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Training Micronesia Teachers in Character Education
Michael Treacy, Director, UPF-Micronesia
Pohnpei, Micronesia
July 27, 2007


(Front, left to right) Eika Davis, Mrs. Poppy Richie, Dr. Alan Saunders and Frannie Baker. (Rear, left to right) Lauren Treacy, Margaret Darmarlane, Sarah Treacy, Mrs. Beth Treacy, Mr. Michael Treacy, Daniel Treacy, Nathan Treacy, Morrow Willis and Erick Paul
In the tropical island of Pohnpei, renowned for its traditional culture, surrounding reefs and mangrove forests, there is a keen interest in the Universal Peace Federation's (UPF) Character Education Program.

The Department of Education along with the Traditional Leaders of Pohnpei requested a three-day Teacher Training Workshop July 4-6, 2007 for 80 teachers from four selected schools in the local area: the main high school, called Pohnpei Islands Central School (PICS), and three elementary schools in Nett, Ohmine and Kolonia.

Dr. Alan Saunders and Mrs. Poppy Richie were sent from UPF's Office of Character Education in the U.S. along with Collegiate Association for Research of Principle intern Mr. Morrow Willis, who is studying at the University of Southern California, and Miss Eika Davis, who is a student at the High School of the Pacific (HSP) in Hawaii. Two other HSP students from Pohnpei, Mr. Erick Paul and Miss Frannie Baker, supported the workshop along with Michael and Beth Treacy and their children: Daniel, Nathan, Sarah and Lauren.

The younger staff members were great role models and assisted in the many tasks during the workshop. With 85 teachers and Department of Education staff members along with the workshop volunteer staff members, there were approximately 100 participants involved in the Teacher Training Program. All were highly impressed by the vision, scope and possibilities offered by Character Education.

Dr. Saunders gave the teachers what they needed to understand concerning the value of the program and how it could be implemented into the school system of education. Despite the sweltering heat in an un-air-conditioned hall, everyone appreciated the vital information, discussions and group exercises that reinforced the value of Character Education and the Grade 1-12 textbooks, "Discovering The Real Me."

Mrs. Richie, a teacher at the Principled Academy near San Francisco, California, worked closely to monitor the classroom exercises and discussions. Michael Treacy assisted Dr. Saunders with organizing all the necessary materials and also presenting one lecture. Mrs. Beth Treacy organized the food service and constantly-needed water supply.


Question time at one session

Alan Saunders, Michael Treacy and staff

One-on-one practice on reflecting techniques

Studying the "Discovering the Real Me" curriculum

Many supportive comments were received:

"PICS should provide interesting future workshops like this one - appealing topics, comprehensive information, good facilitator and food in this workshop since day one. The curriculum enables me to value the good traits that I have and to change the bad traits that I have."
Ms Rhodora Bacalando, teacher - PICS

"I believe [the curriculum] is really helpful and it will teach people not only to have positive character, but honest positive character." Mr. Reagan Lebehn, teacher - PICS

"Everything in this workshop was interesting and very useful to me. I suggest that all teachers should be required to take this workshop so that they can all make a difference in their own character and influence their students to be better characters." Mrs. Sihner Hadley, teacher - PICS

"Our vision is for the education of teachers to be ongoing so that they become good citizens who know their motive and true worth and to help their fellow man. We serve God by serving others." Mr. Dagger Soulik, teacher - Nett Elementary

"I learned a lot about Character Education - it changed my life." Mr. Arty Hadley, teacher - Palikir

"The content is exceptionally good, but it seems a bit hot in the cafeteria. The food and facilitators, sponsors and presenters were exceptionally perfect." Mr. Cliff James, teacher - PICS

"This workshop really changed one's personality a lot - not only one's character, but also with relationship to God. Excellent workshop." Ms. Marilyn Tiburcio, Science teacher - PICS

"Well organized, informative and excellent presentations by Dr. Alan Saunders, Mrs. Poppy Richie and Michael Treacy. I absolutely recommend that administrators, parents and community people need to participate or attend this workshop. I highly recommend that the Character Education Program be fully implemented into our Pohnpei public school system curriculum from pre-school to secondary school." Pastor Swaiper Eliam, Social Studies teacher - PICS High School.


Mr. Iso Salvador Iriarte (center front) flanked by Alan Saunders and Poppy Richie with teachers.
Twenty graduating teachers were chosen to assist in the 2-week Character Education Summer Camp for 140 students beginning the following week. Special Character Education tee shirts, designed by Sarah Treacy, were made for the teachers who would be working with the summer camp.

Great support was given by UPF international, UPF-Oceania and Japanese volunteers to make this event possible. The Department of Education of Micronesia provided the venue and photocopying facilities. Mr. Iso Salvador Iriarte, High Traditional Leader in Pohnpei and Ambassador for Peace, gave much assistance in preparations leading up to the workshop. Our staff worked well to make this an unforgettable and meaningful experience for all who attended the 3-day event.

This workshop was a necessary step to prepare the way for the following summer camp, where there would be an adequate number of newly trained teachers to assist in providing Character Education for a much larger number of students. This proved to be the best way to stage the summer camp and the most successful model to bring teachers and students together in a new vision for moral education.

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