Empowerment Programmes in Schools
The work of C Change builds on the work of the Tranquillity and Discovery Zones in schools, to assist children, young people and the adults in their life-long journey of becoming contributors to the world around them. It is currently established in 25 schools in Swindon.
The Zones provide each participant with an empowering vision of themselves as “a mine rich in gems of inestimable value” – where the gems are the good qualities and capacities generic to all human beings, as well as our own unique individual potential. In this process, we have identified 3 stages of empowerment, which are also indicators of progress towards the life of a contributor. We call it the ABC kickstart to empowerment:
The ABC of Empowerment
Schools report significant improvements in self worth, behaviour and learning in children participating in the programme, and our next phase focuses on how participants can make a positive contribution in their communities.The programme is delivered through two activities: the Tranquillity Zone, which is a safe, inspiring environment for reflection, followed by the Discovery Zone, which is a workshop space for sharing with others reflections from the Tranquillity Zone, and how new understandings about their potential can be applied in their daily life.
More than 3,000 children and young people have benefited from the programme. In 2007 Dr Stephen Bigger of the University of Worcester was commissioned to assess the impact of the Zones in schools in Swindon.
In February 2008, he published his report stating that the Zones had turned lives around:
“It has had rapid and lasting results with needy and disengaged children aged nine to thirteen. The processes involved should therefore be taken very seriously by government, schools, and youth services as a powerful intervention that has shown it is able to turn youngsters from actual and potential delinquency to becoming committed to contributing to society as good citizens”.
“The report looks forward to ways of enabling whole classes of children to benefit. It shows how these approaches can become a central strand in citizenship, personal, social and moral education, spiritual education, creative thinking skills, and social and emotional aspects of learning.”
In 2010, a report published by Swindon Borough Council stated that 83% of children who attend Tranquillity Zone show an increase in self worth/self esteem; 69% of children show improved engagement in learning and 72% of children show sustained improved behaviour after intervention.
Tranquillity and Discovery Zone Facilitator Training
This is a one-day training programme aimed at adults and students who wish to facilitate Tranquillity and Discovery Zones in schools or in the community. As part of the training, participants explore what it means to move from a consumer to contributor mindset, and the attributes, attitudes and abilities that develop on this journey.
Training is in a participatory and interactive environment, similar to what participants will create in their sessions in schools or in the community.
Our working assumption, based on our experience, is that a characteristic unique to the human being is his/her ability to change behaviour through reflection. The change from just seeing oneself as a consumer of society’s services to a contributor to it, can be instantaneous or take a life time to achieve.
Either way, reflection on one’s inestimable potential, and the potential of others, and the active application of these understandings, is the fire-starter of an empowering process, which through action (e.g. passing on the message to others) can be self-sustaining and benefit the individual and society. The working title for this process of change – from consumer to contributor – is developing a healthy human spirit.