The workshop plans included in the educational programmes proposed below have been developed after the completion of SKHC 8-hour training sessions for the teaching community of Greece, North Macedonia and Bulgaria and are based on the participants’ feedback and ideas. The programme includes two-hour participatory workshops for upper primary as well as lower and upper secondary education, with different activities per age group. The proposed activities contribute to improving relationships between all school members as they facilitate participants’ ability to cultivate skills for effective communication and positive conflict management in school and other social environments. More specifically, the activities help participants of all ages develop active listening and empathy skills, thus achieving peaceful coexistence and cooperation between them in a healthy environment of mutual respect and acceptance of diversity, far from any form of violence. For secondary school students, activities also aim at the democratic and social mobilisation of students by bringing them together in collective actions for democratic social changes.
The overall aim of the programme is to promote democracy, peace and human rights through education. The proposed activities are expected to prepare the members of a school community to become more active in their school life, and, more broadly, in their social life, and help bring about a society based on justice, acceptance and peaceful coexistence. The activities proposed do not aim to handle controversy per se but to prepare the ground for the managing any type of school conflict democratically.
Category of educational activities
promoting democratic education, supporting schools to operate peacefully, in accordance with human rights values, strengthening the social role of schools
upper level primary school,
lower and upper level secondary school
cooperation, respect, human rights, positive climate, reduction of aggressive behaviour, conflict management, coexistence, understanding, acceptance, social mobilisation
- Knowing myself and others, self-empowerment
- Promoting respect for the rights and the feelings of others
- Creating a positive and creative climate in the classroom
- Reducing aggression and all forms of violence in school
- Effective management and reduction of conflicts in the school environment
- Promoting cooperation to achieve common social objectives
- Cultivating a culture of democratic dialogue and cooperation at school
Each educational workshop of the programme is 2 school hours long and can be carried out independently with the participation of 10-25 students (usually per school class). For each school class a different workshop can be created with activities that meet the needs and interests of the students. The structure is similar for all workshops. After the experiential, participatory activities, each workshop is followed by a discussion in the round (plenary session). At the end of each workshop there is a circle of evaluation by the participating students in the way described in this toolkit.
The programme has been designed according to the principles of non-formal education. It is based on the active participation of students who, through the interactive activities of the programme, get to know themselves and others better, listen, perceive, empathise with the members of the group and learn how to express themselves and communicate in mutual terms of acceptance and respect. They are trained to be active, democratic citizens, think critically, to be aware of social issues and willing to improve society. The programme is based on a student-centred and collaborative process that fosters empathy and communication skills of participants, mainly through group and individual activities of non-verbal communication, active listening and re-wording, role-playing and activities that practice collective decision-making in the group. Through experiential and group activities students are also given the opportunity to cultivate their imagination, creativity and critical awareness in order to see themselves as active members of a social group where they interact with respect and equality.
The activities require the trainer to create a safe, friendly and pleasant environment so that all group members feel comfortable expressing themselves, can take positions, agree and disagree peacefully. The trainer is there to moderate the conversation, facilitate the conversation, ask questions, and motivate participants to freely express themselves. This obviously means avoiding insults and any kind of verbal violence. When necessary, the trainer can sum up and offer more information and experiences that can help participants develop cognitively, socially, and emotionally.
The trainers are encouraged to select and adapt the tools of non-formal education according to learning objectives as well as the needs and any special background of the group involved. In any case, the educational process flows differently each time since it is shaped by the participating group, which is the living core of the educational process. The activities proposed can take place at the school context as well as in other frameworks as for example under planned visits to civil society and local actors, in school festivals, world days etc. If possible, it is suggested that each workshop is coordinated by two teachers instead of one, so that their cooperation breaks the traditional, teacher-centred model of education.