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Character Education

Peer Educators Reflect on Experiences in Character Education

UPF’s Peer Educator program began in 2007 with young adults traveling to Pohnpei, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and the Gambia. These young educators worked in after-school programs and in community centers as well as in public and private schools. As educators they were not just part of a group, serving a community in need, but teachers—leading and teaching through their example and using UPF’s character education curriculum, Discovering the Real Me.
Belize Report

St. Lucia Report

In 2008, educators returned to the Gambia, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, and programs were added in Jamaica, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Thailand and Sri Lanka. To familiarize yourself with the program, please review the reports via the links below.

Jamaica Report

St. Lucia Report

Trinidad and Tobago Report

• What have we learned?

The proposition of taking young adults who had little formal training in education or teaching, and placing them into programs where they were teaching and leading character education programs in foreign countries was unproven at the time.

Two quotes from our educators answer this question definitively:

“When we evaluated the program, we found that the stories in the curriculum were effective in teaching the lessons. Incidents of violence and fighting decreased throughout our time there.”

“We helped students to become more familiar with their consciences, which can serve as a compass when pressure comes to stray from the best path to a happy, successful life.”

• Does the program have a lasting effect on the communities?

In the countries where we returned, we were able to re-establish ties to the local communities and establish longer programs with the same community partners. In several countries in Asia, character education clubs were established with local leadership. In Belize, Ambassadors for Peace have taken the program to every area of the country, introducing programs in schools and community centers. Based upon our work in St. Lucia, Discovering the Real Me is being used by a local college to prepare new teachers.

So the answer is “Yes!” Our Peer Educator Program is working as a spark or catalyst in diverse communities all seeking to re-establish virtues and character in their families, schools and communities.

• What has the experience been like for our Peer Educators?

o “The most significant thing I learned while being a peer educator was to be prepared for anything, think creatively when teaching, and never lose your cool.”

o “To others considering the peer educators program: do it, you'll have a great time. Enter the program feeling confident in yourself and the material, and you'll leave with knowledge of just how powerful your voice can be. The confidence you gain has the power to inspire a class.”

o “We all expressed that while we came to teach, we ended up learning much more than we could have ever imagined. Not only did we learn much about ourselves, teaching, managing a classroom, et cetera, but we were immersed in such a rich culture that we were learning new things every minute.”

o “We were able to recognize the importance of empowering parents and supporting them through our character education programs. We felt that efforts such as workshops that the Parent Teacher Association had held for parents directly related to our work in improving communication between parents and children.”

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