Contributed by Ezibu Muntu
By Tanya Dennis
As America moves further away from ethics values and morals within the public square, teaching values to children is more important than ever. In 1995, a curriculum, Living Values Education (LVE) was introduced to the world to fill this vacuum. Living Values Education is a way of conceptualizing education that promotes the development of values-based learning communities and places the search for meaning and purpose at the heart of education.
Most important, LVE does not place the total process of learning values upon the shoulders of the child. LVE realizes the necessity to holistically include parents, teachers and administrators in the process. LVE curriculum reveals the worth and integrity of each person involved in the arena of education, home, school and community. Living Values fosters quality education as it supports the overall development of the individual by creating a culture of positive values within society.
Living Values is a program that trains teachers and administrators to create values-based environments within the classroom and the school. The LVE parent component assists parents in raising their child by addressing cognitive thinking, social and emotional skills. Most important, Living Values teaches students to explore and develop their potential, how to protect themselves from violence, and helps them engage within the community with respect, confidence and purpose.
Ask any teacher in America why some children are disruptive, rebellious or have opted out and one hundred percent will answer, “it’s the parents.”
Unfortunately, many parents are, or were, a kid raising a kid, so poor parenting in many instances is generational. Parents are the first teachers, but how can a parent raise a child if they haven’t had the experience themselves? Not spending quality time with a child is equally detrimental. Children are like gardens, if not nurtured they wither or die.
Even being a good role model is no longer sufficient, as violent movies and video games glorify violence, which youth find attractive and desensitizes them to the effect of such actions. They also too often see “bad” adults rewarded with wealth and fame. Tides of apathy and resentment wash away the idealism and hopes of youth with each wave of more news about corruption, greed, excesses and injustice.
Fortunately, a solution exists. Living Values Education trains teachers and administrators to infuse values in curriculum and their interaction with children. Where values are taught, more instructional time occurs because the student is mentally and socially prepared to learn. Living Values Education helps children and youth explore and develop positive values and move toward their potential and success.
A local African American organization Ezibu Muntu, a cultural and educational institution located in Richmond, has a certified instructor, and more members will attend a training in August for certification. Ezibu Muntu educators, via Living Values Education, have joined a global endeavor to help children and youth, by creating caring, respectful environments where students feel safe and want to learn. Living Values Education Program is proven effective in decreasing violence and bullying, and creating safe, caring school climates which are conducive to quality learning.
As Jacques Delors noted in Learning: The Treasure Within, we must not just educate our children and youth “to know” and “to do”, we must also educate them “to be” and “to live together” (1996). Quality education recognizes the whole person and promotes education that involves the affective domain as well as the cognitive. Values such as peace, love, respect, tolerance, cooperation and freedom, are cherished and aspired for the world over. Such values are the sustaining force of human society and progress.
According to activist, author Marianne Williamson, “There is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world than a transformation in the way we raise our children.”
Teaching values is essential if the community is to learn how to elicit cooperation through relationship, how to break the cycle of failure and begin a new cycle of love and connectedness to the community and the world, as well. LVE has a curriculum that teaches children to care for the world. Living Values won “Teacher’s Choice” Award in 2004 for best curriculum, and has experienced international proven results validating that teaching Living Values in Richmond Schools would be a good idea. http://livingvalues.net