Testimonials from Australia
May 2009 Queensland Workshop Testimonials
This weekends workshop evaluation sheets came back with a 10 out of 10 on all categories and are the most enthusiastic and heartfelt evaluations I have yet to collate. ~ Wini (Office admin for Living Values)
"The enormous shift within my very being when a value has been explored and related to my real life experience, made this one of the most valuable workshops I have done." ~ Cheryl
"Since I did the workshop in Byron, I have been having a very profound experience; there are no words to explain. I feel very peaceful and free - like a child playing in kindergarten with no-expectations or judgments. It is what it is. Love always" ~ Harmony
"Words fall short of sharing the utter value of what Living Values does! Profound, positive, peaceful, fun, growth and change. Thank you!" ~ Eoin
"The simplicity of Living Values is just incredible. It allowed me to go to a greater depth in my own awareness and to be able to see and move through the blocks which have prevented me from really living". ~ Deb
"I enjoyed rating the values spontaneously, then redoing them with a lot more consideration and then noticing the changes. It made me very grateful for everything to realise how highly they all rated. The facilitators where wonderful and created a very loving and joyful atmosphere which allowed me to discover and open up more about myself.". ~ Pixie
"You enabled me to reach levels within that I have never previously had any awareness of. It was your unnervingly wise guidance that led me to the point of true understanding of the root of some of my habitual patterning.". ~ Robin
Poem from one of the Value exercises, Byron Bay April 2009
T’was a pretty tangle before Me that I saw, that morning as my Angels brought me to the door.
A group affixed by hands entwined, laughter expressed yet concern I did find.
Interwoven and interlocked they didn’t seem to have much chance, circling and clambering as if doing a dance.
Then I noticed a deeper mystery coming forth that day, as many of my Values were brought into play.
Co-operation was easily perceived and Unity too, while no one took the lead, yet all had a part to do.
Humility and Patience waited their turn, while Respect and Tolerance were fully earned.
Trust and Faith, my pillars of old upheld the sway, when confusion and doubt sought to challenge the play.
Joy besieged their moments as openness unfolded, and Love was fully present when nobody scolded.
I witnessed Compassion that knew no bounds, as Simplicity herself made everyone clowns.
It was a lesson well learned that Game I beheld, when all of My Values are embraced and upheld.
I smiled and I loved my children at play, as Father to all, I had only one thing to say….
That Intention and Allowance as Keys to My Kingdom, guarantee Happiness and infinite Freedom.
Success Stories and Testimonials from Educators
Testimonial from Jacqueline Stein Alia Secondary College - Melbourne Victoria
I have fifteen years teaching experience in secondary schools; Government and private; traditional and alternative; small and large scale; and in three different countries: Australia, UK, and Spain
My current school is Alia College where I project manage an innovative government initiative on Values Education based on LVE. Alia College is a small, private alternative school focusing on academic achievement. The students are aged between 12-18.
I initiated the introduction of discrete classes on Values Education at Alia the week following an LVE workshop held at Baxter retreat in May 2002. We started LVE with the students in years 9 and 10 then followed quickly in years 7 and 8.
Fortunately Alia was granted status as one of the 60 schools nation-wide to take part in an action-research project. This extra funding has allowed Alia to extend LVE into VCE (post 16 education) linking it into programmes such as Mind Matters and Community Service.
Alia's curriculum is fluid and open to change and development. Teachers are encouraged and supported in the introduction of courses, which they are passionate about. After the LVE workshop I was certainly passionate about the power of this work and understood that it does make a difference to the lives of young people. Since the introduction of LVE a number of teachers and parents have expressed interest in joining the lessons and embarking on training in the facilitation of LVE.
LVE is different because it works! I experienced changes in the relationships between students and teachers within 6 weeks. Students who were extremely resistant in the beginning were making suggestions as to how to improve the classroom atmosphere and even suggesting mediations that they had used at home. Students were getting insights into how they really felt about things separating raw emotion from feeling and then were given the tools to deal with issues. The 14-18 age group particularly appreciated conflict-resolution techniques. From a teaching perspective the books containing LVE are easily accessible, easy to follow and non-prescriptive. They can be used in part, as a whole course or interwoven throughout the curriculum. The support through materials and through the educator network is a further delight.
And finally what Ms. Stein's students say:
"Coming to values makes me feel happy, it changes my day because it has a quiet atmosphere. I feel good even if my classmates are grumpy because the atmosphere is loving and the teacher reflects happiness and love."
(Year 8 student)
"When I went into my values lesson at the end of last term I was feeling angry but at the end I felt peaceful."
(Year 8 student)
"I was surprised to discover that wisdom was one of my values."
(Year 7 student)
"It's not just that I like values classes I really enjoy them. At the start I was dead against values, I didn't feel like I got anything out of the class. I distracted people and didn't put in any effort. Then I thought for one lesson I would really contribute. That lesson changes the way I felt about values. I can relate to everything that we talk about. I find myself discovering things about myself that I never knew. Values class is really worthwhile. "
(Year 9 student)
"As a student-teacher returning to Alia the addition of Vales has, from my observations, produced some interesting outcomes. Not having been at Alia for about six weeks the change in attitude, and outlook, of certain students was immediately obvious. Perhaps it would be a little idealistic to attribute all changes to the Values program, but the focus of the program, is definitely making a positive impact. When students, or anyone for that matter, reflect on themselves, their environment and their actions/motivations they gain a deeper understanding of self and of others. The benefits from, and through, Values continues to amaze me -
A story from Karen Fryer, an educator with Pearcedal Primary School in Frankston, Australia.
I have been a teacher for 13 years, but I have only taught full time for 5 of those years. I was away on family leave for almost ten years when I returned full time. This is now my third full time year. I am a Grade one teacher at Pearcedale Primary School.
I went to the first Living Values Seminar primarily for my own personal development. My original thought, was that if it helped me with my teaching that would be an added bonus, but my focus was on my own well-being. As it turned out, the seminar provided me with tools for both my personal and professional life.
I had a very difficult grade last year, with 16 boys and 8 girls. Five of the boys had ADHD and when I arrived at the seminar, I was feeling very challenged as a teacher. I was constantly struggling with discipline and unruly behaviour and to be honest was almost ready to give up.
I felt truly inspired by the first Living Values Seminar and I embraced the ideals and "values" immediately. They were things that I already knew I believed and wanted to impart as a teacher. Teaching the 3 rs are important, but I always felt my duty was to do more, especially in this world we live in......
So, I was motivated and inspired to teach "living values" but I was not sure how. By the third day of the seminar, I made a firm decision that I would not try to do "it all", but I would introduce maybe one or two concepts as a starting point.
The first of these, was a little exercise that Adrian Stepnell (LVE Trainer) taught us. And this was a very simple 1 minute visualization telling the children they were silent stars. After a few days of this, I asked them to write about their experiences. The results amazed me. I also noticed the children were becoming quieter (perhaps from my more relaxed approach) and more responsive to me.
The second thing I was inspired by was the film about the French Kindergarten and the mime artist. I knew that I was not a mime artist, but I felt that I could do something that at least reflected this idea. I had a hand puppet teddy bear at school already and I named him Sebastian. The first time I introduced him, I just put him on my hand and I did not say a word. The children were looking and pointing and I would point to them (using Sebastian) and pointed to the floor. Eventually some of them got it and sat on the floor. I crossed Sebastian's legs and the children did the same and ultimately they all sat on the floor. I did not speak a word.....and the children were totally quiet waiting for me to do something. I pointed to them one by one using Sebastian and had Sebastian shake their hands. Some of the children (boys) wanted to be rough and I would pull Sebastian's paw back and shake his head. After a couple of times, they were more gentle. The second time I did this, I also had Sebastian give them a peck on the cheek. Eventually they would want a hug, a peck and a shake of the hand.
Also, whenever I sat with Sebastian, they new immediately to sit and wait and it was time to be silent. I personally could not believe the impact this one thing had on this grade. The children were captivated by this, especially the difficult ones.
I continued these two things for a whole term. In the last term, I introduced some of the lessons from the Living Values Book, particularly on peace and love. I also introduced the Happy Box (thank you to Shirley for this idea). This was a fantastic concept and some of the children went home and made their own happy boxes with their families.
I discussed this with the Welfare co-ordinator at our school and he was very interested and supportive of what I was trying to do within my classroom and invited me to be a part of the welfare team to help introduce "values teaching" across the whole school. I am going to take up this challenge in this coming year.
Living Values is different because it seems to me that it underpins all other welfare type programs. We had introduced Stop Think Do and You Can Do It and while I do not undervalue or denigrate those programs, I think they are very good. However, it seemed to me that we were not teaching children "why" they should do or be these things. Values education underpins these programs and gives a basis for why. Why do we "get along"? Because love, peace and happiness are important values we need to have ...etc.
It is also different in that, even with the very small changes I made, I had success. While the grade still had its difficulties and the children were still challenging, overall, I was gaining more from them by reinforcing these values. The Happy Box was particularly beneficial in this area. Just by asking the question, is that in our Happy Box? etc.....seemed to make them think more about what they were doing.
Finally, the major difference was in ME and my attitude to teaching. I was able to be calmer in my approach and so more effective. I was inspired to teach "values" and in that I had to live it. I grew to "love" the grade, when for the first two terms I was not liking them very much at all. I hope this does not sound awful, but it was the truth. I found the behaviour difficult and I was resenting the challenge, rather than finding a way around it. Living Values helped me to be a better person and so a better teacher.
Thank you for the opportunity to share this. I hope this has helped you.
A story from Shirley Lehmann, an educator at Seymour Primary School in Victoria, Australia.
I have been involved in education, including class teaching since 1969. I teach at Seymour Primary School [Victoria, Australia] in Prep, the first year of formal schooling.
I first started to use Living Values three years ago mainly to help me to close the gap between how I lived my life outside the working hours and how I managed the many things required of a teacher: especially in the social/emotional development of children.
The philosophy behind Living Values matched the way I wanted to relate to all people in my life, but especially to children directly under my care. I also found that I could apply many of the activities, and the values that they supported, in my role as parent.
Initially I simply began by monitoring my own approach to relationships. I found that the more I adopted the L.V. approach, the more able I became to manage potentially stressful situations. This applied to working directly with children in the classroom and in the yard as well as my relationships with colleagues and family members.
Before I attended training sessions, I introduced the Peace Unit and enjoyed the reactions of the class [at that time a grade 2]. We 'did Peace' for many weeks and discovered how much friendlier the class became. I was more peaceful and that flowed into everything I did.
After training sessions, I began to use the materials in a more systematic way: working through the Peace, Respect , Love and Responsibility units. As our school has programs in place which complement L.V. I linked several sets of ideas and activities into the L.V. materials.
Many parents were very impressed with the classroom atmosphere and the things that the children were discussing at home. They greatly supported what we were doing, including sending along ideas and material and coming to speak to the class. Articles in the class and whole school newsletters really assisted with generating interest anddiscussion.
I find the material extremely easy to read, digest and to implement. The main thing is to use them as a starting point to discover what the children know and to learn from them.
This year I am introducing the Peace Unit right from the start of the year and will introduce the units in the suggested sequence to see how we go. So far the children have responded so well and can see how much happier our class is when we put the ideas into practice. I find the materials to be the most positive and successful I have used when addressing the fact that, although we are one very special group, we are made up of very special people, and although each of us is very special, we also form a group which benefits from living the values that are so important to us.
A story from Shelia Gooding, an educator at St. Paul of the Cross, in Sydney, Australia.
St Paul of the Cross
Dulwich Hill, Sydney Australia
Classroom Teacher, Grade 2
- 40 years teaching experience
- Bilingual Primary Teacher -Overseas
- English-as-a-Second-Language Teacher, K-6
- Reading Recovery Teacher
- Classroom Teacher
In 2002 I had a challenging class of 26 students. I was desperate to find a program to teach them self-respect and co-operation. I used activities from different books with little success. However, my teaching strategies changed when I had attended a weekend course called Living Values between 14-16 June at Leura. I was excited about the course and the activities that Living Values offered. On 3-6 October, I did the second session of Living Values Education in Melbourne. I was inspired by other teachers who presented their units. The enthusiasm and change brought about was great.
In Term 3 my grade partner and I introduced the Living Values Unit. We started with Peace as suggested in Living Values Ages 8-14. This was followed by Respect. Our Peace song was from the Monica Brown CD - Peace Songs. We sang this song everyday. I also entered the class in the school Talent Quest which took the students into the finals. By Week 6 we were looking forward to Peace time. Baking a World Cake was integrated with the text type, Procedure. We started our Peaceful Star exercises with the idea of owning our own colourful star. We painted stars and wrote peaceful messages on it. I also read them Heart Songs by Mattie, and some of the children even wrote their own Peace poems. I read these poems before we went home and displayed them where I could. I used Conflict Resolution a few times and by December there was little need for it. I also skipped a few lessons but did most of the activities.
In Term 4 we started Respect which we integrated in our unit, Celebrations. The classes enjoyed the Stories-Lesson 24. I also introduced the book, 'Finding the Magic'. We made a magic box with some of their ideas: "I feel good when I am happy..." to the more positive, "We are sensational at counting". I had also introduced Greetings of the world in Term 2 and changed the greeting each week.
With the Celebrations Unit we learned about celebrations around the world such as Hanukkah, Ramadan, International Children's Day, Christmas. We read stories and looked for what we could learn from them. We read and researched great leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Mary MacKillop and Gandhi. Our motto was "Look smart, act smart and think smart!" The Attitude poem became a reminder when we forgot. We could take the class anywhere knowing that it will be a success.
These students are now in Year 3. They have made me rethink my own values and taught me some good lessons. I will continue this program. It will shoot off starlets in its own time, reaching others because of what the Living Values program brought to them.
It's now Term 1, 2003. I have a Year 2 class and I have introduced Respect to my class. I find that it keeps me in tune with the needs of the students. I recommend the program to others.