The new and improved "Global Citizens in the Making" poster programme is to be used by S3 pupils at the school, and after Craigie High's 'Character Education' group presented at our Conference in June, we couldn't think of a better school to officially launch the programme this term!
The purpose of the session was to introduce character and value strengths to the year group, and to walk-through the different aspects of the poster activity which they would be completing throughout the year - this meant focusing on Values, Inspiration and Aspirations.
The bustle of S3s just after lunch-time filled the halls as we prepared to introduce them to the poster programme... but we soon had their attention! The charity’s Chief Executive, Ronnie Davidson, broke the ice with an unusual introduction to character strengths: by having some pupils bite into some zest-y, citrus fruits; before we began our session in which we walked through each stage of the poster activity.
Each pupil had previously completed a VIA Character Survey, (a psychometric survey/test which helps the individual discover their “top” character strengths) and we decided to get pupils to split into groups according to these strengths. It was interesting for pupils to see if they found themselves next to the people they thought they would, those with the same values strengths as them. Certainly – I was taken aback by the large majority who fit into the “Transcendence” group.
Transcendence : Strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning
- Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence
One of the pupils said, "I have learned that I fit into the humanity section. I want to be more 'zesty' and have more perseverance." whilst another Craigie High member wrote in their feedback, "I think that the best part was seeing the strengths that I have."
Moving on to the second part of the poster programme – Inspiration – we held an interactive quiz on some of our most popular choices of inspirational figures in the past, from Steven Hawking and Malala Yousafzai to Martin Luther King Jnr. I was impressed by the knowledge of all of the pupils. One boy couldn't remember Malala’s name but knew that she was “a girl who fought for girl’s education rights and was shot for it but survived,” and really – the message is the important part of the learning experience!
One of my favourite parts about the day’s session was listening to the dialogue after this activity when we asked pupils to write down what kind of person they would like to be in the future (focusing on the ‘Aspirations’ part of our poster). I read and spoke to a lot of young people who had responded with, “kind,” “successful,” and most importantly: happy.
Speaking about the school’s involvement with Inspire Aspire PT of Guidance Mrs Denise Doig said, “We are delighted to be launching the Inspire Aspire: GCIM programme and it will further enhance the work the school and community learning partners have already undertaken.”
The afternoon left both pupils and the Inspire Aspire staff on a high, with some positive messages from students and smiles on our faces after (for a few of us younger folk) our first successful presentation in a room full of school kids. And just to add to the list of successes, I’ve decided that actually I’m not that scared of S3s after all.
For Craigie, "The best aspect of the launch was learning more about who I am as I feel, at our age, you can find it hard to be yourself and this launch helped to remind me of how to express who I am. I hope by the end of the project I will know myself better."