Values Education Workshop for Teachers
Freetown, Sierra Leone, 21 – 24 April 2021
Living Values Education-Sierra Leone (LVE-SL) organised a three-day ‘Train-the-Educator’ workshop at the Bishop Johnson Memorial School in Freetown, sponsored by the Association of Living Values Education International (ALIVE). The workshop was programmed for 20 teachers but the number rose to 30 due to the enthusiasm of other teachers and NGOs supportive of LVE-SL who sent representatives!
The workshop was facilitated by:
Ms Mary S. Jallow, a local trainer from the province, who specialises in working with street children.
Mr Alhaji Kamara, President of LVE-SL.
Ms Helen Sayers, member of ALIVE Board and regional support for Africa .
Ms Patricia Ndikum, member of ALIVE Board, President, Caretakers Initiative (ALIVE Associate in Cameroon).
Helen and Patricia joined us via Zoom and Skype.
The aims of the workshop were:
- To introduce Living Values Education (LVE) and its activities to help educators and NGO representatives to develop universal values such as peace, tolerance, love, responsibility and cooperation;
- To explore personal values and the specific values of Sierra Leone;
- To renew motivation and commitment of educators towards their students’ overall development, as role models and examples of values in practice;
- To develop skills for creating a values-based learning environment in the classroom/school/workplace;
- To exchange ideas with other educators committed to values-based education;
- To create an action plan for the implementation of LVE in schools in the region;
- To inspire educators to form LVE clubs in their schools, supervised by the school focal person, while LVE-SL will monitor their activities.
On the first day, we completed the following activities: ‘Invisible and visible friends’ - activity facilitated by Mary S. Jallow as an ‘icebreaker’ that encourages participants to observe values in others and creates an atmosphere of fun and unity.
History and Overview of Living Values Education – presented by Ms Helen Sayers through Skype. Briefly, LVE began in 1996 when a group of 20 educators from all five continents met in New York at the headquarters of UNICEF in New York, to develop an educational programme based on universal values, adaptable to each country and culture. Now, over 25 years later, LVE has being implemented in over 40 countries at over 8,000 sites.
Helen emphasised the need, now more than ever, for Values Education, considering the negative influences affecting the world. She made a connection between the wisdom of the past and the needs of the future.
She encouraged educators to be good role models for their students, helping them to explore and develop the positive values that exist within every individual. All agreed that it is about integrating character development throughout the curriculum and into daily life, attending to the academic, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of every child. Alhaji Kamara invited participant response to Helen’s presentation. The group agreed unanimously that teaching is in danger of losing its place in society as ‘the noble profession’, thus teachers need to be encouraged to live their values as well as to maintain motivation, creativity, self-respect, and passion for their work.
Values Awareness – Ms Patricia Ndikum took us through an activity where participants first reflected individually on their personal values then went on to reflect on the values of Sierra Leone in small groups. We were inspired us to ‘explore, experience and express’ our values through songs which were sung by the FAWE school representative, and Mother's Choice Foundation representative.
Reflecting on personal values
Listing values on flip chart
Discussion on the values of Sierra Leone
The training continued with a recap of day one activities. Members expressed their appreciation of Helen’s presentation through Skype, and said that through the personal values activity facilitated by Patricia, they realized the presence of the values in themselves.
DAY TWO – Creating a Values-based Atmosphere
The second day began with a group exercise where participants imagined their ‘Dream School’. The facilitator created a calm atmosphere and then softly asked questions such as:
“What is the outside environment like?
What do the buildings of the school look like?
How are the classrooms decorated?
What are the relationships like?
How do the teachers and students greet each other?
What is the general atmosphere like?”
Each group discussed what they had imagined and felt and came up with a picture to express the school of their dream. Groups then shared their experiences.
Participants present images of ‘Our Dream School’
Having established the importance and benefit of a values-based atmosphere in the school, we then looked into how to create such an environment – where every student feels LOVED, VALUED, RESPECTED, UNDERSTOOD and SAFE (LVRUS). What are the values and the behaviour of the teachers and other staff in the school that will help to create and maintain a values-based atmosphere? This is a key element of LVE – and it is through this that students flourish – academically, socially and spiritually.
How to create a Values-based atmosphere?
This was explored through a variety of activities, including the following:
Puppets and Puppeteers
Ms Mary facilitated this activity where in pairs each member became a puppet and a puppeteer alternately. The puppeteer moved his or her puppet using invisible strings. Once trust and respect had been established, the puppeteer could move their puppet in diverse ways and both had a lot of fun! Participants shared that they had experienced the values of cooperation and love, unity, freedom and tolerance, and reflected on ways that they could establish good relationships with children so that they felt LVRUS…
Puppets and Puppeteers
In groups participants designed and created a paper tower, using only 10 sheets of paper and 10cm of sticky tape. After the completion of their tower, the group leaders explained the values that were incorporated in their group in order to build the tower. The majority agreed that love, cooperation, and freedom were implemented, and team spirit in the group was a pivot for the completion of the tower. The facilitator inspected each tower and awarded a prize to each group, acknowledging a value that had been implemented during the activity – such as the prize for Harmony, prize for team work, cooperation, unity, respect, etc. None were graded good or bad – each group was a winner and each person felt a sense of achievement. A discussion was then held on the importance of teachers looking for and acknowledging good qualities in their students.
Peace towers on display
Each participant reflected on and presented an assignment summarizing what they had realized during the two days training.
To illustrate the importance of teachers being role models of the values they wish to see in their students the following activity was carried out:
Each participant was given a balloon to blow and tie. They were asked to write three or more values on their balloon and then let the balloon float in the air and each one try to catch one balloon. It was actually interesting. The balloon you catch are the values you possess and you should work with those values.
There was considerable discussion on how the teachers were to go forward with implementing values in their lives and LVE in their work.
In the final session, participants were presented with an evaluation form and were asked to reflect on the three days training and answer the questions on it. And then….visible and invisible friends were revealed!
Revealing visible and invisible friends
The workshop ended with closing remarks by the President of LVE-SL, who promised to present certificates the 30 participants and the facilitators that helped in facilitating the workshop. He expressed his appreciation of the LVE-SL committee who had been working for many months to make this workshop a reality. He also expressed thanks to ALIVE for sponsoring the workshop.
The group sang a song often used in LVE workshops: I’M ALIVE, AWAKE, ALERT, ENTHUSIASTIC.
Finally, we closed with prayers, and the national anthem of Sierra Leone.
Distribution of face masks at schools in Freetown highlights the values of cooperation and love
Living Values Education - Sierra Leone (LVE-SL) joined the National Civic Education and Development in creating awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic in the world in general and in Sierra Leone in particular. Our main purpose was to educate school children and teachers about the values of cooperation and love in the prevention of COVID-19 in Sierra Leone - cooperation in complying with what the health experts advised the public to do (wearing face masks) and love in abiding by the law of social distancing. It is through cooperation and love that we will prevent transferring the virus to others. If we all cooperate, and love ourselves, others and the country, we can together defeat COVID-19.
During a number of weeks, from 5 October (the day schools reopened), members of LVE-SL visited several schools in the East end of the capital city of Freetown to distribute face masks along with T-shirts carrying the association’s logo. In each school pupils and teachers were assembled for a presentation about the use of face masks and about social distancing, encouraging all to use the values of cooperation and love in the fight against COVID-19. Photographers from Sierra Leone Broadcasting Company (SLBC) covered the presentation, and it was aired on national television the same day under the programme ‘The Podium’.
1. Bishop Johnson Memorial School (Junior and Senior Secondary School)
2. Ansarul Islamic Junior and Senior Secondary School
3. Henry Ferguson Junior and Senior Secondary School
4. Yamakai Comprehensive Junior Secondary School
Principals, teachers and pupils at the schools we visited appreciated our gesture and responded positively. At first the school's administration and pupils thought it was the government that had sent us. We explained that the programme was funded by members of LVE-SL in collaboration with Sierra Leone’s National Council for Civic Education. Some of the schools highlighted the importance of teaching values to pupils in school and at home. They were amazed that they already have such values within themselves that can be used to create a positive outcome in any situation. The visits ended with votes of thanks and appreciation from schools, and some teachers willingly gave their names to join LVE-SL.
RECOMMENDATIONS from the schools:
- Principals recommended that Values Based Education should be introduced in their schools
- LVE-SL should cater for schools throughout Sierra Leone
- LVE-SL should educate staff and pupils about the use of face masks in schools throughout Sierra Leone
Report faithfully written by Sheka Conteh, Secretary General, Living Values Education - Sierra Leone
The history of LVE in Sierra Leone dates back to 2004 when a few teachers were given a training workshop by Mr. Alhaji Kamara, a Sierra Leonean who had travelled from Banjul, the Gambia, where he had been trained in LVE. A Focal Point for LVE was appointed a few years later but for various reasons activities tailed off until ….
In November 2019 a group of teachers met Mr. Alhaji Kamara and shared information about Living Values Education that one of them had come across on the internet. Mr. Kamara told them he had been trained in the Gambia but had encountered problems in establishing an association that could fulfil his vision for LVE in Sierra Leone. With enthusiasm, the teachers offered their cooperation and asked him to conduct a training workshop for them. This was the beginning of a new chapter for LVE in the country!
On 7-8 November 2019, educator workshops were conducted, sponsored jointly by the participating teachers and Alhaji Kamara. This was followed on 29 November by a workshop for teachers from a number of different schools that was sponsored by the participants and a new executive group of teachers who helped conduct the workshop. At the end of the day, all felt inspired to put into practice what they had learned and experienced and the group got together and established Living Values Education Sierra Leone, a Community Based Organisation (CBO) that has been registered with the Freetown City Council and now applied for membership of ALIVE. LVE is on the move again in Sierra Leone!
Above: Executive committee, Living Values Education Sierra Leone
Active listening exercise by the executive committee of Living Values Education Sierra Leone, November 2019