|In This Issue – August 2012||
Issue Number Forty-four
News and Success Stories
LIVING GREEN VALUES! ALIVE’s newest book, Living Green Values Activities for Children and Young Adults, was created in honor of the Earth and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20. The initial idea for this activity book came from Brazil’s LVE team.Diane Tillman, Paulo Barros and LVE educators from Brazil and China contributed to Living Green Values Activities for Children and Young Adults. Within the resource there are three stories about “Rosa, David and the Tern” for children ages 3 to 7, and nine stories called the “Green Values Club” for young people ages 8 and above. These stories have been made into two separate storybooks so that even if their teachers are not doing LVE, children can get the stories and learn more about the environment and activities they can do to help the Earth and her ocean.
Dear ALIVE Colleagues,
It is my delight to offer to you the warmest of greetings from us all at ALIVE with heartfelt appreciation to you and all educators around the world who have chosen to dedicate their time, voice, experience, presence and contribution to help inspire generations of youngsters and communities to feel uplifted by remembering, exploring, experiencing and living their values.
This year, Living Values Education is 16 years old and has grown from a concept to a living model that continues to reach out across the world welcoming everyone to the home of their values. Our pioneers, without exception, have laid an incredible foundation that empowers creativity and the emergence of many values-based language personalities and international approaches that inspire us all to co-create and build the better world to which we all aspire. Our Focal Points for LVE and ALIVE Associates, Trainers, Local Teams, Authors, Supporters, Executive members past and present, and especially the educators in the classroom, together with their colleagues, have shown us how imagination, dedication and releasing the potential within us all has invited in positive character development and learning success to so many by feeling loved, valued, respected, understood and safe.
Inspiring generations is a hallmark of Living Values Education not at least with the emergence of young educators now trained to be 'Train the Educators' who are certified to lead and inspire our next generations. Their enthusiasm and wealth of practical ideas from the classroom and community is both authentic and contagious. The opportunity for younger and older generation trainers to work and train and practice together is a particularly powerful tool in that 'both generations' speak and convey the same language – the language of values – not only in terms of the spoken word but especially in the spaces between the words.
The first European Conference, held in Cyprus this summer – report within the newsletter – responded to a call to reach out to new horizons. Living Values Education, with its independent status securely registered in Switzerland, has grown so much that it is time to build active partnerships and place Living Values Education into a wider community context. The processes and activities have already begun, to which you are most welcome to join, lead and advise.
We look forward to the reports about European and Middle Eastern Partnerships, the continuing empowerment of youth to practically support their communities through values-based programs, the promotion of peace and reflective time, the applications of the Green Living Values program that has captured the imagination of our youth, and the on-going outreach work for children affected by war and street children. Let's also look forward to reports of the innovative ways to support children and parents who are feeling unsafe, hope for the afflicted, programs for young offenders, the Living Values initiative with Senior citizens and Grandparents, and whole country initiatives that will continue to inspire and empower our next generation.
None of this is able to happen without the sense of belonging and invaluable contribution of us all. Living Values Education gives permission and support to confidently replicate the core essentials in all trainings, to explore new horizons, to create opportunity for the knowing heart to bring to fruition a positive difference, and to strengthen the living values in all we think, say and do.
The development of 'regional centres' will help to create a more 'local feel' and voice to the fusion of cultural ways that add to the internationalism and sense of common inheritance within the hearts and minds of us all. In addition, it is our aim to hold 'regional conferences' every 2 years and a 'world conference' every four years. We sincerely hope that, with advance notice of the dates and venues, you will be able to honour us with your presence.
ALIVE, for its part, will continue to advise, help, offer training, post programs and ideas on the website eg Ubuntu and seek to promote values-based learning communities in whatever culture, setting or circumstance it is able to accommodate. In return, we kindly request that you share your success stories and ways in which we can work together to help one another.
A special thank you is due to Markus Moses who has stepped down as our President. His wisdom and insights have ably led Living Values Education to new horizons for which we are very grateful. A special thank you, too, to Shelagh Moore, our Vice President, who will be stepping down to focus on training as an executive member. Her communication skills, vision and untiring commitment to Living Values Education has opened new doors and new beginnings for us all. For Living Values educators who may be interested in joining the executive, the Board will be seeking new members shortly and will be inviting applications.
As Living Values Education reaches out and expresses its positivity across the globe, ALIVE would like to wish you well in all that you do with love, enjoyment and with a smile; and especially wish that you take time to look after yourselves, pace yourselves, and equally, continue to inspire generations to come through shared endeavours, creativity, giving, learning and most of all, simply living your values.
Thank you for inspiring generations and thank you for being you.
Twenty-three representatives of Living Values Education Associations from 12 countries came together in Limassol, Cyprus, on 28 – 31 July to share, inspire, support and look to the future of values education. The 23 LVE leaders were from Cyprus, El Salvador, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Poland and Switzerland
During five sunny days, participants lived the true meaning of education (to ‘draw out’ talents, skills and understanding rather than ‘pushing in’ or ‘telling’ knowledge) – through reflecting, listening, creating, cooperating, and valuing each other’s contributions.
LVE representatives from Cyprus, Poland, Greece, Reunion Island, Jordan, El Salvador, Oman, Holland, Kuwait, Germany, Switzerland and members of the ALIVE board reported on their recent activities, giving glimpses of the outreach of Living Values throughout the world: stories of kindergarten children touched by the values of love and respect, of newly trained teachers enthusiastically heading out to live their values with their pupils, of older children becoming aware of their ‘inner diamonds’. Plans for the future include creating parent groups, giving on-going support to trained teachers, obtaining official recognition for LVE from state school systems, building cooperation with university departments of Ethics and Philosophy, accessing European Union funding and publishing a values calendar.
LVE Trainer’s Guide
“As trainers, how can we invite in the best?” Peter Williams, newly appointed President of ALIVE and Board member responsible for training, requested participants to contribute towards the development of a trainer’s guide based on the aims and methodology of Living Values Education. The guide is being designed to help LVE facilitators to deliver their trainings more effectively while being creative and flexible, and appropriate for each culture. Some key elements to consider when designing and preparing a LVE training workshop:
Partnerships and synergies
An inspiring presentation was given by guest speaker, David Lorimer, representing the associations Learning for Life (http://www.learningforlife.org.uk) and Inspire>Aspire
(http://www.inspire-aspire.org.uk), both active in character development of young people. David talked about a project that young people in Great Britain are taking part in, based on values expressed by Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Students create their own personalized posters, and learn new things about themselves, about others and about the world and make action plans for their future. They are asked to reflect upon and answer the following questions:
The posters are then submitted by their schools to a judging committee, which awards prizes to the best entries. Participants at the conference agreed that an excellent synergy between Inspire>Aspire and Living Values Education could develop, mutually complementing both associations, and that other such partnerships should be encouraged.
An interactive presentation on Overcoming Bullying, by Areti Foufopoulou (LVE Greece) and Anastasia Stylinou (LVE Cyprus) raised awareness of how even long-past feelings of hurt and exclusion can still haunt us today. Thus it’s vital to create classroom environments that encourage respect and cooperation, where each child feels loved, valued, respected, understood and safe.
A dynamic workshop on the theme of Ubuntu was facilitated by Helen Sayers (LVE Oman). Ubuntu is an ancient African philosophy of living based on universal values such as caring, solidarity, kindness, forgiveness. In small groups, participants reflected on and discussed a project “to contribute to a better world” using a balloon to represent their common task in a creative way, putting into action ‘ubuntu’ values such as listening, respect, resourcefulness, spontaneity, and consensus-building. After presenting their projects, each group received recognition for its achievement – e.g. for teamwork, unity, originality etc. Every group member was awarded a prize (a sweet) and a certificate (a values card). We are all winners! (By the way, the Ubuntu activity resource is now available on the international LVE website, free of charge.)
The way forward for Living Values Education, sixteen years after we began in 1996 Shelagh Moore, Vice President of ALIVE, drew the conference to a close with a feedback session. Here are some of the concluding comments:
Finally…. in our teaching, in our trainings, we can spread LOVE:
Live Our Values Everyone, Everywhere, Everyday!
Shelagh and Peter were joined by the whole group in expressing their thanks and appreciation to Areti and Anastasia for their excellent organisation of the conference and for their warm hospitality.
Based on conference report by Frances Burkhalter-Carroll (LVE Switzerland).
In July, a team of LVE educators delivered an LVE Workshop for educators of young children in Difficult Situations at the Municipal Theatre of Mairinque (Center of Education and Culture). Ingrid Schrijnemaekers reports, “We trained 146 people, including directors, teachers, cooks and cleaning personnel. Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd Phase people who serve children three- through five-years old from 20 public schools participated. A total of 1700 children should be impacted by the program which translates
to approximately 20% of the population including adults. Because of the local situation the resource which will be used is LVE’s Living Values Activities for Street Children Ages 3 to 7.
Our vision is that in ten years São Paulo will be a safer city. Several scientific studies have shown that if we want a better society, we need to invest in early childhood.
We had many special moments of personal development, adaptation, negotiation, meditation, experimentation and transformation, exploring delicate subjects such as drugs, violence, death, etc. The final result was wonderful; people were very happy. They became creative, revealed their dedication and laughed a lot. We received positive evaluations and many seeds were planted.
The Education Department prepared a presentation on the last day with pictures of all the activities and individuals involved, accompanied by lovely background music.
Next steps: Upon returning from vacation, the teachers plan to start LVASC activities on August 15th. We will coach them as they implement LVE, followed by a first evaluation scheduled for the end of September and a second one for the end of November. We used the research on Jardim Angela (São Paulo). It was very useful in helping us prevent implementation
problems at the beginning.
The Brazil Values Initiative / Project Living Values in Jardim Ângela proposes that universal human values education should be adopted as part of public policy and be given priority for funding when institutions fund projects in the areas of education and social assistance/ development. This proposal is based on the results of a partial evaluation which determined that:
A few testimonials from Youth Center Educators and Teen Participants who participated in the LVE study/implementation at Jardin Ângela:
"At first the youth questioned, 'Wow, I speak with peace now and I go out there and a guy points a 38 (gun) at me and then what? I'll talk about peace? For what?' Last week, I asked them to tell me what they were feeling. These same boys who had not wanted to talk about peace or love, were the same ones who said: 'Maria, I want that this workshop, this kind of attitude (of) – I respect you and you respect me – also to happen at (my) school. I had a big fight with the director and she told me I had to leave. She asked me where I learned more, at school or in this Youth Center. I did not think twice, I said it was here ... because there they do not respect me.' This same boy who had made fun of me at first, is now practically screaming that this kind of conversation should happen elsewhere. I can see the change in the young (people)."(Female Educator, Youth Center Riviera)
"My cousin died recently because of involvement with drugs. I started listening to the project; the stories are very touching and make you reflect about what you want for your life – the choices you make. I like the Living Values activities: sit in a circle, listen to music and reflect. Feeling that you can go beyond where you are, despite the difficulties, you can go beyond. You can overcome obstacles." (A teen served by Sociedade Santos Mártires, seventeen years old)
"Now that I entered this course (LVE) here in the Youth Center, I got out of these bad friendships and stopped using drugs. Now I'm quiet, in my own way. I managed to leave the life of crime. I used to try but the more I tried, the more I went into a life of crime. When I was arrested, I reflected and realized that what I was doing was not for me. I wanted to make things better for myself. When I joined the course, I met several nice people and started to open myself. It was when I started studying the stories of the Living Values that I wanted, more than before, to get away from crime. Today, I am even able to make my mother happy, because, before my mother did not trust me. I also have more self-confidence. Many people do not have the experience I have. I have a story that the listener would not believe, because I experienced many things in my life of crime. It's something I do not wish even on my worst enemy." (Teen served by Sociedade Santos Mártires, sixteen years old)
"I started to question some things about myself; tried to change a little. I am a person who speaks, I am very sincere, I say what I think, and end up hurting people. But I began to question this. It's funny because this project came here and everyone was saying about 'the students, the students, the students', but we forgot that, in the paths of our lives, we lose a lot of things, too. Then I felt the need to recover some things that I think were lost. "(Coordinator of School Maria Peccioli)
In closing, one factor that would significantly strengthen the introduction of such a comprehensive program of values education would be requiring projects requesting funding to include education in values. It could even become a prerequisite for granting loans – the existence of an adequate ongoing education program in universal human values, or the commitment to implement it with the project for which resources are requested.
Instituto Vivendo Valores
Sociedade Santos Mártires
EE Professora Josefina Maria Barbosa and EE Professora Maria Peccioli Giannasi
For further information, kindly go to the Brazil Country Report page.
See also: Spring of Values http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0kwkka2DNE
Bullying is a phenomenon related to various personal, social, school, and family parameters and causes. A recent workshop in Athens by the Greek LVE Association looked at physical, emotional, verbal and non-verbal violence in the school environment.
Nowadays, the increase in bullying manifests in different ways in the school environment. Related to this is the general deconstruction of principled contexts, confusion about vital social values and the deterioration of moral standards along with an escalation of poverty and unemployment caused by the general economic crisis. During the workshop, different manifestations of bullying at school were identified, possible reasons explored, as well as a view of short and long term effects of bullying on victims.
The participants discussed the values of respect, cooperation, tolerance, serenity, awareness, trust, love, honesty, self-confidence, sharing and unity as means to forestall or decrease school violence. Many strategies were suggested for reducing bullying: developing a cooperative classroom climate, having a positive focus on individual differences, meeting the personal needs of the students, enhancing emotional intelligence, setting limits, creating behavioral contracts, using active listening, providing opportunities for student communication and input in planning and goal setting to ensure relevancy. The incorporation of values education into the school curriculum was identified as important.
Below are three activities from the bullying workshop:
A. Participants stand, forming a circle while holding hands. They are asked to share one or two weaknesses or dark qualities that caused them insecurity or pain during their school years/whether they were laughed at or bullied for these and how they overcame (if they eventually did) the pain.
B. Participants are asked to reflect on ways in which they were involved in bullying at school or in the family/community, then write short notes of these incidents and share with the team (if they feel comfortable doing so). They are also asked to recall the emotions behind A and B. This brought up very interesting and touching memories. Participants mentioned bullying against/from siblings and this led to a discussion about the way both teachers and parents contribute to the victimization of students/children.
C. Vicky Papadopoulou presented The Box of Emotions. This beautifully decorated box is placed in the class at the beginning of the year and students deposit notes anonymously expressing a feeling related to a school/family or community incident – complaint, satisfaction, joy, sadness … making a short reference to the reason behind it. The teacher collects the papers, transcribes them on the computer and at a certain point in time, returns them at random to the class. Everyone receives one scenario and comments on the incident/feelings. The box can be used to spot bullying incidents if students are asked to write about a person who has harmed them in any way at school or elsewhere and the feelings that this caused.Areti Foufopoulou
“In September 2011, I met Melinda Szakács, a social worker and volunteer coordinator for the Moravcsik Foundation,” wrote Zsofia Fried, the president of Hungry’s LVE Association. “The foundation offers art therapy for people suffering from mental illnesses. I was invited to their special event PSYCHART 24, where many people (not only patients) had the opportunity to paint pictures over a 24-hour period. This event used art expression to reduce discrimination and prejudice against people with mental illness. Our LVE association (B.E.K.E.) was represented with Virtuescope. Our contribution was very well received and led to monthly values workshops for those who are helped by the Foundation. This is a cooperative initiative between the Moravcsik Foundation and B.E.K.E. After the first workshop, one participant wrote: ‘We were asked to get to know our partner by sharing our good qualities. It was a difficult task because none of us had enough self respect or self confidence to positively answer the question: Can you love something in us? It turned out, yes, you can! In the positive, receptive atmosphere, people opened up more and more. Although it was not a compulsory exercise, most of the people said something and felt better as a result.’
During a subsequent LVE workshop, participants met in small groups to share their accomplishments and successes attained through the help of the Foundation. Participants were invited to create a beautiful tree featuring the leaves of their successes. The photo shows their very special tree which has been placed in the patient residence where daily activities are carried out.”
The Jamaica Ministry of Education Region 4, recently held its Back to School Conference themed "Get it Right the First Time" in July, 2012, with the goal of transforming the national education programme. The Director General, Planning Institute of Jamaica, stated "by 2030, we see Jamaica as a country having a vibrant and sustainable economy, society and environment, a high level of human capital development, greater opportunities and access to these opportunities for the population, and a high level of human security." Vision 2030 was conceived with great optimism and a renewed call for partnership across Jamaica.
The Education Minister spoke boldly and assuredly of the way forward: "We have a godly tradition in education to raise up the whole human person, a composite of social adeptness and wholesome relationships. Teach our children about their Creator, Redeemer whose spirit will enliven them and keep them through their lives." He encouraged volunteers to go into the schools to contribute: "You don't have to proselytize for own denomination. You could just read to the children and look around for other ways to help, such as developing a feeding programme."
Sharon Parris-Chambers, National Focal Point for Living Values Education, encouraged the Minister to endorse the visit of Dr. Neil Hawkes, Oxford University and International Values Education Consultant, to return to the island to help the Ministry develop a national values education programme. Within the education ministry, it is not business as usual, rather it is time for concerted change. The future of our nation depends on the value of the education we provide to our youth. The Education Minister's Call to Action is timely and most critical during the year of Jamaica's 50th jubilee.
The following letter was received by a lovely Vietnamese woman who initially became involved in LVE by taking a workshop in California. “I am grateful that I have come across Living Values Education and met some wonderful educators who share the same concerns. I am applying Living Values in my role as mother, counselor, teacher, and others. It has only been positive so far. Here and there I share the theory in my workshops/speeches and people are always impressed as well as wanting to use the same thing. Fortunately we have Trish (Summerfield, the national Focal Point for LVE) here in Vietnam, and the textbooks have been translated so I can refer them to the source easily.
Recently my older brother, a youth leader, asked for my advice regarding a family conflict. I showed him the conflict resolution technique, and it worked so well for him. Once I used it myself in situation where two university students (in my school) had fought, and their parents had become involved. At the end of the two-hour meeting, the students apologized, parents walked away happily, and my manager hugged me with tears in her eyes saying that the university was so lucky to have me. I give the credit to my LVE mentors.
Once in a while when my heart is not peaceful, I remember the LVE story about 'only keeping love in your heart' and I can smile.
I would like to share one more beautiful story of how living values can shape a human being. My son, Ian, who is five, loves folding papers to make jet planes. One day he cut a piece of round paper, put it on the plane, flew it off explaining, 'That is the bomb, mommy, bum bum bum...' I said, 'Well, but mommy really does not like bombs, Ian, for they kill people, destroy plants on the earth (and when I saw that he was not impressed enough, I added), and lots of our COW FRIENDS.' Ian thought for a while and said, 'No, mommy, my bombs are smart. They can detect a person's heart, and if the heart is evil, then that person will be broken. If the heart is peaceful, then the person is safe.' I responded, 'But Ian, even if the heart is evil, how do we know for sure that the bomb does not make a mistake? And even if the bomb is correct, do we have any right to kill another person?' Ian reflected a little more and concluded, 'How about this, my bomb is so smart that it can distinguish an evil heart from a peaceful one, and then the bomb will make the evil heart broken, and replace it with peaceful heart.' 'Voila, I said, that is the most creative and lovely solution I have ever heard. I really like your critical thinking and problem solving skills, Ian.'
My life is very good now. I have found the answers to most of my questions. I love a value-based life where I don't have to think much but just act in integrity and things work out themselves.”
Phoenix PhungHoang Ho
Career Counselor, Career Development and Employment, Student Services
RMIT International University Vietnam
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