Cassandra Rotolo 2016-04-14 03:17:13
High Marks for Lions Quest in Finland Social-emotional learning has been proven to decrease problem behaviors such as bullying and substance use and increase positive behavior patterns such as self-discipline and conflict resolution. Lions Quest is LCIF's social-emotional learning program (SEL), and the Lions of Multiple District (MD) 107 in Finland have successfully implemented Lions Quest. The Finnish government has recognized MD 107’s program as a leader in educational curricula for children, and the Ministry of Education and Culture even awarded MD 107 a grant to conduct teacher training workshops. Local Lions’ involvement is key to Lions Quest’s success, and over the last 20 years Finnish Lions have raised more than US$6 million to support and grow Lions Quest. Since the first workshop in 1991, more than 16,000 teachers have been trained to implement the program in Finland. Eight certified trainers host teacher training workshops throughout the country. Teachers are trained to work in multicultural classrooms, focusing on diversity and addressing the educational needs of refugee children. Finnish Lions have expanded Lions Quest beyond the traditional classrooms to focus on youth sports. Trained in much the same way teachers are, coaches encourage good sportsmanship, teamwork and conflict resolution. In Finland, youth hockey coaches bring Lions Quest lessons alive on the ice. Understanding that the needs of today’s students are ever-changing, the Lions also created a guide to Internet safety and cyber-bullying prevention. “Responsibility is Mine” teaches children not only how to keep themselves safe online but also discourages them from hurting others. Taking the program even further, Finnish Lions have become global leaders in the research of SEL. In collaboration with the University of Helsinki, MD 107 conducted a study that showed that Lions Quest training is effective at building teachers’ ability to develop social and emotional skills in their students. This research was published in the European Journal of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Lions leaders in Finland work with local Lions on Lions Quest, serving as an example of what can be achieved when Lions are committed to a goal. Digital LION Watch a well-made video on Lions Quest and youth sports in Finland. A Message from Our Chairperson A recent visit to a large school in Quito, Ecuador, reminded me of how powerful Lions Quest can be. It was amazing how Lions Quest has improved the attitudes and performance of the students there. A key to their initial success is the unwavering support of the school board. All of the teachers have been trained. What is unique about their approach is that they also trained all their counselors and school nurses and some administrators. They even trained some parents, which means the lessons continue at home. When a problem surfaces, everyone involved can effectively deal with the situation. One of the greatest things about Lions Quest is its flexibility. The curriculum is grade-specific, and can be taught with other subjects or on its own. It can be taught daily, weekly or occasionally. Lions Quest can be adapted to meet each school’s needs. In my opinion, this flexibility is also the program’s greatest weakness. It is taught sporadically while other classes are ongoing and build upon previous lessons. It might be implemented only for a year whereas other subjects are taught in every single grade. I worry that, when used on a part-time basis, the program does not reach its full potential. I am grateful to schools, no matter how they choose to teach Lions Quest. But for maximum impact, please encourage your schools to make a longer term commitment to teach Lions Quest on a regular basis and at multiple grade levels. As Lions, we should be proud of Lions Quest. We just need to spread it to more schools and classrooms so that we can reach and positively impact more of our young people. I hope reading this story about Lions Quest in Finland inspires you to become more involved in your local programs. Sincerely, Joe Preston Chairperson, Lions Clubs International Foundation
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This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/Foundation+Impact/2455447/298107/article.html.