Topic 2: Norms and values

Activity 1: The difference between norms and values


  • Values are that which is good, desirable, or worthwhile.
  • Values describe the personal qualities we choose to embody to guide our actions.
  • Values are basic and fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate attitudes or actions.
  • Personal values are personal beliefs about right and wrong and may or may not be considered moral.
  • Cultural values are values accepted by religions or societies and reflect what is important in each context.


  • Norms are standards.
  • Norms are shared expectations of acceptable behavior by groups.
  • Norms are rules or expectations that are socially enforced.
  • Norms may be constitutive norms (which define rules and expectations, for example “in soccer, players may not use their hands”, “this song is the national anthem”)
  • Norms may be prescriptive (encouraging positive behavior; for example, “be honest”).
  • Norms may be proscriptive (discouraging negative behavior; for example, “do not cheat”).


  • The ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behavior that one dislikes or disagrees with (Oxford Dictionary).
  • A fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one’s own (Random House Dictionary).
  • Respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance is harmony in difference. Tolerance contributes to the replacement of the culture of war by a culture of peace. (UNESCO).
  • I hate the word “tolerance.” Every time I hear someone say it. Either they believe they are superior, and they will “put up with you” despite the fact they think they are right or better; or they don’t understand the implications given when they use that word (A Muslim girl).

Norms or values

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Activity 2: How does it feel

About this activity

This activity is meant to explore the feelings you can experience when power is influencing your identity. We start with imagining we are a certain person. You can imagine that you are the person you are now, but you can also imagine that you are different from the one you are now.

Once you have defined who you are, you will be told about a specific situation you are in, and you will be asked how you would react on that situation.

All this will happen in the following quiz.

After we have done the quiz, we will discuss our reactions with the other participants.

Download the resource sheet “How does it feel?” to note your answers.