BUILDING CHARACTER THROUGH PROMOTING THE COMMUNITY SERVICE IN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS AT VIARÓ GLOBAL SCHOOL
Viaró Global School (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Viaró’s goal is to shape its students with a holistic education in a climate of freedom and personal responsibility. A school has to do much more than focus on passing exams. Indeed a school has to seek to develop the whole person in order to prepare its students to contribute to society. Within this objective is the concept character building. Character is something that is “etched into” us by the experiences that we have as we go through life, so we have to give students the opportunity to take them out of their personal comfort zones- to have to do something that they would rather not do, but something of which they would be very proud to have achieved after the event. For instance if we want pupils to like serving the community it’s good to put at their disposal experiences that teach them realities to which they are probably not used to.
We are carrying out different programs which provide these experiences for primary, secondary and high school students. One of them is a program for eleventh grade students in collaboration with the nuns of MNC (Missionary Nuns of Charity) in serving the poor. Another is a volunteering programme also for eleventh grade students at the children’s HSJD (Hospital Sant Joan de Déu) in order to entertain children to help them face more optimistically their illness or treatment.
All 88 eleventh grade students go once to help the nuns of MNC in jobs like waitressing, peeling potatoes or sweeping to serve disadvantaged people. They go in groups of four every week and spend 3 hours there. Then they have to make up classes, which helps foster personal autonomy.
Another project involved making a group of 30 volunteers from among these 88 students who signed a commitment to the hospital. These students received special training at HSJD to carry out their voluntary work. They go in groups of 5 every week so that everyone goes once every 6 weeks and spend 2,5 hours there. Their job is to play games with sick children or just talk with them to make their life at hospital more enjoyable. Afterwards students have to talk to teachers to make up their classes.
It is concluded that in general, when being immersed with unpleasant situations or new experiences students become aware of the need to serve, a task which they do reasonably well.
Keywords: Character building, Community service, Virtues, Volunteering, Baccalaureate, Secondary school, Primary school.