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Only a ball can be kicked out of my school
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Over the last decades, incidents of violence increase despite the organized efforts to address such incidents. Young people become victims or actors in such incidents within their school settings. Another phenomenon is the social exclusion of individuals, based on specific characteristics of identities (i.e. ethnicity, religion, physical appearance and so forth). Both phenomena are perceived negatively by those experienced and the surrounding environments, they interfere to the operation of the school and the psychological well-being of the students, and deprive basic human rights. Furthermore, violence incidents and social exclusion have been associated with early school drop outs and school failure. The lack of education and training on behalf of the educators opposes further obstacles to the efficient prevention of the phenomenon. The current project acknowledges the lack of training of educators and the importance of the development of educational plans that aim the social inclusion of all individuals, and the prevalence of a culture of peace within the school community. The main aim of the project is to provide educators with guidelines on the thematic area of social exclusion, and reflect on the development of an educational plan within the school community in order to eliminate the early school leaving and combat the school failure. Thus, the main purposes of the current project are two-fold: to provide the teachers with the necessary skills and methodologies to deal with incidents of violence and social exclusion, and to develop a plan within the school community that allows for alternative ways of communication and expression, other than restoring to violence, and stands as a preventive measure tackling the phenomenon of social exclusion. The objectives of the project are: - provide knowledge regarding social exclusion, its impact, and its prevention, and provide guidelines for addressing it - analyze and research various phenomena at school, applying this knowledge into practice later by transforming it into an action plan - exchange practices from school communities and youth work related to social exclusion, multiculturalism, and culture of peace - cultivate a different learning experience for students and teachers that will introduce them to new ways of learning, observing, and behaving - promote skills other than the traditional ones through the use of sports and arts - enable students and teachers to advance their communication skills, and make use of problem-solving skills and creative thinking - stimulate an interaction with people from diverse backgrounds - reduce the phenomenon of early drop-outs by eliminating incidents of violence and increasing the self-confidence of participants The project will initiate its actions with a 5-day teachers’ training on multicultural competencies and social exclusion. A second 5-day training on interactive teaching methodologies that advance collaboration will be part of the project (in order to investigate alternative ways to combat violence). On the basis of their personal experiences, participating educators will connect the theory with the praxis, compare and discuss impact of violence, along with their didactical and pedagogical implications, and the role of interactive methods in preventing social exclusion. The outcome of the training will be to establish an educational plan that will be implemented the upcoming year within the school community. The educational plan will consist of various activities that will be interlaced; sports, arts, human rights education, an organized environment during recess time, and a parents’ education will all be part of the educational plan. The educational plan will be guided by the team of experts of the trainings. Two teachers will have the opportunity to participate at the initial training (multicultural competencies and social exclusion), while two more teachers will participate at the second training (interactive teaching as a form to advance collaboration and combat violence). The target group of the project will be the whole of the school community, including the students (of ages 6-12) and the teachers, since an educational plan will be developed and implemented in the upcoming year, resulting in the promotion of a healthier life-style within the school community. Final beneficiaries will be the parents and the families of the learners, since educating parents will be part of the educational plan. Beneficiaries will be a large number of educators in Cyprus, since the results will be shared and school communities will be assisted in developing their own educational plans for the successful prevention of social exclusion and violence. The project envisions building on the personal and social development of learners, contributing on a long-term basis to the “establishment’ of ethical, rightful and respectful citizens.
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