HUMANE EDUCATION ALLIANCE
April 2017 - March 2020
Anti-violence Education emphasizing bullying prevention and intervention
Chapala region of Jalisco, Mexico.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT:
The program is directed in public and private schools using our Guardians of the Planet Curriculum which uses the natural, instinctive, positive and comforting connection children experience with animals and nature.
The objective is to change the lives of vulnerable children by teaching empathy (the ability to feel what another feels) and compassion (the desire to do something to alleviate pain) development in Mexican children who might not otherwise be subjected to healthy attitudes towards living things, healthy respect for humans and community pride.
The values program called, An Ethical Education that Fosters and Builds a Non-Violent Culture, will develop culturally and developmental interventions and strategies which will re-shape Mexican views of empathy and compassionate acts and will contribute to the larger community and society.
Our curriculum, Guardians of the Planet, promotes a culture of non-violence towards human beings and all species we share the planet in order to form more compassion in children.
DESCRIBE THE NEED OR PROBLEM YOUR PROJECT INTENDS TO ADDRESS:
The American Journal of Psychiatry research has shown that harmful effects can extend a lifetime after initial bullying. The National Child Development Study followed 8,000 participants of children born in England, Scotland and Wales. The researchers visited with the participants at age 23, 45 and 55 years of ages and found that they were more likely to be unemployed and earn less or move up in their profession, had mental health problems that were similar to those found in studies on long-term effects on children who were abused or place in public care (USA Today, April 18, 2014).
Mexico is made up of 1.7 percent of the population who fall into the upper class population. The middle class is estimated at 39.2 percent. A growing number of 22-35 year olds of Mexico are joining this class. In rural areas of Mexico, including the state of Jalisco, approximately one-quarter is considered middle class. Less individuals fall in the upper class percentage in rural areas. In the rural area, like the one we will develop the program, the Chapala Region, the percentage of low income families increases. Approximately 70 percent or more of the Chapala area struggles at poverty levels or below.
Mexico social service program are becoming more and more involved in domestic violence cases which often result in children being removed from the home. Absent fathers in homes continues to plague the family unit. The low level of education in Mexico also leads to the familial, inter generational passing of unhealthy parenting skill where corporal punishment, verbal and physical abuse and the lack of personal space of family members is common. Family members carry the lack of respect and compassion to others in and outside of their communities.
A Study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that 40 percent of students in primary and middle schools of Mexico are victims of some form of violence. The study showed that Mexico ranked first among OCDE countries in the number of bullying cases involving junior high students (The News, May 23, 2014). Mexican children are required to go to school from the ages of 7-12 years old. With the average cost of public school at $350 USD a year per child families, who may have 3-5 children, look forward to their child reaching the age of 12 when he or she can join the parent working. The Mexican public school system struggles to provide four hours of daily classroom work. Many villages do not have schools which necessitate parents arranging transportation to another village where a school is available. There is no school bus service in the State of Jalisco. The classroom work is basic; reading, writing and arithmetic. Public school teachers must work two shifts of teaching, one in the morning and one in the afternoon: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. The schedule is necessary, due to the large number of children and the small number of teachers and finances. On the average teachers are paid monthly between 8,000 - 18,000 pesos or the equivalent of $604 - $1,357 USD.
We will implement a course highlighting anti-violence and bullying prevention and intervention in the Chapala region of Jalisco, Mexico. D. Rural area teachers are paid at the lower pay scale which is the case for the area we propose implementing the program. Sometimes teachers inherit their positions from a close family member and because there is no national system for imposing a minimum level of teaching standards (Oct. 7, 2013, Dissent – a Quarterly of Politics and culture, Benjamin Smith) individuals in teaching jobs may or may not be qualified to teach.
HISTORY OF PROJECT:
Our teaching manual, the Guardians of the Planet, was designed in the year 2009-10 by our four partners. We have come together under the name of ALIANZA POR UNA EDUCACION Humanitaria (APEH) or Humane Education Alliance. The partnership consists of: La tienda de la ciencia, Lakeside Friends of the Animals, A.C. and Mariposa Project, 501 (3) c. Two of our partners provided a small scale “pilot” program in several private and public schools and one shelter in 2011-2012. Our four partners provided financial support. Other partners solicited funding through personal contributors, and participating at local events for shared revenues. Other agencies which have participated have been the Lucky Dog Animal Shelter, the Ajijic Rotary Dog Assisted Therapy group and a private veterinarian.
One of our partners donated half her time to coordinate the project for 20 hours a week for a year. We did and still do work with students ages 8-11 years old. During non-school times the coordinator organized events throughout the local parks or malecons along the lakeside. The events involved families on the week-ends and holidays. Additionally, the coordinator met with local community leaders and developed trainings for the instructors next teaching sessions. The coordinator supervises and trains instructors and volunteers of the project.
With the letter of authorization from the Secretary of Education Head Office, in charge of public schools, we pooled funds to "piloted", for one year, 2013-2014. There were 51 schools who requested the program. We began with four college student instructors, who were provided incentives, one volunteer partner instructor and one part-time contracted coordinator (asimilado) to cover 21 schools and one shelter for underprivileged children during our pilot program. The ratio of instructors to students was one to 33-40. Our four paid college student instructors (APEH instructors) worked part-time as free-lance teachers to be trained and supervised during the implementation stage of the program. The course is six weeks long and consists of approximately 1.5 hours each week. During our “pilot” program our APEH instructors taught 6 cycles of our program in the school year. By the end of our “pilot” in April 2014 we touched 5,658 students, educators, parents and community leaders with our program.
With the help of an approved International Rotary Global Grant in January 2016 through June 2017 the program is being redesigned to train public school classroom teachers to teach the 1 hour class for 8 weeks, during a school year, and use the positive interventions between instructors and students throughout the year. The initial training for public school teachers is accomplished by a two day training prior to the instructor implementing the program into their classroom. Providing physical support to the teacher during the initial 8 week program and visiting the schools intermittently during the year will provide the data necessary to learn how we can better assist schools in more positive interventions to avoid bullying within the school in the future.
The first and second teaching manual for teachers have been published in Spanish and English versions. The manuals are used for the instructors to teach from and for our partners to promote the program. The manual is a tactical way to show individuals what the program contains.
We know that we must involve the parent/caregiver, teachers and community leaders in the assessment process in order to bring the learning home and to the community. Our partners support four events during the year on the plazas and malecons in each of the main areas of the lakeside area. The programs involved discussions with parents and relatives and activities for children 7-12 years old. As recent development from working with parents, during the summer of 2016, has shown parents are motivated and excited to be part of a community effort to reduce violence in the community. The small parent group has been essential to the positive feedback of the friends and family members who attended the 3 events which the parents developed and lead. We will continue to support, add and continue to allow parents to assist in the development of the community programming.
Leading by Example:
Our partners are leading by example. Whenever possible and to support the message of “protection of the planet”, we role model the use of double sided paper, we collect scratch paper for art activities from our partner agencies and local business’. We utilize re-purposed materials for our summer activities whenever possible.
The Guardian of the Planet program extends and integrates non-violent behavior leaning towards animals and the environment and addressing healthy interpersonal relationships. Our program is “fluid”. While our emphasis in the “pilot” year was with students and teachers/administration we have listened to those individuals and the parent and community leaders in order to provide re-direction of the program when necessary.
Surveys of Participants:
Children's written comments show a depth of how the program directly affects them: "Bryan and I decided how we could get along better" and "Now, I think about what it must be like for the other person". Other interesting thoughts Mexican children had were that they did not believe that they were part of a species on earth.
A flyer was sent home, to be returned with a signature of the parent, with a description of what the child had learned. Comments made by the parents were powerful indicators of how the children relayed the information to them and what the parents learned from the flyer: "I never thought how the child watched my anger and how it was affecting them." "Jordon is teaching me that throwing rocks at dogs is a violent expression of my fear". By the end of April 2014 our program reached approximately 1,122 parents. By the end of the 2015-16 school year we had reached 48 schools requesting the program and over 6,000 students and 2,966 parents.
Teachers written assessment of the program have expanded the parent’s comments: children were able to identified fear and anguish of animals, connected their own feelings of not being respected, where able to talk about their own fear. Teacher commented that “the program is not something the children would have access to if not for Alianza por una Educacion Humanitaria teaching the Guardians of the Planet program”, “we (teachers) need this program in our school.”
During the pilot year relationships were developed and 2 events to educate the local service agencies who work directly with children and families; police, firemen, animal shelters, local politicians, social services, etc.. We have had welcomed enthusiasm from local agencies. We have presented to local policemen in the city of Chapala. There were many questions and much discussion on how the treatment of animals had anything to do with how children view the world but by the end of the presentation we believe a profound effect was made on the policemen and firemen who often face domestic violence issues, children on the street and local attitudes. By the end of April 2016 our program reached 64 community leaders.
REVISING & RESHAPING OUR PROGRAM
Because we know children need to live in safe and clean community which they have helped to maintain we have revised our first year manual in order to make it more specific to anti-violence and encouraging respect in community environmental clean-up locally. The project reshaping now supports educators and develops methods to engage parents in ways to instill values of respect, responsibility and empathy building skills for children. Because we understand the importance of developing systems of the child we want to increase our trainings to the community leaders. Funding and sustainability for perfecting our program over the next three years to fully involve all participants, schools, parents and community leaders, in the design will creating a safer, positive environment for children to learn and live.
During our first year of piloting the program we faced a lack of authority on completion of the parent and teacher assessment and a commitment from the teachers to integrate new techniques they were learning for teaching empathy. We addressed this problem in our second curriculum. Additionally, we addressed the motivation levels of the teachers and administrators by offering the program where a higher level of compliance to completing paperwork would be assured by the principals allowing follow through of interventions and data collection.
Initially, we used generic videos or DVDs which support the learning program they have not always been culturally sensitive. We corrected this and develop a short video for use during 5 of our 6 class sessions which provides the competency we need for children to visually and verbally connect with the information.
Our coordinator must interact and be the conduit to the School District Directors, the principals and teachers, thereby, requiring a qualified coordinator who is an educator who can provide training and supervise and retain instructors for the program, therefore, we need to hire an experienced, mature teacher who will solicit knowledge from the district education personnel. The need to educate communities leaders of the community will be essential for extending the knowledge into the local service providers; police, firemen, court system, politicians, etc., to ensure the entire system of care for the child is educated in better outcomes for respect, empathy and compassion building will necessitate a mature and knowledgeable individuals and one who believes the beneiits of the program. Also, the coordinator must be able to reach out to parents of the children in a safe and respectful manner which will not intimidate or shame families.
We will need to hire a qualified full-time certified teacher with a decent wage to maintain the project over the 3 years. The program covers approximately 45 miles of distance between our furthest schools and our central location of the project (Ajijic, JAL.). The coordinator must begin and end each 8 week class session with the instructors for consistency of the evaluation process of the program. After the initial 8-week sessions the coordinator will need to visit each previous school intermittently in order to collect data during the school year. We have built in money to the budget to supplement the coordinator’s travel each month. Also, the coordinator must utilize a room in their home to coordinate, manage the program, store materials and equipment and train instructors. We have built in additional money to supplement a small portion of the electrical needs in their home each month. Because the cost of a land-line Internet service is less expensive we have provided money to supplement the cost of the Internet in the coordinators home-office while she is working on this project.
Currently, our APEH classroom coordinators have consisted of recent university graduates who are seeking experience. While we hope we can maintain some of the current instructors for the upcoming year we realized this is a part-time position and most university graduates will need to move on to other projects or to full-time employment. Our identifying clothing and badges will need to be re-supplied each year for new APEH instructors, as well as, new volunteers who help with events.
In The News, on August 18, 2014, a 600 person phone survey was referenced stating that 19.1 percent believed teachers were responsible for bullying. The APEH instructors have direct contact with the classroom teacher spend direct time in supporting them in trying new empathic techniques for interacting with the children. Due to the large numbers of students in classrooms and the need to provide more individual attention to students we have learned we need more mature and experienced instructors. In a study conducted by the Strategic Communication Committee (GCE) recently reported 57.8 percent of Mexicans believed the father figure in the home was responsible for modeling bullying behaviors to their children. In the future we want the instructors to have more direct contact with the families which will necessitate sensitivity to the family member dynamic to insure children and parent are learning together. Seeking experienced, mature instructors over the next 3 years will provide necessary skills in behavior management of children in the classroom, as well as, the need to develop a peer-to-peer relationship with the classroom teacher and administration and provide a non-judgmental approach to connecting with parents who come from environments of poverty and low educational experiences. Also, mature, experienced APEH instructors will share and can bring techniques to any younger instructors. Because these are part-time volunteer position we must provide incentives in order to maintain their service from year-to-year. Due to 51 schools requesting the program we are requesting four additional APEH instructors.
The APEH coordinator currently uses their personal computer in the classrooms. Most of the rural schools do not have access to this type of tool for presentations. We wish to purchase a computer which can be used for this important colorful part of our program and to assure the coordinator leaves all information for the next coordinator and committee to follow-up; data, procedures, etc. For the few schools that do not have electricity, or cannot pay their electrical fee, we are having groups rotate around a computer that has a long-life battery during the classroom activity. The fascination of the children around projector visuals is pal papal. We currently have 2 projectors.
We have developed a culturally sensitive “Conflict Resolution Poster” to be left in each classroom. The poster provides continued thinking of the students and their teacher of how to resolve issues when they arise. Teachers are taught how to use the tool and children are encouraged to utilize the steps of resolving conflict on their own before asking an adult for help. We wish to continue use of the tool.
We wish to increase our development of education to our community leaders. We want to have a minimum of 4 trainings a year for police, firemen, animal shelters, social services departments, community leaders, etc.
WHAT MEASURING TOOLS ARE USED TO SOLIDIFY THE BENEFITS OF THE PROGRAM?
We have researched tools: the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment- mini (DESSA-mini) and the Social Skills Improvement System Rating Scales (SSIS). Many are available in Spanish and for ages 3-18 years of age. They are lengthy and copious in time for the length of the program of our course. Currently, there is no measurement tool which transmits only information about empathy & compassion building. An option is to develop a culturally sensitive and more specific tool for empathy & compassion building. We would like to develop a tool which the coordinator can utilize that is short and easy to use before the program begins and re-assess after the program ends with all participates; students, teachers/parents and community leaders. We would like to use an assessment to make certain our measurements of the program are in-line with student, teacher, parent and community thinking.
We wish people would implement our information into their daily lives and we understand in order to impact individuals we are attempting to reach we must be able to motivate them to action. When considering how we will know when we have made an impact on a community attitude one question always arises, “How do we move people to action?” How do we motivate people to want: AN ETHICAL EDUCATION THAT FOSTERS AND BUILDS A NON-VIOLENT CULTURE
In order to develop an assessment tool we will force ourselves to consider what motivates people to change using some of the guidelines below:
Stages of Change
1) Pre contemplation (denial there is a problem or do not see they are part of the problem)
2) Contemplation (what will I have to give up or what will I gain)
3) Preparation (gathering information and support)
2) Leaders who provide ego based public appreciation and recognition
3) Provide education and show measured improvement which benefits the target population, in this case children, parents/teachers & community services
4) Make the pain of not changing undesirable….”If I don’t change (my life/or the situation) will stay the same or get worse”; emotionally or financially.
SUMMARIZE IN ONE SENTENCE THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE FOR WHICH YOU ARE REQUESTING FUNDING:
Revision and re-implementing the successful empathy building and teaching "Guardians of the Planet", a Humane & Violence Prevention Education program designed in and for Mexican children using materials and qualified personnel in 48 public schools while incorporating the child’s support systems.
HOW WILL THE PROJECT HELP VULNERABLE CHILDREN?
Developing empathy is the core of building good character in an individual. Possessing empathy is the ability to feel anothers pain, anger, joy, sorrow, etc. Overwhelmed children create ways to ignore feelings as a survival mechanism, therefore, they block the development of empathy. Vulnerable children will be more successful when education teachers, parents and community leaders build or enhance empathy all at the same time.
Normally, children’s cognitive stage of development for rational thought is between 7-12 years of age. When development of these skills does not occur, weakness in an individuals personality is the result. The majority of cognitive skills are learned. When fears about personal safety are lessened in a school environment, individuals have a better opportunity to build additional cognitive skills like; memory, attention, motor, executive functioning (planning and organization), language and thinking. A sense of safety makes the child’s time in school much more productive. Building empathy in vulnerable children will increase the numbers of low income children becoming more productive in learning now and in the future (Vulnerable children in varying classroom contexts, Karna A., Voeten M., Poskipartu E. & Salmiialli C., 2010).
Unwanted, repeated aggressive behavior is called “bullying”. Bullying is found at all levels of a society. It includes threats, spreading rumors, encouraging others and/or individually excluding an individual on purpose, menacing or contemptuous looks, jokes to embarrass or humiliate another, mimicking unkindly, damaging some one's social reputation or acceptance or attacking someone (physically or verbally). As we have children and adults consider how they may be a part of this culture of “bullying” it will open adults’ eyes and doors for change within the school, family and community. Building empathy in vulnerable children will lessen issues of bullying now and in the future.
The awareness of suffering coupled with the desire to relieve it, better known as compassion, is a deeper developmental stage, one which some humans never attain. Recent studies show individual’s who grow up with wealth have less compassion for others (D. Grewal, How wealth reduces compassion. April 10, 2012). Yet, research shows that the poor can develop more empathic skills because they have had more access to hardships than those who come to wealth by birth (Y. Anwar, Low Income people quicker to show compassion, Dec. 20, 2011). Building empathy in vulnerable children will increase the numbers of low income children accessing and implementing the skill in their communities now and in the future. As Mexico’s middle class continues to increase these will be the children who will change the fabric of their society.
The yearly increase of cartels luring children recruits who are used as “mules”, distributors of drugs, lookouts and assassins can be easily accomplish when a child has not developed empathy. Cartels are known for courting the civil population with money, presents and donations in order to garner popular support. When parties for the community poorest children are given by cartels the social and/or economic reasons for young people joining cartels can easily be understood. Empathy building can stop a youth from entering a career which will continue to harm the societal fabric of Mexico.
Children who are not provided empathetic building skills develop neurological pathways which supports viewing abuse, being abused and recreating abuse on others as a normality of life (Neuropsychiatry of frontal lobe dysfunction in violent and criminal behavior: a critical review, Bower, M.C., Price, B.H., 2000). Because children may have arrested development in the area of empathy does not mean they cannot learn these skills. It only means they have not had the opportunity to learn and practice these skills. Therefore, APEH strives to develop or enhance the skill of empathy before the nueroplasticity of the brain hardens, which makes it more difficult to change. Empathy is one of the cognitive skills that must be taught. If not at home, the next most logical place is school.
Developing an education portion that helps parents, community leaders and children understand and participate in safety for children both internally and externally in their environment is paramount in raising leaders with an eye on the future. Providing opportunities for neighborhoods to clean-up and recycle what is usable will benefit an entire community. Given the opportunity and support in developing pride will bring an opportunity to teach anti-violence portions of our program to poor communities.
DESCRIBE THE TARGET DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE POPULATION YOUR PROJECT WILL SERVE DIRECTLY:
In Mexico, youth are disproportionately affected by violence and comprise the great majority of both victims and perpetrators. The Social Development Department of the World Bank report finds that as homicides have increased dramatically from 8.4 percent in 2007 to 23.3 percent in 2011 - youth have been hit hardest as both victims and perpetrators. In the philosophy of "it takes a village" we understand that a child's system of support includes family, local education and policy making which will envelop the child's thinking and redirection. The program is directed at ages 7-12 years of age in public schools. Youth 13-17 will be vetted for participation as assistants in the third year of the program.
Teachers and parents are asked to participate in a park side (malecon) events during the year and an annual World Animal Day. The program will be offered in larger communities of the municipalities. The parents and coordinator help the children with fun and interactive activities which the parents lead all while making children aware of how humans can be guardians of the earth, animals and humans. The interactive activities have proven to provide a learning opportunity for the family members and the teachers who learn while they teach. The opportunity for parents to interact together enables both to learn more about the other’s individual lives and how things can improve in their community if all work together.
Parents have been involved in the education process of the program through flyers which are sent home. The parent is asked to read the brief overview of the information and return the flyer with a signature and comments which can help the project further refine its information. We will utilize the verbal and written information from the parents and teachers to improve the 3rd Edition of the Teaching Manual in 2017-18.
WHAT OUTCOMES DO YOU EXPECT TO ACHIEVE?
Implementing a strong, more integrative approach to non-violence prevention within the public school system will include learning respect and empathy towards peers, animals and the environment as a more effective way to create communities of peace for more children to live within. As stated earlier it will take a multi-faceted approach to several different populations within the system of care of the child.
Impact on Local Agencies
Local services agencies will provide ideas for change and leaders who are ready and able to lead and teach in community attitudes, responsibility to the planet and empathy with the plight of others.
MEASURE ABLE OUTCOMES
Impact on Schools
By the end of the three years 48 elementary schools will have received the revised program in the state of Jalisco. District and state education officials will be requesting presentations of the program for their areas. We intend that the schools who have participated will see a fifty-percent improvement of children' behavior and attitudes in the school environment.
Impact on Children
Impact on Parents
Parents will make a thirty percent improved effort to be more protective of their children from dangerous situations in their home and community environment. Examples of this might be:
Teachers and parents are included in the educational process both through inclusion in community activities, discussions pre and post class times and evaluations of the program at the end of the teaching period. Teachers are currently encouraged to participate with the students. In the second year of the program we will be asking teachers and administrators to be more formal in trainings and to participate in local events with parents in order to encourage discussion between the adults.
PROVIDE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE TIMING OF THIS PROJECT:
The project follows the public school calendar, which for students and staff begins in mid August of each year and ends in mid July of the following year. There is a short window of time to train APEH instructors. The end of July and August of each year will be used for recruitment and training of APEH instructors.
Parents tend to seek out inexpensive activities for their children to be involved when school is not in session. Mexican low income families rarely travel far from home. School vacation times (winter, spring breaks and government holidays) will be used to present events providing more opportunity to involve parents and their children.
Promotion and education in the communities for services agencies will be completed throughout the year during the most desirable working times for government agencies and involving as many services groups as is possible. Within low educated and/or income families there may be an acceptance attitude towards violence. We want to be specific to groups like police, firemen, local politicians, which may not be as sensitive to the plight of vulnerable beings in small villages. We will involve individuals to support the program from leading children's and animal groups who can supply the needed emphasis for the importance to change the current attitude to one that will challenge individuals beliefs and give hope for a healthier community.
Lakeside Friends of the Animals. Mexican A.C.
Mariposa Project, USA 501c3 & Mexican A.C.
La Tienda de la Ciencia www.latiendadelaciencia.org
SUSTAINABILITY OF PROGRAM
A scholarship for one school to be added to the program is $8,450 Pesos or $457 USD.
YEAR I AN ETHICAL EDUCATION THAT FOSTERS AND BUILDS A NON-VIOLENT CULTURE
Target Populations Support Systems
YEAR II AN ETHICAL EDUCATION THAT FOSTERS AND BUILDS A NON-VIOLENT CULTURE
PHASE III AN ETHICAL EDUCATION THAT FOSTERS AND BUILDS A NON-VIOLENT CULTURE
SEE ANNUAL SCHEDULE BELOW
JULY 2017-JUNE 2018
JULY 2018-JUNE 2019
JULY 2019-JUNE 2020
Training program for Public School Teachers
Re-design, finalize and implement children measurement tools
b. parents/school teachers
Implement Guardian of the Planet program with revised measuring tools
Implement Revised Guardian of the Planet program with revised measuring tools
Implement Guardian of the Planet program with revised measuring tools
30% improvement in children’s empathy understanding and behaviors
40% improvement in children’s empathy understanding and behaviors
50% improvement in children’s empathy understanding and behaviors
15% improvement in verbal & physical protection of children
20% improvement in verbal & physical protection of children
25 % improvement in verbal & physical protection of children
15% improvement community agencies creating solutions for empathy building in their environment
20% improvement in community agencies creating solutions for empathy building in their environment
25% improvement in community agencies creating solutions for empathy building in their environment
Oct – Dec.
Collect and assess children’s measurement tool data
Revise Guardian of the Planet Manual
Collect and assess children’s measurement tool data
Collect and assess children’s measurement tool data
Re-design Teaching Manuals
Implement Teaching Manuals
a. School Teacher/Parent