Values 'should be taught, not left to be caught'

Values 'should be taught, not left to be caught'
Cherie Neo, president of the Students' Association, Tam Zhi Yang, Law Society president, and Lim Wei Yuan, president of Ambassadorial Corps.

SINGAPORE - Primary and secondary school students have lessons on character and citizenship in school. Now university students will also be getting similar lessons.

The Singapore Management University (SMU) is in the midst of drawing up its own values-based programme, known as SMU LifeLessons.

The initiative, announced in May, will cut across student activities like co-curricular activity training and events, camps, community work and overseas exchanges.

Speaking to The Straits Times recently, Dr Bervyn Lee, director of SMU's office of student life, said the programme hopes to put some "structure" in the imparting of values and soft skills, such as communication, to students.

Time will be set aside for them to think about their goals and what is important. Facilitators - who will be drawn from a pool of staff, alumni, senior students and coaches - will also be attached to student groups.

Those taking part in a swimming competition, for instance, will get "time-out" moments to rethink what the sport means to them.

Instead of just barking orders to train harder or break records, their coach would also prompt them to share their thoughts during regular sessions.

Dr Lee is leading a team of 30 staff to plan the initiative, which will include distributing journals for reflection to first-year students next year.

For a start, to find out more about the students, the staff have been joining them at their activities such as dance and choir training and competitions, even accompanying some overseas for events this year.

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