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Character Education

Training More Micronesian Teachers in Character Education

Pohnpei, Micronesia – Twenty one elementary school teachers participated in a character education teacher-training program in preparation for a new one-year  pilot program scheduled for the Pacific island nation. The seminar was sponsored by Ministry of Education in partnership with UPF Micronesia.

The teacher-training workshop for elementary school teachers, grades one through three, was held at the Kolonia Elementary School on July 28 and 29.

The instructor, Ms. Poppy Richie, is one of the authors of UPF’s Discovering the Real Me character education curriculum. Ms. Richie, who has previously trained teachers in many nations, including most recently St. Lucia and Zambia presented the curriculum and implementation methods used at the Principled Academy, a successful character education school in California.

The hot, humid tropical climate challenged the group’s attention span, but all managed to make it all the way through to receive a certificate at the end of the workshop, along with a gift from the Ministry of Education, a book from Discovering the Real Me for their grade level. The participants wrote positive reflections, and many requested more training in the future.

One teacher, Laurette Rosario, said: “It gave me many ideas on how to improve my students’ behavior. I realized that good behavior results in good grades.” This is one of the main discoveries in research done on schools that have strong character education programs. High academic performance and good behavior go together.

Gertrude, a third grade teacher, said: “It was well-organized. Participants cooperated and I got to know more teachers.” Often teachers feel isolated on the job because they don’t have time to meet and talk with other teachers. The workshop provided lots of time for them to discuss in small groups, which helped teachers to find solutions to some challenges they face. We did several icebreakers, which gave them plenty of opportunity to get to know one another. 

Teachers were invited to socialize after the workshop, during an evening outing with Iso Nahnkin, who is a highly respected traditional leader and UPF board member in Pohnpei. This was a great opportunity to become more familiar with these teachers. We ate and shared at an outside “café” for several hours while being eaten alive by mosquitoes! 

Later on that week, UPF board members enjoyed an overnight outing on an offshore island called Nahlip. This was called a “Unity Camp” with the simple purpose of getting to know one another’s families. We fished, snorkeled, swam, kayaked, shared, and participated in a special welcoming ceremony led Iso Nahnkin’s wife. Rev. Dongsoo Nham, who directs UPF activities on the island, introduced the idea to set up a character education club to continue the initiative.

As we pulled away from Nahlip, we felt connected, and hopeful for a bright future for the youth of Pohnpei, through the development of character education there.

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