1 Universal Values, 2 Global Understanding, 3 Excellence, 4 Service to Humanity
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The Four Building Blocks of Education
[1] Universal Values


Human beings are endowed with spiritual capacities. This is a fact testified to by the founders of all the world religions as well as by sages and philosophers throughout history. An understanding of these positive virtues and values gives individuals and societies the moral accountability that is the basis of human integrity. The GEM provides each child with a spiritual foundation for his or her activities, be they academic, physical, social, or, eventually, professional. Through GEM, students develop virtues such as trustworthiness, compassion, humility, courage, kindness, and patience in an effort to assist them to expand their ability to perceive, participate, experience, empathize, and comprehend.

Although values clarification is essential, values education in the GEM goes a step beyond critical analysis and intellectual appreciation by connecting it to volition and the desire for improvement. Mere knowledge of ideals and principles is not enough. There is always the need to translate the ideals into action. GEM teaches how spiritual understanding can combine with reason to transform rational thinking and material growth into a continuous stream of self-improvement and spiritual as well as material progress. These inter-denominational values are taught at a GEM school in a non-intrusive way.

GEMS uses several general approaches to build virtues in the children:
a) To the children's already heavy course loads, the schools add classes specifically intended for moral instruction. But the instruction doesn't just go from teacher to student; each day begins with a half-hour assembly run by students from a class (a different class each day) who choose a virtue-Truthfulness or Love, for example-and prepare a presentation on that subject. Parents from that class are invited to join the assembly.
b) Perhaps even more significantly, teachers integrate a values education into the larger fabric of learning. When the students write essays or participate in art, music, or drama, they often prepare their work on themes of unity, peace, environmental integrity, service, etc.
c) Curriculum is specifically prepared that integrates the learning of subjects with the training of the spirit and heart, for example, prose in the teaching of English is a piece from the autobiography of Nelson Mandela which makes children think of the deeper aspects of life, instead of a soap opera.

Most importantly, teachers learn to embody the values they teach. The teachers are trained, oriented, and reoriented. They hold their own workshops and seminars. So crucial does GEM consider the attitude and character of its teachers that it is in the process of establishing its own Global Education University to groom teachers with the spirit and values of the school. Those that join the school from outside soon become a part of the school ethos and work to promote values adhered to by the school.

Specifically designed classroom materials, use of audio-visuals and teacher guides serve as tools, but it is the focus on values itself that generates a multitude of responses from all involved. Parents, teachers and students have found numerous ways to create an environment of values. Parents, teachers and school administrators work together to ensure that children are at the center-stage of their efforts and are given the best possible environment for their development at home and at school. Such a supportive environment creates in children enormous confidence and sense of security. They inevitably strive harder to realize their highest and best potential. The unparalleled academic results of children in the GEM program are testimony to the belief that given the right environment, love and understanding, children will perform extraordinarily. Excellence itself is a virtue, taught within GEM as a life-long habit of life.

 

 

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Copyright © 1998- The Council for Global Education.
These are views of the CGE. They can be used in conjunction with free membership to CGE with acknowledgment of the source.