Peace isn’t just an absence of war, it is cultivating the culture of true love. We have to have the culture of serving others, to live for the greater good. We have to build the altruistic culture. – Pick Ching, CCI Programme Manager
As part of the continuous efforts in making education more relevant to the 21st century, the SMK Batu Muda, Kuala Lumpur principal Puan Faridah requested for the Global Peace Foundation team to conduct a CCI workshop for her school teachers. Approximately 40 teachers of the afternoon class attended the four-hour hands-on classroom simulation workshop at the school library.
The session started with Puan Faridah’s welcome remark: “Let us acquire as much knowledge as possible that is creative and innovative so that we can lead holistic teaching for our students,.”
“It is important that you know, you, teachers, are noble,” said Pick Ching genuinely. Teachers are builders and role models to future leaders. Education is the key to a developed and ethical nation.
Participating teachers voiced out their concern regarding social obstacles such as war, religious conflicts, poverty and corruption. “What are the root cause of such problems?” a fellow teacher asked.
The problems called for the need of a shift in mindset, transforming education that goes beyond the Grade Point Average (GPA) and test scores to worthy values, mainly character, creativity, leadership and entrepreneurship. It is a necessity to move from the mere development of the mind (I.Q.).
The first magic moment sparked when teachers, who were seated in traditional classroom seating, were asked to re-organised into clusters based on a mysterious number given earlier in the day. It was a moment of enlightenment on how the 21st century world of work-classroom seating heightens communication and teamwork between teammates and the workshop advanced with that much more attention and focus paid to the speaker.
One of the highlights of the training was to help bridge gaps between teachers and students. Pick Ching said: “Culture works subtly, you won’t even realise you can make a difference but you can,” It is about teachers modeling character and integrity, to nurture and plant the seeds inside the students’ hearts which will impact the way they behave and acquire knowledge.
Many teachers resonated in their concern in handling the weaker classes and students. Practical experiences regarding universal body language from Pick Ching included seeing them eye to eye, a respectful nod and a light pat on the shoulders can often be comforting and acknowledges their presence.
A school is a community linked to every step of the growth of a healthy society. Teachers were encouraged to work in teams to help in the deliverance of a holistic education of a complete child. Part of the shift in mindset the trainer tried to achieve is to restore the passion in teachers:“There is no fake passion but temporary passion, it is the mission we carry that is life-long,” Educators have grown weary after years of service; it is easy to forget how important and noble their roles are.
Teachers feel trapped and frustrated because of the lack of vision in leadership and teamwork. Every part of schooling requires a specially designed routine with an end goal in mind. Before explaining about technical skills, Pick Ching summarised on how positivity is contagious and should be used as often as possible to bond with students. It is not being unprofessional but adopt an open and receptive attitude towards students – giving freedom with conditions and guidelines will in turn educate the students to pick up traits of responsibility, accountability and the consequences of their choice.
Pick Ching boiled the session down to technical skills to help teachers to implement change; classroom reorganisation and the benefits of it were shared. There were multiple modes available to adapt from for various lessons and purposes. A simple move of shifting tables to empower students in making a decision within a reasonable frame is the beginning of a new school culture.
Editor’s thought: Earlier in the article, we mentioned “magic” moment which means the enlightenment bestowed upon us as we proceed in life. High school is a phase of life, in which students are curious about the world and want to learn more about it. This is why it is important for educators to allow these “magic” moments to fall upon the leaders of our future.
What is CCI?
Character Creativity Initiative (CCI) is a signature initiative by Global Peace Education of the Global Peace Foundation that empowers school-aged youth with essential character, creativity and leadership competencies sought by twenty-first century employers. CCI incorporates 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 3 years pilot project in Kenya is profound. It is proven that students not only demonstrated improved academically but also in self-confidence, teacher and administrators job satisfaction and commitment significantly increased compared to their cohorts. Also, they have reduced disciplinary problems. In one school, the disciplinary problems have reduced significantly since the introduction of CCI. So the vice principal has nothing to do anymore, he’s out of a job. And of course, it has improved the learning environment.
(GPF, 2013, source: http://www.globalpeace.org/news/character-and-creativity-initiative-schools-ranked-among-top-10-kenya )