On the 22nd of July 2014, Global Peace Foundation Malaysia sent a team to give out a hands-on classroom simulation workshop to schools enrolled to Global Peace Education Malaysia-Character Creativity Initiative (CCI).
Participant background comprised of principals and teachers who were the appointed Character Creativity Initiative (CCI) school based committee members known as the Innovation Team.
Character Creativity Initiative(CCI) is a project by Global Peace Foundation that empowers school-aged youth with essential character, creativity and leadership competencies sought by twenty-first century employers. CCI combines global best practices in education with community-engaged transformations in school culture. CCI is not a book, a curriculum or a disciplinary program. Instead, it is a shift in mindset, a set of tools, and a well-defined support system. Overall, it is a change of school culture, moving focus from solely academics to also include other key competencies that help students succeed in life, family, and work. The pilot project was done in Kenya about 3 years ago where it is proven that students not only demonstrated improved academic and student achievement compared to their cohorts. Also, they have reduced disciplinary problems. In one school, the disciplinary problems have been reduced to zero. So the vice principal has nothing to do anymore, he’s out of a job. And of course, it improved the learning environment. (GPF, 2013)
We left Petaling Jaya around 7 AM and reached SMK Cochrane an hour later. The program started at 9AM with a speech by Tuan Haji Khailani Abd Jalil, National Chairman, Council of High School Principle and also the Principle for SMK Segambut Jaya. Altogether there were a solid of 8 schools present with a number of 12 teachers and 5 Principles. The schools who participated includes Smk Air Panas, SMK Batu Muda, SMK Cheras, SMK Seri Bintang Utara, SMK Seri Hartamas, SMK Sri Sentosa, SMK Segambu Jaya and the host, SMK Cochrane.
Dr. Teh, CEO of Global Peace Foundation Malaysia gave an introductory speech about GPF followed by CCI introduction and training led by Pick Ching Fong.
Pick Ching kickstarting the training
“Are we ready to make a difference?” shouted Pick Ching enthusiastically. After asking for three times, the room was filled with passionate educators who responded with a loud “Yes!” and at this moment I could see the glittering eyes of them who were all excited and hungry to learn.
While Character and Creativity Initiative encourages students to sit in clusters for group discussions, the fellow educators were asked to form three groups and sit facing each other. Throughout the entire program, there were three activities done. Basically the educators were given a mah-jong paper and they were asked to write (1) The Qualities of Great Teachers, (2) The qualities of Students and (3) Three Challenges and Causes that Teachers Face and Solutions to it. They were given roughly 10 minutes to discuss in their own groups for each of the activities.
As I facilitate one of the groups, I found out that the teachers do not act like teachers, in fact, they were acting like students. Obviously everyone was engrossed in their discussion, but when asked to present, some of them were pushing the other group members and some of them volunteered to present! Distant chuckles were heard when one of the teacher said “You go present in front, I’ll write”. The final activity showed that the teachers were racing each other as everyone wanted to go first for their presentations. They seemed to enjoy this CCI training and their unique creativeness were shown throughout their presentations.
An excited young teacher presenting their group’s input
In between the activities there were a short break where we did the “Chicken Dance”. Everyone was dancing happily and joyously twirling around just having fun.
“Funny! Happy! This is the first time I have seen my teachers and principle acted like this! I never knew they had this in them!” said Kisha, a Form 2 librarian who was on duty that morning when asked how she felt when she saw her teachers acting like such.
The workshop ended with the fellow educators stating their personal “take-aways” on Character & Creative Initiative Program.
“If we don’t change, we can’t make a change”. – Pn. Kamariah, Principle of SMK Cheras
“After going through this training, I am confident that CCI can make a change”. – Pn. Faridah, Principle of SMK Batu Muda.
“The relationship between a student and a teacher is important. I teach Form 6 students, we are so close that when class is over, my students actually shakes my hand and kiss it” – Sow Siew Peng, Bahasa Malaysia Teacher, SMK Seri Sentosa.
“I really do think that CCI is good! I hope that it will expand into a higher level” – Pn. Kassina BT Ghazali, Senior Assistant for Student Affair, SMK Seri Bintang Utara.
As the workshop reached to its end, while we were putting away our stuff, cleaning and tidying up the room, a young teacher came through the doors, all smiles and electrified. Mr. Yaasir, a Form 6Teacher in SMK Cochrane had to leave the workshop in the midst of the training because he had a class. Apparently he had implemented CCI in his class.
“When I arrived my class, I asked everyone to stand up and rearrange the seating. They were surprised but they obliged.” said Mr. Yaasir.
Mr. Yaasir said that his students were livelier, active and focussed. He also claimed that none of his students were sleeping this time.
“The interaction between the students were amazing! They changed a lot. The presentations they did were well done. CCI really amazed me in the simplest way.” exclaimed Mr. Yaasir in such amazement.