Students of all ages--in the Northern Hemisphere at least, are back in school, or will be heading back within the week. We've all heard or perhaps have been part of, conversations about schools and what they aren't doing, or we have reacted to new regulations. This could be in Kincross, Scotland talking about the UK national curriculum, or in Tijuana, Mexico, debating the substance of reform measures being advocated by President Enrique Pena Nieto. There is the conversation about children not being taught the basic skills necessary to compete in a future high-tech workforce when, more than likely--the jobs we think of now won't even exist by the time a first grader graduates from college. This fact alone has to alter our thoughts about education programs.
Issues facing education at all levels are complex, just as Angu Walters' painting above, and aren't easily answered. Whose insights might we want to consider? Perhaps the innovative ideas being put into practice by TED prize winner, Sugata Mehta's Sole Toolkit; or Sir Ken Robinson's thoughts on the development of creativity and innovation in education. Take a look at the Charter's Education Compassion Reader and explore "Thinking about Education". This section of the Reader provides background information and or video presentations on radical ("getting to the root") and transformational ideas for the classroom and beyond, from pre-school to graduate school, and within community-based settings. In addition, "Successful Education Models and Organizations" presents new approaches that demonstrate a significant measure of success globally. You will also find a special section on investigating compassion and other related skills (i.e., altruism, empathy, forgiveness, gratitude, happiness, integrity, justice, kindness, mindfulness, resilience, self-compassion, and responsibility), as well as finding ways that they can be applied to education.
If you are a teacher, administrator, student, parent, grandparent or just care about education, this newsletter is for you. Below you'll find introductions to articles and resources that link back to the Charter's Education sector on our website.
Join Our Education Conference Call on September 9th. We hope all who are interested will join us. The call will be 90 minutes long, and you need to register for the call with Maestro Conference. We have the capacity to have up to 500 comfortably on the call. Before you go to Maestro, you'll want to check to see what time the call will happen in your part of the world. Consult the World Clock—Time Converter. Start with Seattle at 6:00 AM and enter your city in the field and click on convert.
If you click on this link you'll be taken to Maestro where you'll be asked to register and given a pin number. On the date of the Conference, call in using the number you were given and enter your access code.
If you want to learn more about calling into Maestro from outside the U.S. click here and learn how you can download MC Dialer or receive special instructions for using SKYPE.
The speaker for the Education call will be Olivia McIvor. Olivia is an international speaker, researcher and change agent dedicated to inspiring people to make conscious change. She is a best selling author of three books and numerous personal and professional development tools, and a Compassion Advocate. She consults and advises internationally, teaches university leadership, conducts leading edge research on values, generational trends, and has spoken to audiences around the globe. Olivia's third book, Turning Compassion Into Action: A Movement Towards Taking Responsibility, offers inspiration and practical advice on how we all can take responsibility to make a difference in the world, at work, in our families and in our communities. Learn how one Canadian school successfully used Olivia's book as a text.
With the first day of school just around the corner, teachers across the country are wondering how to incorporate discussions of the violent clashes between the Ferguson, MO., police department and protesters in the weeks after the killing of unarmed 18-year old Michael Brown. How can teachers lead classroom discussions on such difficult and emotional topics as racism and police militarization? How do these types of conversations change based on students’ age or socio-economic background?
A growing number of teachers have connected on Twitter using #FergusonSyllabus, to share suggested readings, discussion topics, and classroom activities for students of any age. Marcia Chatelain, a historian of African-American life and culture and assistant professor in the department of history at Georgetown University, started the hashtag to encourage teacher-facilitated discussions on the events in Ferguson. Read more.
Help to Break a World Record
Kites for Peace is a creative response to the deaths of children affected by armed conflict around the world and inspired by the kites 13,000 Gazan children flew in 2011 to break a global record. The goal is to empower children from around the world to fly their kites and go beyond the 13,000 mark by November 20, Universal Children’s Day. The platform uses interfaith ethics education modules to engage conversation and meaningful action in the home, schools, and communities of participating children in terms of what violence means in their own experience and relating it to the bigger conflict in their own countries and other parts of the world. Learn more and join in the work of Kites for Peace.
Help Stop Bullying the Planet
This is the fourth year that Voices Compassionate Education has compiled a new edition of Words and Violence under the stewardship of Barbara Kaufmann. The emphasis in this edition is on Mother Earth, and how resilient she has been in the wake of our endless "bullying." We've all heard stories of climate change, deforestation, global warming, pollution, and the misuse of our natural resources. This new edition helps concretize the planet's reality, and offers hope for a new beginning, providing ways to take our concern and move us to action.
Voices Education is the education arm of the Charter for Compassion International. The Charter is committed through its work and network of partners to bring compassion to the earth and all living things that call this place "home." You might want to visit the Charter's site, and explore the Compassionate Environment Reader while you are there. Read the full introduction to Words and Violence on the Voices Compassion Education site and find links to all four editions.
School League Compassion Games Announced
Somewhere between Homecoming and Halloween there’s a new event transforming campuses across the country. The School League Compassion Games, held October 15th to October 25th, are a time for students, faculty and staff to showcase their existing compassionate projects and start new ones.
High schools and colleges, public and private, are invited to join the passion for compassion by letting their hearts and deeds make a difference at school, at home and in their communities. What makes the games unique is that campuses are all sharing the magic and healing power of kind words, service and generosity during the same ten day period. Each participating school has the opportunity to report the difference they’ve made to the larger education community thanks to compassiongames.org. Every school shares in the collective difference they’ve made as a campus and as a league. Read two articles by the Games Education Coach, Rahbin Shyne, and get more information on the October Games, view a powerpoint on the Games, and a matrix to help you with planning the games.
The Giraffe Project: Making a Difference in a Challenging World
In classrooms all across the United States and in English-speaking schools abroad, Giraffe programs give schools and youth groups a powerful approach to kids, one that fosters courageous compassion, active citizenship and academic success.
Our materials were developed to reach kids from 5-year-olds through the teens, from kindergarten to past high school. All Giraffe programs combine service-learning, character education, civic engagement and, in Voices of Hope, literacy training. All feature the stories of Giraffe Heroes—the real people honored by the Giraffe Heroes Project for sticking their necks out for the common good.
The teaching guides are divided into binders for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-9 amd 10-12. The basic progression in these programs is Hear the story, Tell the story, Be the story. It's sound pedagogy, using the power of story to engage young hearts and minds, constantly drawing forth their own concerns and their own creativity and altruism. Throughout the process, they find and use the many academic skills they need to achieve goals they've set for themselves. Learn more about the Giraffe Project. Get free material. Learn how to nominate a hero and read stories of how students are sticking out their necks to make a difference.
Eight Ways to Teach Compassion
by Signe Whitson
Whenever I have the occasion to speak with professionals and parents about the challenges of bringing an end to bullying in schools and communities, I emphasize that "big" solutions -- such as policies, procedures, and trainings (I say, humbly, as a Bullying Prevention trainer) are trumped each and every day by the seemingly little, yet extraordinarily powerful, acts of compassion and kindness that adults show to the young people in their lives. In turn, experts agree that fostering compassion in young people is among the best ways to prevent verbal, physical, and emotional aggression from taking root. Below, I detail eight ways to help your child and/or student develop compassion both as a character trait and a behavioral style:
In recent years, rubber wristbands have become a ubiquitous symbol of causes and concerns. While most of the messages are positive and inspiring, I must admit that their sheer common-ness resulted in me stopping reading the various messages on friends' wrists. Until recently. I noticed a two-tone band that a relative was turning over and felt compelled to ask about it. It was a Compassion It band, she explained. Every morning, she puts the band on her wrist with its black side facing outward, as a personal reminder to act compassionately toward someone else. When such an act is committed each day, she turns the bracelet to its white side.
What a great idea -- so simple, yet such a powerful reminder to prioritize kindness and make compassion a part of her everyday routine. Needless to say, I went online and bought a band for myself and one for each of my daughters right away. Does this turn compassion into a chore, you may ask. Am I making kindness into a To-Do list item for my kids, you wonder. Nope, not at all, I say with confidence. Quite the contrary: the bands have turned compassion into an everyday topic of conversation in our household and has effectively elevated kindness into a priority in each of our days. Best. Bracelet. Ever. Read the full article.
Schools can use COMPASSION IT wristbands to introduce the concept of compassion, and they can use them for fundraising! Learn more at www.compassionit.com.
Kindness Counts @ School
by Olivia McIvor
The Kindness Counts @ School Toolkits (lesson plans) were designed as a proactive character building program. We purposely took a positive, proactive approach rather than focusing on anything negative. Our goal is to improve student’s understanding of the power of individual words and actions in the creation of a positive, accepting, safe, and kind school culture. This understanding, like all learning, will reach beyond the school to enrich their lives and the lives of others within the greater community.
The resource includes a series of lessons (toolkit) on each of the following aspects of kindness; Courage, Compassion, Integrity, Self-Awareness, Respect, Generosity, Gratitude, Inclusion, and Optimism. The toolkits were developed with an upper intermediate audience in mind and are aligned with the British Columbia, Prescribed Learning Outcomes for Language Arts, Social Studies, and Health and Career Education. However, the toolkits would be appropriate and easily adapted for use at other grade levels. Learn more about the Toolkits and the Kindness Foundation.
Playing For Change arose from a common belief that music has the power to connect people regardless of their differences. In 2005, a small group of film makers set out with a dream to create a film rooted in the music of the streets. Not only has that dream been realized, it has grown into a global sensation that has touched the lives of millions of people around the world.
When the crew set out, they created a mobile recording studio and went around the world filming musicians in the places where they lived. The sound was then mixed, and although the musicians were never in the same room—or even the same country or continent—they were unified through music with each contributing her or his distinct gifts to the whole. While traveling the world to film and record, the crew got to know the music and people of each community they visited. Those involved wanted to give something back to the musicians who had shared so much with them.
In 2007, the Playing for Change Foundation was established as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. Playing for Change's mission is to create positive change through music and arts education. Read more about the Foundation's global programs.
Start Recording Acts of Compassion as Part of a Class Project
a NEW mobile app for daily compassion
The app provides multiple resources to inspire you to discover and practice compassion in your daily life! The app is FREE and available NOW via Apple, Amazon, & Google Play for iPhones, iPads, Android Smartphones, Tablets & Kindle Fire!
To download: go to http://compassiontoday.mobapp.at. Then click on the Apple, Google Play, or Amazon app store option. **When you download, be sure to allow "push notifications" so you can receive simple reminders and info on the latest app features/ update.
Explore a world of compassion resources:daily quotes, news, action tips; "3 Daily Questions" and much more. Read more about the app on the Charter's website.
We believe a compassionate world is a peaceful world. We believe a compassionate world is possible when every man, woman and child treats others as they would wish to be treated - with dignity, equity and respect. We believe all human beings are born with the capacity for compassion, and it must be cultivated for human beings to survive and thrive.
Please become a Compassionate School. Read the Charter for Compassionate Schools and learn what to do after you sign the Charter.
Please become a Member of the Charter for Compassion. Step forward to support the compassion movement materially -- with your money, your time, your connections, your special areas of expertise, and your high expectations.