As part of the STUVOL program in Taiwan we have developed a leadership training that involves conflict resolution skills, discussion to develop greater personal insight, and social activities to help students find greater maturity. This leadership program is suitable for adolescent students and has specific focus on building better relationships with family, classmates and the direct environment. It also aims to help students develop a personal vision of what they believe in and what they want to do in life.
As with all Neohumanist education programs, the inner development is an important part of all lessons and activities. In Shrii P. R. Sarkar’s words: ‘Straight forwardness in life is achieved only through sincere and dedicated sadhana. (sadhana = disciplined introversion)
To be able to make the right choices in life, even when under pressure, a strong inner compass is essential. The leader is within, as they say. Through this personal reflection of Quiet Time Mindtraining you will discover “how your disposition, values, beliefs, and persona are contributing right now to your success or failure”.
A second aspect of this leadership program is self-reflection, especially through contemplation of story imagery (metaphors) and how this affects oneself. The archetypical nature of stories arouses personal issues and allows one to deal with memories, building a positive attitude and self-knowledge. In the activities in this guideline we offer different approaches for working with stories:
listening to the teacher tell the story
visualizing the highpoint of the story with a partner
drawing 6 pictures on your own
retelling the story to a partner, then the listener becoming the teller
going from imitating to innovating
perhaps acting out, or at least working on the physical aspects of storytelling
Pupils learn about the value of trust, respect, and gratitude.
Appreciation of Diversity:
Pupils learn to respect and appreciate people’s differences and to understand prejudice and how it works.
Pupils learn to observe carefully, communicate accurately and listen sensitively.
Pupils learn to express feelings, particularly anger and frustration, in ways that are not aggressive or destructive.
Cooperation and Friendship:
Pupils learn to work together and trust, help and share with one another.
Pupils learn the skills of responding creatively to conflict in the context of a supportive, caring environment
These three areas are introduced through stories, songs and games with the aim of training peer mediators or what we could call a ‘Peace Child’, someone equipped to resolve conflicts as they arise.
Part of the training includes retelling the stories, giving speeches and presentations about the issues and playing dramas. This way the student will become thoroughly familiar with the contents of the story and its lessons.
In Papua, New Guinea when warring tribes of head-hunters made peace, they each exchanged such a peace child. The children would grow up with the others’ tribe and if, in the future, conflict threatened between the tribes again, those children would be sent to negotiate.
In our schools, homes, workplaces and communities we need more people who are sensitized and trained to the dynamics of building responsible relationships based on social justice and fairness.