Education for Peace
Human Values, educating the Whole Child for peace, and being a citizen in Multi-ethnic Britain
A discussion Paper by Dr Madhavi Majmudar, Sathya Sai Education in Human Values, UK
The NINTH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON
“EDUCATION, SPIRITUALITY AND THE WHOLE CHILD”
20 June – 22 June 2002,
held at Roehampton, University of Surrey, UK
” True Education is that which facilitates universal peace, which destroys any scope for mean thoughts to germinate and which fosters unity and co-operation.”
(Sathya Sai Discourse, 22-5-2002)
Contents: (Download PDF version)
SATHYA SAI EHV and EDUCATION FOR PEACE
The Conceptual Framework
The Teaching Approaches
Influences on the Child
The Role of the Teacher
The Direct Method: SSEHV
BEING a CITIZEN in MULTI-ETHNIC BRITAIN: the role of education
The paper will examine two areas of the conference theme. How do teachers help young people deal with fear and achieve inner peace? What can schools do to promote tolerance and good relations between members of different ethnic and faith groups?
The paper is in two parts. The first part of the paper will examine the contribution of the Sathya Sai Education in Human Values approach to educating the whole child by integrating values in all the activities of school life. It is a spiritual programme that seeks to promote the balanced development of the child through the five human values: Truth, Love, Peace, Right Conduct and Non-violence. The programme emphasises the “inner peace” of the child by using simple techniques. The underlying principle of this approach is unity in diversity.
In early Childhood Education; teaching a child to read and write at early ages can have positive results when showing them educational videos and programs. Early Childhood Education is a field that will never lose significance. It sheds light on the best parenting styles and other significant issues related to raising children. It also gives us a glimpse of how young children perceive the world ...
The second part of the paper will be concerned with the role of the teacher in promoting greater understanding on the issues relating to the multi-ethnicity, cultural diversity and faiths in Britain. The emphasis here is on dialogic learning and interacting to enable teachers and schools to act as “listening communities” in terms of the school ethos and practices.
Despite the tremendous advances in science and technology in the twentieth century, the dawn of the new millennium has witnessed violence, terrorism, war and conflict all over the world. In Britain, the negative trends in social environment have been manifested in the crime level, violence, drug abuse, racism and the behavioural problems of children in primary schools coupled with high exclusion rates. The disturbances in the North of England last year have led to a number of reports and led to renewed calls for ‘national cohesion’, ‘building cohesive communities’ and a search for ‘shared values’.
The National Curriculum 2000 for England states that education influences and reflects the values of society and the kind of society we want to be. It recognises education as a route to the spiritual, moral, social, cultural, physical and mental development and thus the well-being of the individual.
It can be argued that single minded focus on economic growth over much of the twentieth century has led to an erosion of human values. At the same time, there is an emerging new consciousness worldwide that affirms shared values of Peace, Equity, Social Justice, Democracy and Human Rights. These values are enshrined in the UN Charter and all other International Conventions and Declarations.
The Report of the UNESCO Commission on Education for the 21st Century (1995) outlines the four pillars of education as:
Being an educator means that you are someone who cares and wants to see children be successful in your class and in their futures. The reason I want to become an educator is to make a difference in a child's life. I have worked with children for over seven years and everyday I spend with a child I learn someone new, about them and about myself. I want to give back to the community in which I was ...
· Learning to be: the right to self-identification, self-definition, self-esteem, etc.
· Learning to know: the right to self-knowledge, learning to learn, etc.
· Learning to do: the right to self-development, employment, etc.
· Learning to live together: the right to self-determination, to work in groups and teams, to resolve conflicts, etc.
The importance of nurturing human values in education cannot be over emphasised. The Sathya Sai Education in Human Values approach is a response to the very ideals that enhance the sustainability of human organisations.
SATHYA SAI EHV and EDUCATION FOR PEACE
The Sathya Sai Education in Human Values programme is an international programme focusing on children throughout the world through self-development. It aims to nurture and develop the innate goodness of the child by developing the basic universal values of: Truth, Love, Peace, Right Conduct, and Non – violence.
The five teaching components used in the programme are: theme for the week( positive thoughts/prayer), silent sitting, stories, group singing and group activities. These direct components are used in a flexible and interactive way. In addition to these direct components, the programme integrates values in the teaching of all subjects and all activities of the school. The emphasis here is on educating the whole child rather than just separate subject areas.
Education must instil the fundamental human values….The higher life which makes man human and a fit candidate for the unfoldment of the Divinity that is his reality, depends on the cultivation of the cardinal virtues – Truth, Right Conduct, Love, Peace and Non-violence. These virtues elevate the individual as well as the society of which he is a part.
(Sathya Sai in Dr Teerakiat Jareonsettasin, ed 1997, pp12-13)
The Sathya Sai Education in Human Values programme takes a holistic approach to educating the child. The five universal values are also recognised by all major religions. The programme has a multi-faith approach and allows and encourages each child to follow his/her tradition and is therefore conducive to application in diverse cultural conditions. It seeks to develop positive values in the child by illustration and example rather than in a prescriptive way. It emphasises the triple partnership between the child, the parent and the teacher. The teacher is assigned a crucial role in developing these values by using the five teaching components and providing a role model.
Where does the body stop and the mind start In the philosophy narrative since early times there were three basic theories that described relationship and connection between mind and body. These theories are as follows: dualism, materialism and phenomenalism. Dualism is based upon the ideas that the physical and mental processes of the body are not interrelated. The proponents of materialism state ...
The Conceptual Framework
The conceptual framework of SSEHV originates from the universal approach to human values expounded by Sathya Sai and does not give predominance to any particular religion. It can be explained in simple terms by relating it to the mind-body complex in a diagrammatic form.
The large circle in the diagram represents the physical body. We are not just the physical body but we also have a mind, which is very important in the learning process. The small circle in the centre represents the conscious mind. All arrows point towards the conscious mind. This is where awareness and understanding takes place. If the mind is calm and still, we can dive deep into the sub-conscious mind as well as raise our consciousness towards super-conscious mind.
The sub-conscious mind is the seat of all our memory. It can be compared to the memory of a computer. We have to know how to retrieve the information from the sub-conscious mind. It is through the activation of the sub-conscious mind which stores all our past experiences that we can find the roots of our negativity such as: anger, greed, pride, hatred, jealousy, fear, anxiety and also any positive files.
Thus to enhance the learning process, the conscious mind must be controlled and concentrated. (Jumsai, 1997, p15)
The super-conscious mind is the source of wisdom, knowledge and intuition. Jumsai explains that in a balanced person, these three levels of mind contribute to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. For this to occur, it is necessary to free the mind from extraneous ‘chatter’ and also to ensure that the information that is stored is ‘clean’, positive and constructive. This is important as its retrieval will have a significant effect on the individual’s thoughts and actions. Of course, it is not possible to remove the negative files from the sub-conscious, but building on the positive experiences helps to reduce the negative effects of past experiences.
Additional Poems By Dorothy Parker Essay, Research Additional Poems By Dorothy Parker Threnody Lilacs blossom just as sweet Now my heart is shattered. If I bowled it down the street, Who's to say it mattered? If there's one that rode away What would I be missing? Lips that taste of tears, they say, Are the best for kissing. Eyes that watch the morning star Seem a little brighter; Arms held out to ...
Love is the most important quality with which a human being is endowed from birth. Love is interrelated to all other values. When love is combined with discernment from our ‘conscience’, or ‘the inner self’, it is Truth. The Absolute Truth is changeless throughout space and time. Basically, this Truth resides within ourselves and we call it by different names – conscience, ‘inner self’. It is also referred to as the creative spark or intelligence within ourselves.
When the actions are based on the dictates of the ‘inner self’, they become Right Action or Right Conduct. The term Right Conduct is used, as there is no other equivalent term in the English language to describe the Sanskrit word Dharma to which it relates. Dharma refers to righteousness or moral action derived not from some external forces, but through an individual’s own perception of what is ‘right’. The five senses (smell, taste, sight, touch and sound) receive the information from the external world, but for the resultant action to be Right Action, interaction with the ‘inner self’ and love is necessary. ‘Right Conduct’ can be explained in relation to a number of related values. Examples of these are: courage, dependability, determination, helpfulness, politeness, perseverance, resourcefulness, etc.
When Right Action and Truth are practised, Peace follows. Peace is related to the recognition and management of feelings and emotions that are stored in the sub-conscious mind through past experiences. If, as a result of information from outside, the conscious mind retrieves some negative files from the sub-conscious mind, the resultant action may not be right action and in itself may add another negative file in the memory.
On the other hand, if the conscious mind (Head) refers the possible action to the ‘inner self’ (Heart), the resultant action will be the right action (Hands).
Thus SSEHV is also 3HV – Head, Heart and Hands.
A person full of inner peace and love, following his/her conscience, will not act with violence: emotionally, verbally or physically. Thus, Non-violence is the final culmination of all other values. Non-violence relates to Non-violation. Non-violence is present when people do not violate self or others. It includes concern for all living beings in the form of Universal Compassion.
As world populations continue to grow exponentially, teachers are facing a new problem in classrooms- the large number of children. With more children, it is more difficult to teach new subjects in a short amount of time. Teachers have little time to help individual students struggling because the rest of the class is already excelling on the subject and wants to learn something new. Not only do ...
The reflection and the spark that has come out of Love is called Truth. The same Love when expressed in action is called Right Conduct. When Love is contemplated upon, mind attains supreme Peace. When we inquire from where this Love comes, and understand its source, then we realize the great principle of Non-violence.
(Sathya Sai, in T Jareonsettasin, ed, 1997, pp, 16-17)
THE TEACHING APPROACHES
The SSEHV programme, based on the five human values has three distinct approaches. These are:
· The Direct Method
· Integration of values in curriculum subjects
· Integration of values in extra-curricular activities
The SSEHV programme has proved to be a powerful tool in promoting the overall development of the child in situations where it is used with full commitment.
The Five Human Values and Child Development
Various studies have charted the emotional behavioural patterns of adults to the problems of emotional adjustments in early years. Hoffman’s study on empathy referred to by Goleman (1996), for example, illustrated a natural progression in empathy from infancy onwards. As early as the age of two, children begin to differentiate between their own feelings and those of others. Goleman stressed that to be most effective, emotional lessons must be linked to the development of the child and should be repeated at different stages that fit into the child’s changing understanding. It is increasingly recognised that some teaching of social and emotional skills should ideally start in pre-school years as these years are marked by development of “social emotions” such as feelings of insecurity, envy, pride, confidence and empathy. The early school years, 5 or 6 to 11 years are most crucial as the emotional growth is intricately linked with other developments which include cognition and biological maturation.
The core value in the SSEHV programme is Love. In practical terms, the development of love and empathy are taught through a set of related values as we will discuss presently. By positively reinforcing these values from an early age, it is expected that the child will be supported by positive influences adding positive memory “files” in the sub-conscious. Sathya Sai states that education must lead to a “broadening of the heart”. This term encompasses expansion of love and consciousness and universal compassion.
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INFLUENCES ON THE CHILD
The most important influence on a child, especially in the early years, is the parent and home environment.
Coles (1997) points out that basically all young people – sons, daughters, students – are looking for moral, as well as psychological, and cognitive direction. Babies need to learn yes and no. Elementary school children need to learn how to get on with others. Teenagers have even more difficult a task as they are learning to cope with physical maturation of their bodies and are, at the same time, put under tremendous pressure by peers, and by media influences. So how should we, as parents and teachers, convey our principles, values and convictions to the next generation? Most of the time we respond to the situations with our instincts.
We possess in our hearts, our bones, our guts (wherever our particular anatomy of moral intuition would locate it) an ethical sense of things, and we draw on it constantly. We also know way down within ourselves how eagerly most children look for moral clues from their parents, their teachers. (Coles, 1997, p170)
The current social trends in relation to the changing family patterns – an increase in one parent families, multiple partners and the shifts in the employment patterns with a greater proportion of women working – place tremendous pressures on those in charge of children’s upbringing and welfare.
The Influence of TV
The other big influence on the children’s home environment comes from the TV, video, video games and recently from the internet. Various scientific studies have been conducted to study the influence of TV on the young child. Dr Johnson (1999, unpublished) refers to the various studies (Fischer et al, 1991, Singer, 1989) which show how violence seen on the TV leads to more aggressive behaviour in children. Everett (1997), points out that we don’t allow our children to talk to strangers, yet through television we allow strangers into the minds and souls of our children everyday. These “strangers” (advertising agencies) are creating the standards for what is “good”, or developmentally appropriate, for the developing brains of our children.
Johnson also referred to the studies (Healy, 1990, Pearce, 1992, Buzzell, 1998, Winn, 1985) which draw the attention to the possibility that the actual act of viewing television could have a potentially damaging effect to the brain of a developing child greater than the actual content of what is on TV. She further points out that the heart is now seen as an organ of perception that can respond to a stimulus and release a hormone-like substance that influences the brain’s activity.
This phenomenon is referred to as our heart intelligence. Television cannot give us this intelligence of the heart.
If the heart, like the brain and probably the rest of our body, gives off electromagnetic waves (Pearce,1992, Tiller, 1999) then there is a form of subtle energy that only can be experienced between human beings by relating to each other in physical space. (Johnson,1999,p7)
The Role of the Teacher
The teacher has a very important role to play. The Sathya Sai Education in Human Values Programme stresses the importance of the teacher in providing a role model. As values are being taught by example, the teacher has to live the values to be able to convey them. If, for example, we want the children to arrive in time, it follows that as teachers, we have to be punctual. If we want to teach that ‘honesty is the best policy’, then this has to be reflected in the daily behaviour of staff as the children learn through observation much more than through formal lessons. As teachers, we also should be aware that it is not just the formal teaching that influences a child. We convey a meta-message through our appearance, voice, posture and general mannerism. Values education is one area where there is not much scope for a distance between teaching and practice.
Others have recognised the role of the teacher in conveying and promoting values. Carr for example concludes that:
But all this precisely reinforces the main point of this paper that there cannot be any space for shortfall between the values which a teacher holds and professes in his personal life and what is expected of him in his professional life that might be possible in other occupations. Because values are, of their essence, kinds of commitment, and because a proper grasp of their significance requires first hand experience of their operations and practical consequences, an effective teacher of values can only be the individual who exhibits them in his personal life . (Carr, 1993, p 205).
(Carr,1993, p 205)
The Direct Method: SSEHV
The main purpose of this approach is to help children learn the values in an illustrative and enjoyable way. The five teaching components are used: Theme for the week (Quotations/Positive Thoughts/Prayer), Silent sitting, Story, Song, and Group activities.
The children benefit from this approach as it gives them an opportunity to:
· Explore and discover for themselves what right and wrong mean.
· Develop greater empathy and therefore more compassion for others.
· Take greater responsibility for their actions.
· Discover how to be happy, confident and responsible members of society.
The five values are conveyed through a number of related values which are summarised below for illustration, although many more can be added under each main value.
TRUTH: Integrity, Wisdom, Common sense, Creativity, Discrimination.
RIGHT CONDUCT: Respect for parents, Respect for teachers, Honesty, Good manners, Regard for duty.
PEACE: Humility, Simplicity, Equanimity, Tolerance, Patience, Satisfaction, Discipline.
LOVE: Gentleness, Compassion, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Kindness, Caring for others, Friendliness.
NON-VIOLENCE: Concern for environment, Unity; Harmony, Social awareness, Respect for all religions.
Let us briefly consider each of the five components.
Theme for the week
This is the focus of the whole lesson and may be represented by a quotation, prayer or poem. This component is a powerful tool that can be used in assembly and can help to counterbalance the negative images transmitted to children through TV, VCR, etc. Children are asked to discuss the theme or quotation as appropriate.
There was an owl lived in an oak.
The more he heard, the less he spoke.
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Why aren’t men like that wise old bird?
(Punch magazine 1776)
“Men” refers to humankind.
Benefits of dynamic thinking/ positive thoughts/ quotations/poetry: It encourages positive thinking; helps develop self-confidence, introspection, humility.
The importance of introspection is recognised by many. For example, McGettrick, states that:
It is by no means obvious how in our educational practices, we educate the ‘inner self’. It seems to me that this will be a crucial area for our attention in the twenty first century in Britain and a great deal of thought needs to go into thinking about it. (McGettrick, 1995, p3)
Children are encouraged to sit quietly for a few minutes every day. It is a very powerful tool because with constant practice children become more receptive and intuitive.
It is recommended that every class should start, if possible, with a couple of minutes of this exercise. The regular use of this tool will reduce the class noise and improve concentration. Silent sitting can be introduced in various ways.
Examples of these exercises include:
· Relaxation by alternately tensing and relaxing different parts of the body.
· Self awareness through listening to different sounds and speech.
· Self-awareness through becoming aware of one’s breathing.
· Taking part in a guided visualisation exercise.
Normally these exercises are done with eyes closed.
The teacher has an important role to play as the guidance given through the voice has an impact on the children. The speed and tone of delivery are important to its success.
The benefits of silent sitting are: improved memory, better concentration, feeling at peace, equipoise, self-control, better intuition. Silent sitting is a very effective tool for young children especially in the age group 5-11 years and helps them to be in touch with their ‘inner-self’. The need for this is widely recognised.
Story telling is an ancient art. Long before the introduction of writing, information was passed down in the form of stories. Most religious and world leaders have used story telling to explain and illustrate their teachings. Stories have a deep effect on children. Something told in the form of stories will be remembered and treasured, which otherwise might soon have been forgotten. Story telling is a very good vehicle to convey values, stimulate imagination and create fun and participation in the lesson. At the end of the story, the teacher acts as a facilitator and motivates the children to participate in a general discussion around the issues arising from the story. Children are invited to share their feelings, express their views and relate their own life experiences.
To summarise, story telling helps to develop listening skills, generates interest, develops creativity, imparts knowledge and provides inspiration.
Johnson, for example, lists a number of activities that can stimulate children intellectually. She recommends,
Read a lot of books to your children (especially ones without lots of pictures) and tell your children lots of stories…. Telling your children a story helps to stimulate their internal picture making possibilities. (Johnson,1999, p8)
The importance of music is increasingly recognised.
In the education of the future, music for every person will be deemed as necessary as reading and writing is at present, for it will be clearly seen that it is a most powerful means for bringing life, health and strength. (Prentice Mulfors ‘Thought forces’)
Most children like to sing, but may be shy to sing on their own. Singing creates a joyful atmosphere and is a good way of creating unity, harmony and self-confidence in children. The effect of song remains with the person long after the class is finished and the values that are in the lyrics will remain in the child’s consciousness for a long time. Recent research has confirmed the positive effect of music in a variety of situations including class work.
Benefits of group singing include: promotes health (breathing), creates harmony and co-operation, strengthens the memory, brings joy in the class room and helps build good character.
Group activities consist of two words : Group and Activities. These words convey their meaning and importance.
All round development of children requires them to grow up and get on well with others. Children learn to communicate, co-operate and share with one another. They need to be effective listeners too. One of the main purposes of group activities is for the children to learn how to work and play in a harmonious way. Group activities include: role play and drama, games, quizzes, group discussions, and art and craft work.
Johnson (1999) points out that all activities in which children use their hands, feet and whole body in performing purposeful physical activities, help develop children’s gross motor skills and myelinate pathways in the higher brain. Activities such as knitting, woodworking, origami, string games, finger games, circle games, painting, drawing and colouring help develop fine motor skills and also myelinate pathways to the higher brain.
The benefits of group activities in addition to the above include: develop co-operation, creativity, sharing, unity, harmony, team work, and listening to others’ opinions.
A typical EHV hour can take various forms. We can take one of the five values as the theme and use a particular related value. We can then use all the five teaching components. Although only one related value is made explicit, the story or song may contain other values too which children will be encouraged to explore in discussion. The lesson need not use all the five components in one hour although use of silent sitting and positive thought or prayer is recommended.
It should be noted that a number of related values are labelled under each main values but in many ways they can be interchanged. Ultimately, all the five values have their origin in Love.
Thus there is considerable scope for the development of the teaching approach. The crucial role is assigned to the teacher.
The impact of the lesson plan does not necessarily lie in any one of the methods or even in the specific value itself, but it is the combination of the values and the components which provides its uniqueness. Furthermore, over time, the purpose is to develop the “inner connectedness” of the child.
Integration of values in the Curriculum subjects and Extra-curricular Activities
The subjects are taught in each country according to the national curriculum requirements. However, it is still possible to integrate the teaching of values in all the subject areas which include arts subjects such as History, Geography and Languages and also science subjects. As one value is taken as the theme of the week, it is possible for other teachers to integrate values as far as possible in their own subject areas. Subjects such as History and Geography lend more easily to the teaching of values. The lives of great persons can be very illustrative of values conveyed.
Jumsai (1997) provides a demonstration of how values can be integrated into Sciences and Mathematics. Burrows (1997) discusses and illustrates the integration of human values in Arts subjects and Extra-Curricular activities.
In Home Economics, the teacher may decide to offer an open choice to students from a range of related values. Activities can then be constructed around this theme. Example: Students can be asked to make pizzas starting from costing (budgeting and not wasting); buying ingredients (working co-operatively; good manners to sales staff); baking the pizzas (awareness, cleanliness and care) and then sharing the pizzas between themselves and with others, eating them with thanks and gratitude, then clearing up afterwards with friendship – all involving group activities. Different reactions and responses can be expected in terms of willingness to share, clear up, etc. This can become the focal point of the EHV hour in terms of final discussion analysing how they felt and what feelings were present. Both positive and negative feelings should be identified and accepted. They can then be discussed without criticism.
In the UK, the Good Values Club run by Dipak Fakey, at Abbey Primary School in Leicester, has set an excellent example showing how values can be conveyed through games as a lunchtime activity and after school activity, in addition to formal classes in PSHE. The school has received a special acclaim in its OFSTED report. Currently, the Sathya Sai Monthly Newsletter which is available through the Sathya Sai website gives suggestions on how to integrate values in curriculum subjects.
Taplin (2002) makes some practical suggestions on addressing contemporary problems in schools through the use of the five values.
Being more truthful in dealing with pupils or colleagues does not mean that one has to be blunt or hurt somebody else’s feelings by telling them something unkind. But it does mean telling in a thoughtful way.
One way that teachers can model right action is by taking advantage of every incidental opportunity to talk to the children about behaviours that are acceptable and those that are not. Constantly reinforcing positive behaviour is another way to encourage right action.
Teachers can contribute significantly to a quality classroom environment and hence model appropriate values to pupils by finding ways to be able to feel a constant state of peace themselves…. Speaking to them in an appropriate tone will help them to recognise the importance of remaining in a constant peace… Responding to pupils with gentleness provides a model that helps them in the development of their own inner peace.
When dealing with an angry child it can be helpful to use a “time-out” place where a child can “cool down” to a state where it is feasible to reason with her. When the child has settled down, the teacher is able to discuss the reason for conflict and the consequences of being angry.
Make pupils aware of the physical damage to health that can be caused by excessive anger and by suppressing it – teach them to see that conflict, if properly managed, can be a constructive way to grow and learn.
Interact with colleagues and pupils from heart to heart rather than head to head. Teachers who consciously practise acting and reacting to their pupils and their colleagues with compassion and acceptance find that their interactions are more positive because they are able to respond to the situations around them with a different attitude and they are able to be more accepting of others’ faults and weaknesses.
Modelling non-violence can incorporate values such as making sure that actions and words do not harm another person, showing genuine pleasure when somebody does well in some venture and showing concern for conservation and the environment.
Non-violence also means showing respect and understanding of the diversity of people’s faiths and cultures around us.
To summarise, the three approaches used in the SSEHV programme provide a powerful system to elevate the development of the whole child nurtured in a value-oriented environment paying full attention at the same time to the requirements of the national curriculum.
The most comprehensive study is the evidence from the schools in Zambia the first of which was started in 1992. Kanu (2001) referring to the transformation power of human values reported on the independent research conducted by Dr Peter Chomba Manchishi, of the School of Education, University of Zambia. Most of the pupils before joining the Sathya Sai School at Ndola were undisciplined, poor academically and also spiritually and morally. Today most of them have changed for the better. There is evidence that SSEHV had an impact on the pupils, teachers and parents. For the last five years, the School has attained 100% pass results for grade 9 and grade 12 pupils. The school was the first in Zambia to have 100% of the grade 12 pupils achieve top division marks gaining them all a university place.
Although, the impact of the programme in terms of changes in behaviour and the academic results is visible in most cases, the SSEHV programme has a lasting long term effect on the child which may not be easily measurable.
Kanu has given a lead in the practical application of the Human Values approach to Water Management in Africa. He concludes:
With rapid globalization and urbanization, our societies are increasingly becoming multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual. Widening income disparity is a fact of life in most African societies. For stability and prosperity amid such wide diversity, our society must draw upon, as never before, its reserve of values such as humanism, sharing and caring and respect for the dignity of the individual. The five human values: Love, Peace, Truth, Right Conduct and Non-violence, which are inherent in every human being, are the perennial streams which alone can provide sustenance to the nurturing of these societal values in young minds.
Water education provides a practical and useful context to inculcate these Human Values through formal as well as non-formal channels of education.
(Kanu, 2001, p 35).
BEING a CITIZEN in MULTI-ETHNIC BRITAIN: the role of education
The project is initiated by the Values Education Council of the United Kingdom (VEC, UK).
The VEC was established in 1995 to promote and develop values education and values in education, to help individuals develop as responsible and caring persons and live as participating members of a pluralist society. VEC has been running a Dialogue project co-ordinated by SAPERE and Antidote and the Values Education Council which began with an annual conference on the Value of Dialogue in October 2000. Dialogue is seen as a particularly effective way to learn because it engages us emotionally as well as stimulates thinking.
VEC shares the vision of a multicultural state ‘based on a shared commitment to diversity and dialogue within the framework of a broadly agreed body of common values’. (B Parekh, ICA, Diversity Lecture)
We are all too aware of the heavy responsibilities of the teachers with multiple duties in addition to delivering the curriculum requirements. We are also aware that the stress level of teachers, as indeed of many other public service workers, is very high.
It is in this context that this project aims to create a positive dialogue within the teaching communities. The human values approach emphasises that teachers have to live the values to be able to convey them to the class. The teachers need to have positive approaches. Some practical ways of creating a positive classroom environment using the human values approach were suggested earlier.
The second project complements this by aiming to encourage teachers and schools to be ‘listening communities’ to meet the diverse needs of the pupils.
The Parekh Report (The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, Profile Books, 2000) views Britain as both a community of citizens and a community of communities. It reiterated that every society needs to be cohesive as well as respectful of diversity and must find ways of nurturing diversity while fostering a common sense of belonging and shared identity among its members.
The Macpherson Report (The Report of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, 1999) identified institutional racism as a major cause of social exclusion in Britain. The existence of racism extends in all areas of public life including education. The Report made specific recommendations on:
· The amendment of the National Curriculum so that it might prevent racism and reflect the needs of a diverse society
· The prevention of racial harassment and monitoring of school exclusion.
· The role of OFSTED inspections in these processes.
Last summer’s disturbances in a number of the North of England towns has led to a number of reports :
· ‘Community Pride not Prejudice – Making Diversity Work in Bradford’, Sir Herman Ouseley, July, 2001.
· ‘Oldham Independent Review Panel Report, One Oldham, One Future’, David Ritchie, December, 2001.
· Report of the Burnley Task Force, Chaired by Lord Clarke, December 2001.
· ‘Building Cohesive Communities: A Report of the Ministerial Group on Public Order and Community Cohesion’, Home Office, December, 2001′, (Denham Report).
· ‘Community Cohesion, A Report of the Independent Review Team, Chaired by Ted Cantle, London’, Home Office, December, 2001).
All these reports have recommendations on wide ranging issues to include citizenship and shared values, community cohesion, immigration, diversity, and education. The Cantle Team, for example, has called for a national debate to help develop shared principles of citizenship.
Despite the number of such Reports, the strengthening of legal provisions under the Race Relations Act 2000, and the Citizenship curriculum, there is a great need to have a positive understanding of what is involved in terms of the delivery of education. Unless teachers are comfortable with their feelings on these issues, providing them with a curriculum structure alone will not yield the desired results.
To illustrate in a broader context, for example, in the ensuing debate at the publication of Parekh Report which stirred up a lot of debate on the concept of ‘Britishness’, Stuart Hall (one of the members of the Commission on Parekh Report) made an important observation:
‘How do you dig it so deep into the culture so that it is not just a matter of policy or of academic debate, but it is a matter of hearts and minds? How do you change the culture so that when people say ‘Britain’s finest hour’ they see, as well as the young English and British people who (you know) kept Germans at Bay, they also see the West Indian and Indian pilots who volunteered to come and do something for Britain in 1939?’ (The Runnymede Quarterly Bulletin, March 2001).
In a recent House of Lords Debate on Multi-ethnicity and Multi-culturalism (20 March 2002), Lord Parekh leading the debate, put the question to the Government as follows:
‘Since our national curriculum does not fully reflect the great sacrifices of ethnic minorities in defending Britain and its civilisation 60 years ago and their contribution towards making this country rich and prosperous, what are the Government doing to set the record straight and suitably revise the national curriculum?’
The Project Proposal
It is in this wider context that the project proposal has emerged. The national curriculum has rightly stated that education influences and reflects the kind of society we want to be. However, we must also accept that education practices which reflect and celebrate multi-ethnicity and cultural diversity and have structures and policies in place, which are directed to racial equality and are inclusive in all areas of school life, are yet to be realised for most schools in Britain.
We believe that work of voluntary organisations is important in creating a dialogue locally and through this process help schools to develop their own approaches and practices.
We are inviting schools from the Gateshead and Newcastle area to participate in Dialogue workshops in the next academic year. The programme will take the form of three one-day workshops initially. The timings and venue are under planning, but provisionally they are likely to be between November 2002 and May 2003. This will be followed by school centred work.
Three themes have been selected:
1. Teaching and Learning Strategies: a dialogic approach.
The first phase of the project will offer mentors and learners an opportunity to reflect on the dialogic strategies available in their own contexts. There will be a need to explore networks of expertise in the local area, reflect on strengths and weaknesses and the potential partnerships with the education community. This is the first step in creating the dialogical relations necessary to the project.
Member organisations of VEC have particular expertise to respond to different levels of the dialogical task. We describe this as the intrapersonal, interpersonal and group levels of learning.
1. Intrapersonal dialogue.
At this level we are concerned with the inner dialogue. We explore counselling and psychotherapeutic strategies which respond to personal needs. We rehearse the inner dialogue associated with cognitive development, examine its association with philosophical inquiry and relate it to the personal search of religious and moral education. The emphasis for teachers is on understanding the process and strategies for developing awareness, insight, empathy and moral development. We provide opportunities for paired work and group work, but the learning focus is personal. It is the I which is important.
2. Interpersonal dialogue
At this level, we are focused on the I-We interface. Dialogical relations mean that what I can do alone may not be what we can do together. How do we understand and react to the tensions in interaction? In an ethnic minority context the inner dialogue may be thought to be sound in terms of knowing what is right, but how the individual behaves in interpersonal relationships under group pressure may challenge personal ethics. Interpersonal-perspective taking can break down under stress. Working on assertiveness, ethical dilemmas, discussion strategies in the classroom, developing group work and exploring the capacity for deliberative competence within the interpersonal context, helps to increase understanding awareness and skill in addressing these challenges.
3. Group dialogue
In a similar way we can observe that the intra-personal and interpersonal dialogues rehearsed in school may break down in stressful situations in the community. Civil society consists of public spheres where questions of belief and faith, morality, world view and philosophy of education are played out.
Members of VEC have contributed to the development of dialogue in different contexts so that these questions can be reflected on and the dynamics of power, decision-making and decision-taking can be understood.
We ask all teachers to develop an understanding of the connections between these strategies. We do not expect all teachers to become skilled exponents of the strategies, but rather to have experienced them. We are interested in teachers’ understanding of the different levels of the task, so that it might inform the development of their own communication style in the classroom.
Strategies are not to be acquired to be put on as teachers walk into the classroom – they have to be lived. VEC believes that it is by putting a dialogical metaphor, rather than a curriculum delivery metaphor, at the heart of education that schools can achieve their educational potential.
Theme 2. Connecting with multi-ethnicity and cultural diversity; listening, communicating and interrelating with focus primary school years
We hope to use the insights gained through the Value of Dialogue project applying these to our concerns on multi-ethnicity and cultural diversity. It is based on the principles of schools becoming listening communities and developing as communities of inquiry around the notion of being a citizen in multi-ethnic Britain.
We also hope to use the Sathya Sai EHV framework in the context of the issues relating to multi-ethnicity and cultural diversity and offer personal and social development programmes that incorporate these and the curriculum aspects.
The report by Blair and Bourne et al (DfEE, 2000) investigated school practices in over 20 multi-ethnic schools, to examine how these schools were attempting to raise the achievements of all students while taking into account the diverse needs of ethnic group students. They identified various features of an effective school.
Some of these were:
· Strong and determined lead on equal opportunities given by the head teacher.
· High expectations of students shared across the staff and with the students
· A clear and effective whole school organisation – good structures, good contact with parents, good feedback and communicating the outcomes clearly.
The authors conclude that in addition to these known indicators of effectiveness, to be successful, multi-ethnic schools need to add a particular slant: the recognition of group (historical, cultural, and linguistic) needs, strengths, disadvantages and perceptions. They conclude:
Our study suggests that the most successful multi-ethnic schools develop practices (such as the development of a curriculum inclusive of the histories and cultures of children in the school), show ability to listen and learn from parents, to perceive the students’ own cultures and the school ethos as students see them and are willing to reappraise and adapt school practices in light of these. (Blaire and Bourne, pp 169-170).
Realising these goals would involve providing professional and personal development training to teachers which facilitate these processes and would commit organisational resources to developing new programmes specifically related to education in a multi-ethnic society and with special reference to working in contexts of linguistic diversity.
Such programmes could include generic modules on:
The value of dialogue, The development of emotional literacy, The development of philosophical inquiry, Understanding linguistics, Developing ethical fitness, Towards a deliberative democracy, Developing moral communities, Sathya Sai EHV, Spiritual, Personal, Social, Cultural, Moral and Curriculum Development.
Theme 3. Building Multi-ethnicity and Cultural Diversity in the National Curriculum with special focus on personal, social, cultural and moral development and the citizenship curriculum
The National Curriculum 2000 for England does not provide specific guidance on how multi-ethnicity and cultural diversity are to be incorporated into the school curriculum.
Some ideas on how this can be done incorporating a human values approach are outlined each month in the Sathya Sai Newsletter. The Runnymede Trust Handbook on Equality Assurance in Schools (1993) gives a framework on integration of equality issues into the curriculum areas. A new and revised Handbook is due to be published shortly. This part of the project will explore these areas of curriculum delivery in-depth.
The final follow up phase will help develop teaching and learning strategies for specific schools in a co-operative and developmental way. This phase will be school-centred and negotiated school by school with a mentor from the project team.
It was argued by Majmudar (1998 and 1999) that in the context of the deep human crisis at the end of the twentieth century, the education of future citizens needs to be redressed so that a better balance is achieved between academic excellence and human values and moral perceptions. It was concluded that the SSEHV programme, which has a good international track record and is cross-cultural, fulfils these requirements without replacing any other resource materials and can be adapted to different cultural settings and the national curricula.
Majmudar (2000) concluded, “The making of moral citizens in the context of SSEHV must mean persons with ‘human excellence’ which includes, in addition to academic abilities, strength of character and persons equipped with ‘inner resources’, ready to fulfil their role in the family, the society, the nation and the global community of which they are part.”
The present paper has outlined the contribution of the Human Values approach in the context of education for peace. The core principle of Sathya Sai EHV is to provide an environment in which the balanced development of the whole child can take place. The child which is thus “connected” will have little difficulty in resolving conflicts in the external world and accept and celebrate ethnic and cultural diversity. The programme can be adopted to improve the classroom environment in any situation.
The current educational priorities and issues create an additional need to provide teachers with resources in the form of dialogic approaches of learning. These ideas are at a preliminary stage and will be piloted locally initially. However, there is scope to improve and empower teachers to work towards practices in their own context.