Curriculum for Change includes self- discovery of students’ strengths, uniqueness, talents, interests and “passion with purpose” via the arts.
Creative expression of self- identity will result in Self-respect, personal growth & development.
Programs for Change that encourage critical/divergent thinking, analysis, evaluation & application promote Courageous involvement with others.
Relevance of social issues to students evokes Collaboration which leads to responsibility, commitment, self worth and Respect for each others’ diversities.
“Before we can have respect for others, we need to learn to have self respect for ourselves”, wrote a future elementary school teacher”
After next week, we will begin to get the respect we deserve,” stated the two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, before their massacre at Columbine H.S. in 1999.
When asked why they join gangs, members have repeatedly said: ‘to get respect.’
Before he was violently killed by militants, journalist Sotloff wrote in a letter to his family,,”….Love and respect each other. Don’t fight over nonsense…hug each other every day…Eat dinner together..Stay positive and patient…”
We can, as teachers, administrators, counselors, nurses, parents, students and community members educate, encourage and empower youngsters to have compassion, self respect and respect for others.
On the morning school announcements, in the classrooms and at home, students can be reminded to ask themselves each day:“Will my words create Oneness or Duality? Harmony or Disharmony? Inclusiveness or exclusiveness? What is my intention for today towards myself and towards others?
Teachers can refer to resources like Teens Are Heroes, Too! which has many activities that empower youngsters to have self respect and to transform victims into victors.
Educators and parents can encourage youngsters to volunteer at home, school and community. Peer to peer tutoring is an example.
( Martin Luther Jr. said, “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve….You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”)
Teachers can encourage responsibility and select different ‘assistants’each week utilizing the talents, skills, interests of each and every student
Teachers and parents can encourage outdoor team/club activities, exercise and yoga classes, deep breathing and weekly ‘what’s bugging you’ sessions to release stress.
Parents can encourage responsibility with chores. Parents can boycott violent video games that show disrespect towards others
The Art Has Character project had helped Future Teachers at Florida Atlantic University become better teachers:
“Self reflecting is important as a future leader/teacher. Once we know who we are and how we feel, then, we can better our future and the world. I must be a role model so that students may follow my positive examples.”
“I will be more cognizant and accepting of the differences of all individuals. I will encourage respect among students, their peers and communities and for them to be true to themselves and not conform…you can be an individual and still belong.”
“I learned a creative way to introduce the importance and excitement of diversity. I also learned to respect and appreciate the stories of others.”
”I will definitely have the arts be a big thing…very hands on because everybody leans differently and some might be a learner that uses hands on activities.”
“The Project has shown how important it is to be flexible and the benefits of stepping out of our comfort zone.”
“Project showed how we can make us ‘feel more comfortable around each other.’’
“It helped us find similarities with others and appreciate differences.”
“It allowed us ‘to be creative individually and then creative together.”
“It has influenced my being accepting of who my students are.”
“Activities will help teach students to ‘explore new boundaries and outside of the box.”
“Young people need role models to look up to.”
“They build character by writing about someone else who has brought them inspiration.”
“They promote awesome citizenship and positive characteristics in young people.”
“They offered our students the chance to create works of prose, poetry and visual art that are truly memorable.”
“With the world in such turmoil, students need positive role models. The competition helps students live in a more positive place.”
“Ms. Hirschhorn’s program celebrates students who epitomize the American spirit of cooperation, volunteerism and problem-solving. It empowers students to partake in ‘hero activities’ that encourage responsibility, respect, citizenship and caring. The Character Education Committee feels that America’s Young Heroes will promote commitment to the growth of our American democracy via the arts.”