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Character Education

Training St. Lucia Teachers in Character Education

Can you change your students?" asked Mr. Alan Saunders of the teachers gathered for a one-day workshop. Some teachers timidly answered "Yes!" A few others shook their heads in sign of "No!" Mr. Saunders insisted: "Do you really think you can change your students?" This time the "Nos!" were much louder.

Mr. Saunders commented: "You cannot change your students, you can only influence them. How many of you think you can change your spouse?" After a short pause, he continued: "For ten years I thought I could change my wife! ... Do you think that I was successful? No!"

"What is the definition of education by Plato? Education is to lead out of..." and turning to his assistant Mr. Taupier, he repeated " to lead out of ... " Mr. Taupier finished the sentence with the smile of an accomplice: "... to lead out of the cave." Mr. Saunders stressed this point again: "You cannot change your students, you can only influence them and lead them by example."

Enjoying the reading of "The Frog
Prince "

Studying the relevance of the series

Mr. Saunders is the director of the office of Character Education and HIV/AIDS prevention of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and has conducted similar workshops in more than 75 countries.

Mr. Remy Taupier, the person responsible for the St. Lucia's local UPF chapter, explained that three years ago the Ministry of Education and UPF started to cooperate to develop character education in schools. This time, teachers' workshop were held in eleven secondary schools and six primary schools. To date, added to the workshops already done in March, 840 teachers have attended a one–day workshop.

One teacher commented: "These workshops are very timely because the climate in our schools is deteriorating", and after a short hesitation she continued: "The teachers are now expected not only to teach well academically but also to be counselors, doctors, fathers, mothers, etc."

Several studies have shown that with character education, not only do the relationships among students and between students and teachers improve but also the academic result improves.

The goal of these workshops is to bring some support to the teachers. Throughout the day they obtained more understanding, some good ideas, and the confidence how to deal better with the students in their classes.

Seeing the smiles on the faces of the teachers at the end of the day, there was no doubt that they fully enjoyed the workshop.

Group discussion

The Hon. Gaspard Charlemagne, Deputy Minister of Education, addresses the teachers

Some of the comments heard were: "It was very informative and thought provoking ... I attended already many workshop so I was not so enthused to come, but I am glad I came. It was great, I learnt a great deal, it was worthwhile"; "Usually teachers' workshops are about how to teach better, but this workshop was about how to relate better and I feel I will be not only a better teacher but also a better mother at home."

Hon. Gaspard Charlemagne, the Deputy Minister of Education, and Mrs. Ifill, the Chief Education Officer, expressed their gratitude for these teachers' workshops and hope that the UPF will soon be able to offer them to all the teachers who could not yet benefit from these workshops.

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