In the month of May 2021, GNRC Member in Romania, Education for Change, undertook a two-week program for children under the theme, “Building Safe Learning Contexts for Students.” The program is being implemented by teachers to develop students’ skills to relate in a positive way with the others, equipping students with efficient methods to process and control their emotions and to solve conflicts in a nonviolent way. The program also seeks to nurture an attitude of reconciliation and a culture of peace in schools.
This month, Education for Change implemented module 3 of the program which focuses on helping children to learn how to identify the dysfunctional emotions and control them, especially their anger. 60 teachers and more than 2,000 children from different areas of the country took part in the program.
The program centers on safe learning environments, that are physically safe, from a psychological safety perspective that can promote positive learning for students, positive teacher-student relationship and interaction among students. It allows learners to understand and feel that they can safely take part in a learning process and explore their true potential without any fear.
In the process of creating safe learning contexts, the teachers noted that students were embracing class cohesion, which provides a safe environment for learning. Variety of learning modules were used by teachers during the training process including safety from bullying, cyber-bullying, E-safety – both myths and practical approach, difficult emotions’ regulation, assertive communication, conflict management, forgiveness and reconciliation among others.
Online questionnaires, teachers and students’ testimonies, interviews, success stories, students’ initiatives (non-violence campaigns through painting, writing, inspiring videos for their colleagues) were key in achieving the objectives of module 3. It was mentioned that mistakes are part of a learning process and one should not fear making mistakes. These fears are not conducive to a safe learning environment.
Positive classroom behaviors enhance the development and cohesiveness of students in classes. It also raises their cognitive skills, and they can analyze and question what they are being taught, thereby feeling safe.