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Young people learn how to teach their peers strategies for dealing with violence

The team of the Safer Internet Centre from the Association Parents held a one-day training with the young people aged 16-19 from the Youth Parliament Gorna Oryahovica. The topic of the training was “Emotional Intelligence in Real and Virtual World as a Way for Dealing with Violence.” This topic is very important for the age of the participants, because emotions are among the key factors influencing the way we react in different situations. In the course of the training, the young people had an opportunity to increase their sensitivity towards different kinds of emotions and behaviours we display. They also gained new skills for developing emotional intelligence as a way to prevent various forms of violence.

The method “Peers Train Peers,” which was used in the training, is a very beneficial one. The participants not only transfer their knowledge to their schoolmates, but at the same time reinforce their own knowledge of the topic and develop their communication and leadership skills in a protected environment like school and with the support of teachers and head-teachers. This is exceptionally advantageous to their long-term development into mature and responsible leaders.

The training consisted of three main modules, all including interactive methods and a discussion. During the first module, the young participants produced their “Tree of violence.” It included different forms of violence, divided into three groups: verbal, physical and emotional. Each form of violence was matched with its Internet equivalent and the emotion, which triggers the particular violent behaviour. During the exercise, the youths lively discussed relationships between people and emotions as bases for manifestation of different kinds of behaviour. Freely expressing their opinions, they developed their skills for active listening and argumentation.

The focus of the second part was on skills for differentiating between needs and wishes. This phase also consisted of discussion and practical part. The youths participated in several exercises, which helped them to illustrate the differences and experience the practical application of human needs. At the same time, they had plenty of space to experiment with the different types of behaviour during the group work and to develop new skills for dealing with different situations in a team. They were able to observe their own reactions, as well as reactions of others, and to refer to the emotions behind them.

The third phase placed the young people in four typical situations. At the same time, they had to find a solution for the given problem and were provided a chance to develop their skills to work in a team. In this process, they also learned first-hand about needs and emotions, which influence and shape the way people interact with each other.

At the end of the day, each of the young participants walked away fully satisfied with the experience – something that was entirely the result of the bright personal features, energy and vigour each of them possesses. An indivisible part of the training were also jokes, which not only reflected on and sustained the good mood of the entire group, but also helped it to overcome the challenges much easier.


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