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Singapore
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Kana Gopal
Association for Living Values Education, Singapore

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Current Status – July 2009
LVAYO in Singapore …
A report about our work with young offenders through
Living Values Activities for Young Offenders.

"I dare to dream again" ... J

"LVAYO has built up my confidence and made me believe in myself" ... E

"I have learned to make the right choices. Now, I have self respect" ... A

"Now, when I am angry, I go to the "Bubble" to remain peaceful. I have become a peace-maker and I think before I talk or act. I apply the skill of "I feel" when I am upset with others. Although it sounded funny to people initially, I tried it several times and had success getting my message across. My favourite value is respect because when I give respect I gain respect" ...  F

This is only a sampling of the feedback from the Living Values Activities for Young Offender (LVAYO) gradates. The feelings they leave the sessions with are of being accepted, respected and valued, an atmosphere that is created by competent trainers, who pay attention to their values and live their values.

The program is now into the 1st phase and offered to 90 young men or all of the low and moderate risk young offenders at the HU3 housing centre of the Reformative Training Centre (RTC) in Changi Prison, Cluster "A". The last two batches should complete their basic course of 12 three-hour lessons on peace and respect by December this year.

Plans are now being put in place for next year's trainings and for training the officers who deal with the boys.

LVAYO took off at HU3, RTC in Oct 2006, after months of meetings, intense trainings for facilitators/trainers and original materials written by Diane Tillman, international coordinator for content for Living Values Education, and a very experienced Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Educational Psychologist.

From October 2006 – December 2007 was the pilot phase where 28 boys aged 17 – 20 years attended a basic course.They were all volunteers, who had the privilege of opting in after a briefing by the LVAYO facilitators and Jason Wong, who initiated the course and acted as a bridge between the LVAYO team and the prison.

They were put into two different groups – 11 under the team led by Kana Gopal and facilitators Seng Nan, Jonathan and Liang Chian, and 17 under the team led by Rosa Tham and facilitators Uma, Seok Cheng, Lay Cheng, Chin Peh, Teresa and Stan. The facilitators, from the education and counselling fields attended intense training from May till September 2006 and most of them shared that they learnt to be peaceful as a result of those trainings. Most of them went into the program with love for the boys.

Since this was an experimental phase 21 lessons were required for one group and 25 for another. The duration of the lesson ranged from 2 – 3 hours, depending on the need.

The cooperation received from HU3 under the charge of ASP Shahril Ghani was incredible during this phase. He shared with Kana and Rosa that he noticed two qualities about the Living Values Education boys. 1.) They had respect for the officers and their peers. 2.) They were cooperative among themselves and their cellmates. This was rare in a place where gangs were rampant. One of the LVAYO boys cared for his cellmate who attempted to hurt himself by hitting his head against the wall. The boys' love and care caught the attention of the officer and counsellors at the prison.

The completion of the basic course was followed by a graduation ceremony where the boys from one group astounded everyone with an original skit with original songs and clever props made only from newspaper and masking tape. The script, direction and every bit of work was done by the boys. Working with the absolute minimum, they managed transitions with powerpoint slides. Looks like adversity is the mother of invention!

One boy volunteered to do Values posters to decorate the wall of the room where the ceremony was held.

The boys who completed the course were presented with certificates of attendance. Three boys were awarded another certificate called Living the Values certificates. To qualify for this they had to be nominated by all their facilitators and officers as having lived the values that they learnt.

Then a support group session was run for those who opted for it and were found suitable through an interview conducted by Kana and Rosa. Ten boys were selected for the support groups which were conducted weekly and addressed other values starting with love. Tolerance, honesty, and freedom were some of the other values covered. Some other skills needed for life such as learning styles and personality test assessments were also conducted during this phase.

Based on the feedback from the trial sessions, the Singapore Prisons decided to extend LVAYO to all low and moderate risk boys from May 2008. The basic sessions were however parred down to 12 sessions of three hours and 6 support groups to meet the needs of the prison's rehabilitation schedule. There are a total of 6 batches and each batch comprises 15 boys. Three facilitators conduct each session and they comprise one male counsellor, one female counsellor and an educator to meet the emotional needs of the boys.

The program is now considered a vendorship, meaning all LVAYO trainers are now paid a non-market rate fee for doing the work.

A pre- and post evaluation is conducted with a help of a questionnaire to determine the shift in the boys. A noticeable change in the boys has been observed by the trainers around the tenth lesson with regards to participation, trust, openness and respect towards the trainers and within themselves. There is also an increasing tendency to reflect on their aspirations and what they need to work on themselves to achieve their dreams or to keep away from illegal activities.

The LVAYO team is still fine-tuning the program to meet the needs of the boys and to achieve zero recidivism by sending out young men with peace and self respect into the world.


July 2002
  • At least 2 schools are using LVEP school-wide and a few others are experimenting with LVEP activities
  • 10 Educator trainings since June 2000
  • 1 TTT
  • 1 Parent Facilitators Workshop 
  •  More than 65 childcare centers, primary and secondary schools served
  •  More than 250 educators, trainers have attended the Educators' Training
Number of Sites Using Living Values Education
Total number of sites 6 


Schools and Social Organizations Using LVEP
Currently at least two schools are using the Living Values Education programme school-wide to enhance their life skills and character building programmes. Both Haig Girls School and Bukit Merah Secondary started using LVEP this year.

Haig Girls School

In Haig Girls School, a primary school of about 1200 students, the 12 values of LVEP will be covered school-wide over three years. 

In 2002      Peace, Respect, Honesty and Responsibility

In 2003      Love, Cooperation, Happiness and Humility

In 2004      Tolerance, Simplicity, Freedom and Unity  

Since there are four terms in a year, the school focuses on one value per term. They began with Peace in January, Respect in late March and have embarked on Honesty this term, which began on June 24. 

Students perform skits on the value of the term during assembly and teachers reinforce the value during pastoral care lessons in the classroom. Wherever there is an opportunity, teachers also reinforce the value of the term during other lessons and contact points. Some teachers, like Discipline Master Ms. Shirleen Chin, squeeze in short sessions of reflection, visualization and story telling between lessons. Ms Chins primary five students said they were relaxed after those short sessions and looked forward to them. 

The school also presents a Living Values certificate to pupils who apply the value. 

Haig Girls is the only school in Singapore where the principal, vice-principal, office staff and all teachers have attended the LVEP training.

Bukit Merah Secondary School

Enthused by their educator training in Adelaide, three teachers from Bukit Merah Secondary School, with the co-operation of their principal, have introduced values  

including Peace, Respect and Responsibility for the whole school.  

LVEP activities are used together with life skills and character enrichment materials from the Ministry of Education during pastoral care lessons to impart the values to the students. 

Ms. Sew Say Geok, one of the three teachers responsible for introducing LVEP in Bukit Merah,  says she has seen the self esteem of her students improve as a result of using the programme.

Raffles Girls Secondary Schools Integrated Approach

One of Singapore's premier schools, Raffles Girls Secondary School, is embarking on integrating values in all facets of its students lives. Starting in January, 2003, all students in Secondary One will experience a school life where values are infused into their curriculum, co-curriculum and extra-mural activities. 

The students in 14 classes will be divided into clusters of five, five and four classes with a pool of  LVEP-trained teachers being responsible for teaching each cluster. Each cluster will adopt a few values which support the schools values or the 4Ps, that is

  • People-centred
  • Professionalism
  • Principled
  • Passion 

One cluster has selected Respect and Responsibility and designed the strategy of implementation as well, while the other two clusters are putting their plans together. The results of next year's efforts will be evaluated at the end of the year, says Vice-Principal Shirley Tan, to refine the process.

The 2003 batch of Secondary One students will continue with their values-based learning approach in a conducive environment, as the school inducts all new students to this approach.

In 2006, the whole school will have adopted a values-based approach to creating a learning environment.   

Other Schools

Other schools in Singapore including two primary schools Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) Katong Primary School and Telok Kurau Primary School are experimenting with values activities from the LVEP Activity Books. CHIJ Katong plans to introduce LVEP school-wide in the near future. 

SINDA and AWWA

A self help group for Singapore Indians Singapore Indians Development Association or SINDA has incorporated activities on Respect from the Activity Book for 8 14 year olds in the syllabus of Project Victory. Project Victory (PV) is a school-based programme to help improve the behaviour and hence academic ability of Indian children aged 9 12 and who exhibit non-acceptable behaviour in class. The first batch of PV facilitators have undergone the LVEP educator training.

A volunteer teacher in another social organisation, Asian Women's Welfare Association or AWWA, has started using some of the activities to help academically weak students. 

AWWA looks into a range of community interests ranging from disabled children to parenting programmes. There are plans to conduct LVEP educator trainings for AWWA volunteers.

Training and Workshops for Educators, Trainers, Parents and Parent Facilitators

Since June 2000, 10 educator trainings have been conducted - the 10th   from July 1 to July 3. In all, 250 educators in about 65 schools and childcare centers here have been introduced to LVEP through these trainings.

Through these sessions, word about the programme is spreading.  Two years ago, the International Content Coordinator, Diane Tillman, helped kick-start the project in Singapore with introductory talks, a public programme on parenting, parenting workshops, and several mini-workshops for interested principals, heads of pastoral care. 

We started slow that year with two Educator workshops; then two more in 2001. This year the number increased we have conducted six educator trainings, a Train-the-Trainer seminar (TTT) and a Parent Facilitator Workshop by July. There are requests for more. 

The class size has also increased from as few as 6 participants to 65 a session. For the July 1 to July 3 educator training, we conducted two LVEP introductory sessions for 75 persons, less than two weeks before the event and yet received applications from 45 participants.  

International LVEP trainers Ruth Liddle, Sue Emery and Shahida Samad have led  seven of  the educator training sessions. The others were led by national lead trainers Kana Gopal and Rosa Tham. Ruth developed and conducted the two-day TTT for those who've gone through an Educator Training. Sue Emery was responsible for most of the two-day LVEP Parent Facilitator Workshop, the first in the world. 

A small pool of internationally and locally trained Singaporean LVEP trainers now help to co-train and facilitate at the educator training sessions.

Adelaide Educator Training Participants and Their Impact

The momentum picked up tremendously this year after a group of 28 Singapore teachers returned from the educator training in Adelaide in mid-2001. One participant  - the deputy principal of CHIJ Katong ' has become a co-creator for LVEP. She organised an educator workshop for primary schools where Ruth was the lead trainer. 

On June 18, she put together a session to introduce LVEP to primary school principals, vice principals and heads of departments. About 50 attended, more than half of them principals and vice-principals. 

Three teachers from Bukit Merah Secondary School have managed to introduce values school-wide after that trip. 

(See Reports below. LVEP Educators' Training in Adelaide, Australia by Rosa Tham and Report on Values Education Seminar held in Adelaide, Australia from 17TH July - 20TH July 2001 by Sylvia Liew)

First Singapore Train-the-Trainers Workshop

The first Singapore Train-the-Trainers workshop was help in February. Attending the session were 22 educators, who had completed their educators' training locally, in Vietnam and Australia (Adelaide). The session was developed and conducted by Ruth Liddle. 

Two co-trainers emerged from that session and they assisted with the next training with Sue Emery, just three weeks later. One of them, Ms Elsie Tan, who did her educator training in Vietnam, is heading for Cambodia to work and assist with LVEP work in Indo China. 

LVEP History Making 2-day Parent Facilitators Training

In March, Sue Emery organized a two-day Parent Facilitators' Training a first for LVEP worldwide. Fifteen participants including a few of the trainer-trainers attended.

All the participants benefited particularly from the process and Sue's generous sharing from her personal life.

Sustenance for Trainer Trainers & Parent Facilitators 

In March, the first session for sustaining trainer-trainers kicked off with Sue Emery sharing tips on identifying learning styles, multiple intelligences and personality tests. 

The next session in May focused on Creative Visualization (CV) and writing CV commentaries and a lesson on Humility from the Young Adults Activity Book by one of the trainer-trainers. 

More of such sessions have been scheduled at six to eight week intervals for the trainer-trainers and parent facilitators. The sessions lasting three hours on a Sunday afternoon (including tea) are meant to rekindle the magic of LVEP, help the participants pick up new skills relevant to LVEP and practice peer teaching. 

Workshop for Employers of Maids/Heads of Maid Agencies

In May 2000, Diane Tillman conducted a three-hour workshop for 15 Employers of Maids and Heads of Maid Agencies on how employers could train their maids to be better caregivers by modeling the behaviour. 

A representative from the Sri Lankan Embassy, who was invited to attend the session, felt such training would improve employer-employee relationships tremendously. She requested for such training for employers of Sri Lankan maids but  the LVEP team in Singapore had to put that on hold as priority was to create values-based schools and provide relevant training and support in that area. 

During a separate meeting former Nominated Member of Parliament also requested Diane to train trainers of caregivers and maids to ensure quality care of Singaporean children. 

The demand for such service needs to be filled in Singapore.

Community Services

In April, 2002,  Kana Gopal ran a series of five parent workshops in Tamil for the employees of Singapore's ministry of the environment, comprising of many who were illiterate. Moreover, each session roughly comprised of a mixed group of newly weds, parents of young children, parents of teenagers, grandparents and single parents. 

Contrary to her concern that the three-half days workshop may be perceived as too deep, most of the some 200 participants were able to appreciate the need for a family culture, based on their values.
The feedback was that the sessions 

  • Helped them revisit their values 
  • Reinforced the importance of living their values
  • Reaffirmed their style of parenting
  • Made them feel valued as the facilitator showed regard and involved them in the dialogue 
  • Helped them learn skills such as active listening  and conflict resolution  

The sessions have given Kana the confidence to conduct LVEP educator trainings in Tamil, as there have been requests for them. 

Prior to these sessions, two sessions of parenting programmes were conducted for a grassroots organisation by Rosa Tham and Kana in English.  

The first session, held last year, saw more than 120 parents and children. While the parents picked up parenting skills, the children learnt more about communicating with their parents. When they came together, parents and children affirmed each others in a magical moment. 

The second session, this year, focused on about 30 parents and children, who went through the session together picking up skills in conflict resolution and how to be a peaceful family.  

Marketing LVEP

Diane's marketing efforts in October, 1999 and May, 2000, opened several doors for LVEP including an invitation to conduct an educators' training in Raffles Girls Secondary School.

The next one was on June 17 & 18, 2002. International LVEP trainer and Co-ordinator for Seoul, Ruth Liddle, conducted two introductory talks to 50 principals/ heads of depts and pastoral care teachers and to 26 heads / volunteers of help organisations that look after marginalised children or children who require before and after school care, etc. The women's prison director also attended to see how LVEP could be used to help prisoners, who are youths. The participants felt that LVEP was practical. They responded by enrolling themselves or sending their representatives to the next LVEP educator training from July 1 to July 3. 

Ruth was also invited at one of the sessions to give an introductory talk to officers of the Legal Aid Bureau, whose portfolio also includes handling severe marital conflict among the lower income group people. 

Brief background
LVEP's Singapore Co-ordinating Arm

Living Values Educational Services (LiVES) is the co-ordinating arm for Living Values: an Educational Program (LVEP) in Singapore. 

It was set up as a partnership on 18 January, 2000 to deal with all aspects of LVEP. The firm focuses only on co-ordinating trainings for the LVEP. 

The Directors of LiVES, Rosa Tham and Kana Gopal are also LVEP national lead trainers. Kana is the National Co-ordinator for Singapore as well. 

LiVES contact:

Contact Person:   Rosa Tham

Email:                 lvepsgpr@singnet.com.sg

Tel:                     65 6775 2626 

                          If urgent, call Kana Gopal on HP 65 9456 5494

Fax:                    65 6777 4626

Future Directions of LVEP in Singapore

There are requests for more trainings in English and Mandarin. Rosa Tham will take charge of the educator trainings in Mandarin and plans to conduct one in September with help from Mandarin speaking trainers from Beijing.

Several teachers have also suggested that LVEP should be taught as a module at the National Institute of Education. One of the trainer-trainers is working on this proposal. 

Report on LVEP Educators' Training in Adelaide, Australia
by Rosa Tham, who joined the Singapore educators

On Tuesday 17 July 2001, in the Wattle Room of Balayana Conference Centre, Adelaide, 58 educators, in groups of 6-7 people, swapped recipes. In the midst of laughter, happiness and camaraderie they shared their world cake recipes that could bring peace and love to the whole world. The groups drew pictures of round cakes, multi-layered cakes topped with icing, etc with ingredients such as happiness, peace, love, respect, tolerance, unity, oneness, responsibility, joy and humour. While the peace value activity was designed for children aged 3-7 years, those educators experienced the activity to be just as relevant to them. 

International LVEP trainer Ruth Liddle led the four-day non-residential Educators' Training workshop, that was partly sponsored by the Asia-Pacific Network of International Educators and Values Educators (APNIEVE). Twenty eight educators from Singapore joined their counterpart to learn how to create and sustain a values-based classroom environment using teaching methods that would enable their students to feel safe, loved, respected, understood and valued.

Ruth and her co-trainer brought the participants through the peace, respect and freedom values activities using a variety of teaching methods such as visualization, reflection, discussion, expression like drawing, story-telling, and values-based songs. Each participant explored and gained insights into their own understanding of those values. A few educators felt they needed to appreciate and understand what those values meant to them before they could teach them. The participants found how easy it was to use the manuals to teach the 12 values.  

Participants also experimented with active listening and conflict resolution skills. In particular, the educators felt that the conflict resolution method helped students to be truthful without fearing punishment. The methodology shifted the power balance from the teachers to the "warring" students themselves. It enabled the students to be responsible for solving conflicts with their classmates. One educator felt that this shift in ownership and responsibility would have a profound impact on discipline and on society as a whole. 

On the last day, the educators commended Ruth's teaching style as values-based, that she "walked her talk". She was fully present with the participants' needs and fulfilled their "wish" by adjusting the programme schedule to allow educators more time for sharing their teaching experiences and to network. She included ideas from the participants, encouraged discussion and sharing of experiences during the plenary sessions, thus enriching the learning. Co-trainer Sally's warm, quiet, calm and gentle manner was personable and participants approached her for advice on their classroom problems. The mix of Australian and Singaporean nationalities and different teaching environments enabled the educators to learn different ways to deliver lessons. All participants said they would like to implement living values in their schools. Singapore educators were encouraged to implement the LVEP programme one step at a time in their schools.

Throughout the workshop, participants' spirits were high. At the certificate presentation ceremony, the educators said that the workshop was "fantastic", "wonderful", "terrific", "marvellous" and "great". The superlatives were apt expressions of a successful and enriching LVEP Educators' Training workshop.

 

Report on Values Education Seminar Held in Adelaide, Australia from 17th July - 20th July 2001
Submitted by Mrs Sylvia Liew, Vice-Principal, CHIJ Katong Primary, E7 Cluster

Introduction

Three Vice Principals and 25 teachers from three cluster schools - E4, E7 and S5 were selected to attend a training workshop on Living Values: An Educational Programme Seminar at Adelaide, Australia from 17th - 20th July 2001. The 4 day intensive programme was conducted by international programme facilitator Ms Ruth Liddle.

Objectives

The objectives of the training workshop were to

  • help participants become acquainted with the Living Values framework, within which values-based learning can be implemented
  • explore skills to create a values-based atmosphere or ethos
  • explore ways in which values can be expressed and modelled
  • explore how educators can integrate Living Values into existing programmes e.g. CME, Pastoral Care, Ethics
  • network with other educators committed to positive self-development of children and prepare them for life long learning  

 Activities Conducted and Evaluation

The history and the overview of LVEP were explained to participants before they attempted a definition of values in groups. Each participant was taken through a self-reflection process on value awareness. They explored the values they would model in class as a teacher and how to create a values-based atmosphere. 

Ruth Liddle drew a mindmap to summarize the variety of values activities before embarking on values activities, processing the experience and sharing ideas. 

1.       Imagining 

A few values units ask children to imagine. For example, students are asked to imagine a peaceful world or a happy world and share their experiences or draw or paint a picture. This imagination or visualization exercise makes the values more relevant to students as they find a place from within where they experience that quality and create ideas they know are their own.

In Singapore most of our children are not accustomed to using this right brain activity. Therefore, it would be a good activity to introduce.

2.       Reflection Points 

These are at the beginning of every value unit and are incorporated in the lessons: 

For children between the ages of 3-7, a reflection point in the unit on Respect could be: Respect is knowing I am unique and valuable or Respect is knowing others are valuable too.

For the 8-14,  Respect would be: Everyone in the world has the right to live with respect and dignity, including myself.

Although this aspect of the programme is useful, many of us feel that it is similar to the current Pastoral Care syllabus.

3.       Quietly Being/Relaxation/Focusing Exercises

Children, very often, do not like to be quiet because it means their fun is being curtailed. In the unit on Peace, children 3-7 will listen to a story about Peace Stars while they are being silent and peaceful like stars.  For children 8 - 14 they go through a relaxation exercise. Participants were told to imagine a peaceful world and worked on two exercises - Baking a World Cake of human qualities and characteristics that would lead to a better world and What Would Constitute a Peaceful World.  In the latter exercise, participants within a group had to work/draw in silence without criticism or comment. All groups had to list 10 items that they would like to put in a time capsule to show the future what comprised a peaceful world. Singapore children would need to be trained for this aspect of the programme that may be uncomfortable initially.

4.       Social Skills

Active Listening : Participants had to do a role play in groups of three and take on the roles of listener, talker and observer.  This activity was familiar to us because we had encountered it in Basic Counselling Skills Workshop. 

Conflict Resolution was another skill that was taught in the values units and this was demonstrated in role play among the groups. Some of the participants had gone through such an activity in their counselling modules.

Praise :We were also made aware that learning to give praise when the situation calls for it always leaves a positive feeling within the receiving person.  Culturally, in Singapore, we stint on praise.  We were reminded that the praise given must be genuine.

5.   Lesson Planning 

This aspect of the seminar was much appreciated by all participants. The practical hands-on sessions proved invaluable to participants and there was much teamwork, collaboration on lesson planning and participation in lessons

We went through a value-based lesson for different age groups - for 3-7, 8-14 and Young Adults on Respect.  Thereafter, each age group planned lessons for the following values on Responsibility, Happiness and Inner Freedom.  There was practical teaching by the various groups and this was followed by review and evaluation. The activities that were deployed for most of the lessons were:  sharing/discussion, singing or playing a song, relaxation/focusing exercise, reading a story selection from a book, imagination/visualization exercise, artistic expression (where students are encouraged to reflect about values and experience these artistically and creatively through the arts) creative or reflective writing, or self-development activities (where students explore the value in relation to themselves or build skills in relation to the value) . Social skills are also taught and students are encouraged, through cognitive awareness of social justice, to look at the effect of an individual's actions on others and at how individuals can make a difference.

6.   Focus Group Discussion

There were discussion groups to elicit views on the following:

  • Integrating LVEP into civics or religion
  • Discipline and Children at Risk
  • Ideology Beyond the Classroom
  • School Model for Implementing Living Values in New Zealand  

This was a weak area in the seminar as it was not well planned and not all participants were well prepared to discuss the topics in depth expressed on how to handle discipline.

7.   Sharing

Participants viewed a documentary on schools in Kuwait, India, Johannesburg, UK, Mauritius and Kenya that have implemented LVEP.

We were also given various other resources e.g. websites to connect us to information, programmes and activities for LVEP.

A very important part of the programme was evaluation and participants were Conclusion

We all agreed that the seminar brought about a diversity of experiences, made us all more aware of the varying perceptions of values, built relationships and teamwork during the experiential learning, boosted communication with our Australian counterparts and gave us invaluable insights and interesting activities that we can deploy should we decide to implement the programme in Singapore

However, each school has to explore how we can implement the programme 

  • whether a school-wide approach should be employed
  • perhaps it should be done strictly in certain classrooms
  • we could introduce it as an assembly programme or
  • incorporate it within the curriculum.
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