This news update is a continuation from Essential Education’s updates from the January-March 2011 issue of Mandala located on page 26.
Introducing the 16 Guidelines to my home town of Cape Town, South Africa, has so far been a challenging and inspiring journey – and it’s beginning to pick up speed. I ran two introductory workshops in May, the second of which was attended by an old schoolmaster of mine, Hugh Fynn, who is now the headmaster of St. Joseph’s Marist College, an independent school in Cape Town.
He and his vice-headmaster, Justin Skea, who also attended the workshop, immediately felt that they would like to make the 16 Guidelines the cornerstone of applied ethics at their school. I was thrilled, as I had identified schools as an area I’d particularly like to work in with the 16 Guidelines. If the guidelines can have a large impact on an adult’s life, just imagine the potential when young people are introduced to this valuable set of tools.
Hugh and Justin invited me to run a workshop for 14 students who would be the head and vice-head students of various portfolios in the school in 2011. The workshop formed part of the students’ leadership program, introducing the learners to “good leadership” and preparing them for their responsibilities next year. I wanted to emphasise that leadership needn’t be a matter of putting on “leadership hat” and creating a contrived style of leadership. With the help of the 16 Guidelines, the students could discover their innate “leadership” qualities, so that appropriate beneficial action could come naturally, without needing to be forced.
The workshop ran smoothly and the feedback from the learners was entirely positive. They were an inspired and enthusiastic group, wonderful to work with. I think they were encouraged to have a set of tools they could apply in an otherwise trackless and intimidating situation of new responsibility. They were keen to apply the guidelines in their lives and at their school.
Memorably, one student commented: “Overwhelming experience, it actually changed my life. Everyone should experience this.” Another said the course was “eye-opening, informative – gave me a new way of thinking and made me aware of how I interact with others.” Hugh and Justin both expressed their pleasure at the way the workshop was run and received by the learners.
After the success of St. Joseph’s, I am offering the 16 Guidelines workshops to other independent schools in Cape Town, helped by Hugh and other friends who have connections in the education system. I’ve received some interest, so here’s hoping that it will help to cultivate a new crop of inspired, grounded leaders in the country! I feel that it’s only a matter of time.