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Violence preventive workshop

Description of a method which is carried out within the good practice example

PeerThink Standard Sheet: Input/Method/Exercise

Based on RealGeM & GemTrEx, with adaptations referring to Blickhäuser & Bargen1

Name of the Input/ Method/Exercise
Violence preventive workshop for primary and secondary schools
90 min (two school hours with 5 min break)
Target Group/Criteria for Access
Target group: children and youngsters, 10 to 21 year old
Access: Schools should allow the workshop to take place. It is very helpful if they prepare the Class on the thematic field.
Sheets of paper with imagined scenes on conflict and potential violence for work in small groups.
Learning Outcomes
 Knowledge The idea of “personal boundary”
Understanding of “conflict” and “violence” and what are the differences between them.
The concept of “self-image” and how it is linked with conflict resolution and violence.
The influence of media and culture.
 Skills Self-empowerment
Encouraging of (self)reflection in terms of expressing emotions and controlling behaviour
Examples of non-violent communication and conflict resolution
Respect for the personal boundaries of the other
Method Instruction
Step-by-Step Description
1.Introduction of the workshop leader
2.Reorganisation of the classroom (making a round table with chairs)
3.Introduction of the concepts “my physical space” and “my personal space in which I feel comfortable” and conversation about questions like: Do you feel comfortable enough? Do you have enough space to move? Introduction of the 5 basic rules which have to be respected during the workshop. The rules are written down, the moderator explain them one by one and ask children for their agreement:
  • there is enough time that everybody expresses his/her opinion, we do not talk when somebody speaks;
  • speak from your own experiences;
  • it is OK if you do not want to talk;
  • you can disagree with what has been said but do not judge the person because of his/her opinion;
  • the rule of confidence.
5. Ice-break exercise: one by one tells his/her name and one of his/her good qualities. The importance of fostering positive but realistic self-images is underlined.
6. Introduction of the concept “self-image”: how we experience ourselves and others and how we think that others experience us (positive/negative self-image). The importance of experiences is stressed.
7. Introduction of the concept “conflict resolution”: children brainstorm on the idea of conflict, definition: conflict means differences in opinions and IS NOT violence. There is nothing wrong with conflict; it is an expression of our diversity. Conflict resolution strategies presented: conversation and compromises.
8. Discussion about connectedness of conflict, violence and self-image: for example how good or bad self-esteem influences on dealing with a conflict.
9. Discussion on the influence of the messages from cultural environment (for example mass media’s images, cultural stereotypes on Gender and Ethnicity) on our self-image.
10. Work in small groups – recognizing the violence: description of the imagined scenes written on sheets of paper (is it about conflict or not, is it about conflict or violence, what would be the non-violent resolution) and reporting the conclusions. 
11. Putting back the classroom in starting situation.
12. Evaluation, praise of the children for their work and farewell.
13. Reporting to the class teacher.
The topics on which particular workshop could be focused on are:
- violence
- non-violent communication
- conflict resolution
-  discrimination
-  self-image
- human skills
- sexual identity
- »I have acted violently too«
Workshop leaders decide by themselves or in discussion with the school about the focus of the particular workshop.
Workshops vary also in terms of who is conducting the workshop. It is preferable (and practiced in most of the cases) that the workshop is conducted by two workshop leaders, one male, one female. When this is not possible the workshop can also be performed by a single workshop leader, however, it influences the quality of workshop.
Beside this the workshop leaders are extremely sensitive and flexible to the situation and atmosphere in the group and they might pick up some situation which occurs during the workshop and develop some discussions or activities around it. Therefore each workshop is unique. 
Frame Conditions
(Room, Space)
Enough space to form a circle and to have enough space that all participants feel comfortable sitting in the circle.
  • group size
  • recommendation about point of time or process (e.g.“starter”)
  • Framework/Related Methods
The best size of group is approx. 20 - 22 children.
The workshop has to be carried out in school time and not as an external activity.

Possible difficulties
  • group situation
  • point of process
One or more kids dominate situation or act destructively (in that case the leader should have an individual conversation with these kids).

Comments and Experiences/Evaluation
Association against violent communication, Ljubljana


1 Blickhäuser, Angelika / Bargen, Henning von (Hrsg.) (2006): Mehr Qualität durch Gender Kompetenz. Ein Wegweiser für Training und Beratung im Gender Mainstreaming. Königstein/Taunus.

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