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ARGUING AT SCHOOL – Psychopedagogical Methods to help children (2-18) learn from arguing

Arguing at school is a project carried out within the Erasmus+ KA2 program by a consortium of 10 partners from 6 countries.
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Arguing at School is a project carried out within the Erasmus + KA2 2021 program (Cooperative Partnerships in School Education), by a consortium of 10 partners from 6 countries (Italy, Croatia, Malta, Romania, France, and Belgium).
The duration of the project is from December 2021 to November 2024.
The project is dedicated to the comparison between different methods of approach and management of quarrels between peers (2-18 years). The work between the partners explores the issue of school conflicts and the approaches that adults (teachers and educators) have in these situations.

WHY AN INTERNATIONAL PROJECT ON QUARRELS?

The project Arguing at School takes place in a national and international context where, at first recognition, the topic of conflicts and quarrels between students usually represents a taboo for many adults: from our experience, many teachers react to students’ arguing on the basis of their own experience or individual sensitivity. Schools rarely use effective methods, shared with all teachers.

The partners built the project around some key questions:

  • What happens when a quarrel between students happens? How is this phenomenon perceived by teachers? How do they intervene?
  • Is the intervention of teachers the result of a school strategy?
  • Is there specific training for adults on this issue?
  • Is there a pedagogical method or an approach chosen by the school? What are the results?
  • What is the impact of introducing a pedagogical method at school on quarrels between peers?

By comparing different methodologies, approaches and experiences developed by some project partners, the working group will highlight similarities and differences, limitations and strengths of each method, in order to make them known to new schools and the world of education.
In fact, different contexts and age groups require specific tools and attention. The work on the whole school age group will allow understanding of how to improve the transferability of the methods, already in progress, and the educational cohesion among adults who can face these situations.

The main objectives of the Arguing at school project are:

  • Start a broad discussion on peer quarrels in European schools and on the presence of pedagogical methods to transform quarrels into learning opportunities.
  • Through the collaboration between four pilot schools, in Romania, Italy, Croatia, Malta, document the existence and effectiveness of pedagogical methods for classroom management in the event of disputes between peers.
  • Communicate and make available the results of the work, including new and different actors in the discussion on these issues, including families and institutional and political leaders.
  • Develop Methodological Guidelines and a Toolkit for teachers, to make methods more transferable and improve the quality of training on these issues.
  • Improve the autonomy of students, decreasing their dependence on adults, too often called to intervene in their quarrels as judges.
  • Improve self-esteem and empowerment that come from students’ ability to constructively deal with quarrels.
  1. Arguing at School. A Methodological Framework about quarrelling children (2-18 years old). An audiovisual product to make experiences visible and clarify the pedagogical assumptions that allow for better arguments. The first draft of this result will be presented in November 2022 in Malta, through a working day which you can download the program here. It’s possible to follow the event online through the Zoom platform. To participate please fill out the form.
  2. Toolkit for Teachers Training: Know How for let children arguing better: an operational manual that allows you to put into practice concrete actions from 2 to 18 years. The different experiences of the partners regarding adult education will converge in a week of collective work in Croatia in the summer of 2023, and then become a resource available on this site for schools.
  3. Guidelines for a Whole School Approach to Pupils Quarrelling: for teachers, managers, school offices, teachers’ trade union representatives, parents’ and students’ associations. We know that the methodological choice of an individual teacher can be useful and have positive effects. Even better if the choice is shared by many colleagues. To get to influence the system, and overcome ancient inertia that prevents litigants from learning, it takes new guidelines.
  4. Policy Recommendations for public decision-makers.

PARTNERS

The project team is made up of 10 partners, who provide different contributions: at the operational, methodological and network levels.
The leader (CPP – Center for Psycho-pedagogical Peace and Conflict Management) is an Italian training centre specialized in the processes of change and learning in situations of conflict.
Daniele Novara, founder and director of the CPP, is the pedagogist who was the first in Italy to highlight the importance of arguing between children as an area for learning conflictual skills, developing the “Litigare bene” method, which has proven its effectiveness applied in infant-toddler centres, preschools and primary schools.
Other partners use the Peer Mediation method, suitable for lower and upper secondary schools.

CPP – Psycho-pedagogical Center for education and conflict management

CPP (Center for Psycho-pedagogical Peace and Conflict Management) was founded by the pedagogist Daniele Novara in 1989. Based in Italy (Piacenza and Milan) is a training center specialized in the processes of change and learning in situations of conflict.

The CPP’s working method is based on Maieutics: the ability to discover the internal resources present in everyone to find out what they need to stay in conflicts. It is possible to learn to stay in conflicts rather than fear and avoid them. Good confrontational competence is the main antidote to violence.

For children aged 2 to 11, Daniele Novara has developed the “Arguing well” method that helps children manage problems without the intervention of adults. This method, applied in infant-toddler centres, preschools and primary schools, allows children to learn conflictual skills that are useful for life.

FREREF – Fondation des Régions Européennes pour la Recherche l’Education et la Formation

The FREREF – Fondation des Régions Européennes pour la Recherche l’Education et la Formation network brings together Regions, bodies and regional bodies operating in the Long Life Learning area.

The objective of FREREF is to promote and support the concrete development of LLL at the regional and European levels, allowing interregional cooperation based on sharing practices and peer learning and strengthening the links between regional actors and the European context. The role of FREREF in the project concerns above all the evaluation of the quality, through a specific methodology for the evaluation, based on participatory methods.

IIHL- International Institute of Humanitarian Law

The International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL) is an independent, non-profit humanitarian organization founded in 1970 in Sanremo, Italy. The main purpose is to promote international humanitarian law, human rights, refugee law, migration law and related issues through the organization of specific training programs, international meetings and round tables. Since 2017, the Sanremo Institute has been actively involved in European-funded projects in the fields of citizenship education, peace education, the cultural integration of young people in the educational environment of all of Europe and in many other related fields.

As part of this commitment, IIHL is one of the founders of the Education Inspiring Peace Laboratory (EIP Laboratory) in Sanremo (Italy), an international hub that carries out research, teacher training, scientific analysis and operational support for educational and cultural policies for various institutional levels. The Sanremo Institute will be essential to support the partnership in the development of teacher training curricula and in the collection of good practices at the school and political level.

Relationships are Forever Foundation

The Relationships Are Forever Foundation is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Malta. The Foundation’s primary goal is to help people better understand the importance of social and emotional learning for dealing with conflicts in a more positive, constructive and mature way. The Foundation created an educational tool designed to develop children’s emotional literacy skills and deal with conflict effectively: a deck of cards titled “Friendship Cards”.

Center For Peace Nonviolence And Human Rights – Osijek

Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights – Osijek was established in 1992 with an aim of contributing to building of sustainable peace and strengthening of the culture of nonviolence in the war-torn region. The Centre for Peace has been dealing with human rights violation in its own community, psychosocial support to the wounded and preparing the grounds for the peaceful return of displaced persons and refugees.

Innovate4Future – Centrul pentru Solutii Educationale Avansate

INNOVATE4FUTURE – Center for Advanced Educational Solutions is a private research and development center focused on the innovation and updating of educational systems through the application of advanced technologies and the meaning of new learning paradigms in the emerging knowledge society. It develops research projects at regional, national and European level in the following areas: technologies for distance learning, virtual mobility in higher education, university social responsibility benchmarking and implementation / improvement strategies, observation of education systems, policies and innovation , adaptive hypermedia and intelligent strategies tutoring systems, content production and eLearning software.

Fondazione Intro – Il Sassolino

Intro Foundation manages IL SASSOLINO, Montessori kindergarten, in Gavardo (BS). In the school for 10 years, the method for the management of conflicts “Arguing well” by Daniele Novara has been applied. Thanks to the specific qualitative research project “The Tales of the Red Bench”, carried out by INTRO in 2017, an external observer was able to document the processes and effects of the Litigare bene method in the children’s community, creating communication tools that make them shareable with other professionals.

Osnovna škola Ivana Gorana Kovačića Vrbovsko

The primary school of Ivana Gorana Kovačića Vrbovsko (Croatia) carries out numerous activities dedicated to the culture of non-violence and building peace, through the school mediation centre which trains teachers. Starting from the Erasmus EduCATe project (2017) the school has started to apply the Litigare bene method. The school is the leader of a KA1 learning mobility project, dedicated to the Litigare bene method, in collaboration with the CPP, and carries out numerous activities for students on peace education.

Colegiul National Sfantul Sava

The Saint Sava National College (CNSS), together with the academic activity, carries out numerous activities for personal development, the expression and discussion of opinions, the awareness of different aspects of life, the learning of tolerance and the acceptance of opinions of others.

Maria Regina College Naxxar Induction Hub

The Induction Hub Senior Leadership Team (SLT) is a learning environment for migrant students aged 5-16. Through a study program, which also includes the acquisition of basic language skills in Maltese and English, students will be able to continue their studies in compulsory and post-secondary ordinary education.