, Elements of Culture, I wrote how Culture and Values overlap but are still distinct layers with distinct purposes in this model. In this post, I am exploring the Six Core Values in my model for who we are and how we learn beyond the Self-Directed Schooling environment.


This article looks at Values as ideals, or standards of behavior. The key takeaway here is how Values are ideals for behaviors, not behaviors themselves - they are concepts to be pursued rather than specific behaviors to be practiced.

For example, a person who exhibits “respectful” behaviors in one context might wish to apply those exact same behaviors in a different context to exhibit that same “Respect”. Yet, such behaviors do not always translate across contexts and situations in this way. Instead, there is often something deeper to this concept of "respect" that allows us to adapt our behaviors in ways that can be perceived as respectful (more often than not).

This article explores how behaviors are guided and shaped by Six Values:

  • Respect

  • Responsibility

  • Fairness

  • Community

  • Trust

  • Integrity


There are many words people use to describe desired traits, or attributes, or other aspects of social and emotional character development, but those are not Values. A trait or attribute describes what a person is, is not, or is to some degree; it might even be a desirable trait a person wants to develop. The distinction is in perceiving what is (e.g., traits) versus what o