|In This Issue – January 2014||
Issue Number Forty-eight
News and Success Stories
CBC News/Canada, by Karen Wells
Self-Regulation Technique Helps Students
"At Cindrich elementary school in Surrey, B.C., 10-year-old boys are putting themselves to bed earlier, an enthusiastic girl in Grade 6 takes herself for a run when she's feeling hyper, and a diminutive boy who is still learning English tells his teacher he will do better work if he sits on a special cushion. It is all part of self-regulation, a philosophy of education that is moving into public schools in British Columbia. The Surrey School district is the largest of six districts in B.C. that has taken it on, almost out of self-defense. Self-regulation ultimately hands the job of taking charge of their learning and their behavior back to the kids. Teachers look for what is stressing a child and making them unable to pay attention, lethargic, or hyper, sometimes to the point where they are out of control.”
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/self-regulation-technique-helps-students-focus-in-class-1.2440688
In response to humanity’s call for values, let’s celebrate our common wealth of values that nurtures the soul and touches the hearts and minds of everyone wherever they live. Learning about our common wealth of values is at the heart of an education without borders that invites in our integrity, inner beauty as individuals, the personal choices that we each make for ourselves and how we choose to live our lives in relationship to humankind and the natural world.
This year, let’s make it our shared vision to continue to offer an approach to learning that invites in individual human endeavor, actively promotes authentic relationships and partnerships beyond the borders that divide us, and seek to reach out across nations to help educate for and uplift the noblest of innate and shared humanitarian characteristics in us all.
One way to promote this shared vision is through sport that provides great opportunities for promoting peace and harmony, a better world through taking part and the pursuit of the Olympic ideal. In July 2014, the city of Glasgow will be hosting the Commonwealth Games where the values of friendship, cooperation and unity will live without borders. To help promote the sporting and human values of the Commonwealth Games, Character Education (Scotland), under the leadership of David Lorimer, is inspiring and connecting young people throughout the Commonwealth to share their characteristics, ideals and values. ALIVE is delighted to fully support this global initiative and invites all of our Commonwealth Country members, some of whom are already participating, to join in. Details of this inspiring and practical youth award program can be found at www.aspire-inspire.org.uk and from your country focal point or associate.
Whether it is through the medium of Sport, the Arts or any other form of positive endeavor, however great or small, each one of us has a special contribution to make wherever we live in the world. Together, let’s continue to enjoy exploring, experiencing, expressing Living Values-based Education from our hearts, discovering what lies beyond the regular eye, and sharing our photos, videos and stories with friendship.
With gratitude and appreciation,
An LVE Seminar held in Athens on 23 November 2013 focused on how values held by students and teachers shape the learning experience and affect the quality of interaction and student performance. There were ten secondary teachers present who contributed their own experiences with students’ ethos and attitudes. They received a questionnaire to answer and take away for their own use with their students.Areti Foufopoulou shared a sheet presenting the main views on morality through the ages, from ancient Greece to modern times, and a brief review of current research which shows that morality, or the existence of moral principles and values, is connected with satisfaction and happiness in life. Values gives meaning to life and triggers creativity, harmonious relationships and an optimistic outlook. A lively discussion ensued! The Living Values Education approach was presented as a bank of ideas and tools to be used in the classroom in order to raise student awareness and promote their understanding and development of universal ethical principles.
Dimitra Konstantinou and her colleagues, primary educators at 4th Primary School in Vasiliko on the beautiful island of Zante, report their results of facilitating the Love and Happiness lessons from “Living Values Activities for Children Ages 3–7” with their students over a five month period. Their goals for the value of love were to increase students’ experience of love and develop social skills of sharing and caring. Their goals for the value of happiness were to increase their knowledge about happiness and build social skills for happy relations. They connected these activities to language and environmental awareness lessons. Their evaluation follows. Dimitra reports:
“Throughout the implementation of the program, students enjoyed a relaxing environment of security and trust. More specifically:
a. They realized the positive effects of each value and the negative effects of their absence.
b. They experienced the values through story-telling, discussion, songs, games and various activities.
c. They acquired knowledge through individual and group activities and expressed themselves creatively through painting, music, story-writing and handicrafts.”
“Love was chosen as the first value to deal with. The children’s feedback was amazingly rewarding. They looked forward to these lessons and their reactions to and participation in each activity were particularly positive. There were cases of children who, though rather shy initially, developed more out-going, friendly behavior during the meetings. As a result of the lessons, children got closer to each other and improved their interpersonal relations remarkably. At the beginning of the school year, before the introduction of the values lessons, the class suffered from conflicts and selfish tendencies. As the program progressed, children started understanding the need for co-operation and equality. Most activities required teamwork and this contributed to experiencing ‘we’ instead of ‘I’. Moreover, since the exercises were based on the ability to share thoughts, feelings and personal experiences, this naturally led to stronger socialization and contact among the children. In conclusion, the program significantly contributed to the socialization process of the students and also offered them basic resources for their future development.”
An LVE workshop, led by Uma Sridhar, was held on 23 and 24 December 2013 at the Podar International School in Bangalore. An upcoming school with about 550 students, twenty teachers participated in the workshop. The teachers took part in the workshop with great interest and participated in the activities with zest and enthusiasm. The values activities served as good bonding exercises and also helped the teachers to interact well with each other at a different level. Some of the issues the teachers were facing were addressed and solutions suggested.
Interestingly, the workshop made the teachers aware of their behavior at home and how they could better deal with family concerns, especially with their own children. After the skills segment on the first day, many of them went home and tried out a different behavior which was very positively accepted. The teachers returned a happy bunch the next day! They stated that they would continue to make positive changes and be more appreciative of the family.
The workshop ended in high spirits with an exchange of Christmas gifts, appreciation of each other and warm hugs. It was a lovely beginning to the Christmas holiday.
The Living Values Association, Israel, recently created a film in which kindergarten children share their feelings and experiences doing activities based on concepts of LVE. Esther reported: “The success and change of the atmosphere of the kindergarten is very unique, as well as the involvement of the team and parents. I especially noticed the positive change of attitude and behavior of the children and the staff – constant joy seemed the new norm!”
On 7 January 2014, LVE Israel held a conference for educators, inspectors, trainers and kindergarten teachers to expose them to our new program and present our short film, “The Power to Blossom”. They were witness to the amazing answers of the children to the interview questions. We received excellent feedback from the participants. Many expressed an interest in our training program for their area. At the moment, we are in the middle of our first 30-hour training program in the city of Rosh Haim, which includes 20 kindergarten teachers from different areas. Soon we will be sharing the schedule of our new training program in the Central Region of Israel.
Director of LVE Israel
There is a growing amount of evidence in Kuwait that Art is a very powerful healing and happiness medium for expressing and sharing our inner world through non-verbal expressions that bypass verbal defences. Within this international community, and supported by the facilitation of Living Values trainer Dua’a Mansour and visual arts experts here in Kuwait, youngsters and adults have been strengthening their skills and understanding of their inner world of values through Art in many ways. For example, painting ‘Umbrellas for Peace’ as part of the global Matt Lamb initiative has graced schools and universities, and the ‘Recycled Art’ initiative has empowered youth to re-use materials to exhibit their work in public places.
The pursuit of happiness and health in life is a foundation we often forget in the rush to be created ‘to be someone’ rather than, as youth would wish, to create a life of health and happiness ‘from the heart’. Key to Art Therapy’s success are the youth, who, through their wishing to reach out and heal our world, set creative living examples of what can be achieved with regard to healing ourselves with self-respect, helping to heal others with listening, understanding and practical help, and healing the environment by caring for and protecting our natural habitats.
To assist in this process, Living Values Education has been reaching out to assist the living values foundation for newly opened schools, embarking on ‘hands on’ environmental programs, assisting the development of Living Values Education in neighboring countries especially in the field of reflective practices, and continuing to train educators into the LVE methodologies and assisting educators to explore the virtues of Art. The photo reflects one image from the Art Therapy program at an international school. Experience is indicating that words have different meanings in different contexts, and so, too, has Art. Art is for everyone and so, too, are our shared values.
Additional information regarding Kuwait initiatives and images can be found on the Kuwait Country Report page.
The LVE Team in Malaysia recently finished a Living Values Education Train-the-Educator Workshop for the teachers of the Department of National Unity and National Integration. This was led by Shahida Abdul Samad, the Focal Point for LVE in Malaysia, and James Wong at the Institute Aminuddin Baki, Genting Highland, on October 25-27, 2013. They have trained 65 teachers this year and plan to monitor the teachers on their implementation of their newly learned Living Values Strategies in their respective kindergartens.
Diana Silaghi, the newly certified Focal Point for LVE in Romania, has begun LVE in Romania. Congratulations, Diana! The first activity even prior to her “official” acceptance was an LVE workshop on "Morality, Civilization and Culture" or “Liviu Rbreanu” at a high school in the town of Turda, Cluj County. Shelagh Moore was the guest of honor, as an experienced LVE Facilitator and LVE leader in the United Kingdom. Diana reported that Shelagh’s presentation and the debate were remarkably successful. “Our students have understood and realized these values and after a year we have good feedback.”
In October 2013, Diana and her colleagues conducted a “Correlation of positive values with our lifestyle" activity in which students made associations between positive values and styles of being. In 2014, they plan to involve other schools in their LVE project.
The Living Values Association for the British Isles held a conference from 18 to 20 October 2013 on the subject of Mindfulness in Oxfordshire. They reported: “We had workshops on the values of responsibility and happiness, and two main speakers, Stevi Ross and Pete Dunmall. Stevi is a Psyche Educator, Mindfulness Integrated CBT Therapist and Breathworks trainer who has delivered mindfulness training programs for over 15 years in the UK, New Zealand and Europe. She showed us how learning to live mindfully improves many areas of life, including health and well-being, work and relationships, and expands our potential to live totally, truthfully, passionately.
Pete has been a teacher, deputy head teacher and head teacher, and also worked as an Advanced Skills Teacher, focusing on raising children’s academic achievement and developing teachers’ pedagogy. Head of a large Inner London primary school, Pete looked more deeply into reasons for children’s under achievement. Finding the values-based education philosophy, he supported and implemented this approach in school. Visitors observe how the values ethos works successfully in a diverse, multi-cultural community, which is being further developed through reflective practices and mindfulness with the Hawn Foundation.”
“A COOL THING MRS. PANZER and MRS. KELLOG DID OVER THE SUMMER” wrote students in the independent student newspaper at Mizzentop School in New York. Students selected the LVE Workshop in New York as their front page Fall Edition news item. A school that has been doing LVE for 12 years, Mrs. Panzer and Mrs. Kellog’s participation in the workshop has given values a new life. Natasha and Rachel gave their colleages an LVE workshop upon their return and as their student author wrote: “I think we should all focus on our Living Values and try to be peaceful. This year, we have been more focused on Living Values compared to last year, and I think that’s great.”
The summer workshops in California and New York were full of loving energy, renewing our hope, skills and determination as we reaffirmed what we already knew: We do make a difference. As one teacher wrote a couple of months after taking part in the LVE summer workshop: “As you know, teaching is sometimes really tough. But I can honestly say, the training I received this summer is helping me navigate the more difficult moments with more confidence. Thank you!”
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