Sunday, 18 March 2007

"We, as educators, must find that balance between the world of the mind and that or the heart and soul. It is the mind that preoccupies our time and that will take us to the information age. But it is the heart and soul that will allow us to remain connected to our own humanity, that will build that bridge between us...and create a good society."
Paul D. Houston

I found this American website which provided me with some ideas about some of the challenges we are facing. Apparently thousands of schools throughout the United States and Canada have become 'Tribes Learning Communities', safe and caring environments in which kids can do well! After years of "fix-it" programs focused on reducing student violence, conflict, drug and alcohol use, absenteeism, poor achievement, etc., educators and parents now agree, creating a positive school or classroom environment is the most effective way to improve behavior and learning.

The Tribes TLC® process is the way to do it. Students achieve because they feel included and appreciated by peers and teachers; are respected for their different abilities, cultures, gender, interests and dreams; are actively involved in their own learning and have positive expectations from others that they will succeed.

The clear purpose of the Tribes process is to assure the healthy development of every child so that each one has the knowledge, skills and resiliency to be successful in a rapidly changing world. The programme has identified the following character traits as the keys to success...respect, responsibility, honesty, trustworthiness, compassion, empathy, justice, fairness, participation/service, kindness, integrity, work ethic, caring social skills.

The programme looks at how can these best of human virtues be instilled in young people living in the midst of our mobile, media bombarded, and changing society? It argues that we need to develop a successful cooperative learning model because it teaches and gives daily practice to important individual and team building skills. Students are encouraged to:
  • Participate fully;
  • Listen attentively;
  • Express appreciation;
  • Reflect on learning experiences;
  • Value diversity of cultures / ideas;
  • Think constructively;
  • Make responsible decisions;
  • Resolve conflict;
  • Solve problems creatively;
  • Work collaboratively on tasks;
  • Assess improvement;
  • Celebrate achievement.

You can find out more about the programme by visiting their website at

What would you add to these list of qualities to transform the character of young people and thus our society? Let me know what you think...


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