Training for youth workers toolkit

IDEA have tested the training for youth workers with teachers in two and a half day in October and November. It is a toolkit to empower youth workers to understand diversity among youth and to act upon if tensions, polarisation or even conflicts arise. The toolkit offers especially more understanding of the diversity of religion in groups, communities and the entire society. It shows not only the divers background of religion in European countries but also how religious factors could cause tensions and how to organise dialogues or debates about it. There are many interesting games and methods and tools to build as youth workers your own tailor made training useful for your group in a specific context.

IDEA started to test the first set of modules with teachers who all worked in a vocational training setting. They were either citizenship teachers, language teachers and teachers in the area of social work. The group of trainees was very diverse not only in gender, teachers background but also in religion. We had directly at the beginning a strong intervention of one of the teachers who was wondering why this was not just a debate education training (IDEA gives debate education) but also focused on more theoretical background. We explained that it is extremely important to go deeper in the understanding of certain topics before you moderate a debate in the class about those topics. And dealing with religion, cultural or sexual diversity in the classes could be controversal. But as a teacher or youth worker you cannot just start a debate without understanding different angles and perspectives of a certain problem that arises. That is why we linked so much modules about diversity, religion, radicalisation and this in the context of young people before we started with debate education.

The other teachers supported this and showed how destructive or biased you can operate as a tecaher if you don’t enable yourself to develop understanding for diversity such as in religion.

One exercise was fantastic in this group. It was the development of a poem. And each first letter of a sentence creates together the word you like to have as the ultimate goal of this poem. We choosed HARMONY. And beautiful poems were created by teachers who were happy as children when they worked on this cheerfully. But also deeper serious discussions which were so enriching were explored. For instance about how they perceive the daily life of young people. We were astonished that the teachers had such a diverse perception about the youth nowadays. Some pointed out that young people were the happiest one on earth, with a lot of opportunities in the nearby future, others showed the shadow side of nowadays life and shared how lonely young people are confronted with so many choices and so little opportunities to get grip on it. Some showed the diversity of youth others refuted that young people have very homegene groups of friends. It was for the teachers from the same school (15.000 students) an eyeopener to exchange perceptions among each others that differed so much in the same school.

The exercises were intense but very enriching and well prepared. This was the finding of the teachers after the training for teachers. Most of them were very motivated to make use of the toolkit and to adjust it to their own classes to continue with it.