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First results on mediation implementation in Bilozerka schools
  • Written by Ella Petrenko, Bilozerka regional headquarters of “Youth center of regional development”
  • Published in  Events
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The performance of agitation brigade from Bilozerka school #2 during the conference Photos by Kateryna Pavlovska
The performance of agitation brigade from Bilozerka school #2 during the conference

Public activists and education specialists of Bilozerka and Dvorichna regions talked about the main results of their work which lasted for more than half a year during the final conference.

On September 24, the final conference “Peer mediation in schools of Dvorichna and Bilozerka regions” took place in Bilozerka (Kherson region). The great partner cooperation of public activists from 2 regions and Pyryatyn city preceded this event.

The conference took place in Bilozerka multi-profiled gymnasium – one of the pilot educational facilities of the region. The representatives of authorities, Community Law Center and education specialists from Bilozerka and Dvorichna regions took part in the event. The participants met to share their experience of introducing mediation practices in pilot schools.

The first deputy of the head of the regional state administration Sergiy Yakovenko was the guest of the conference. He greeted the participants, wished for successful work and peace and said that the implementation of mediation in regional schools is very necessary. Students will use the skills to solve problems peacefully in their lives.

The head of the department of education, youth and sports Svitlana Kolesnichenko mentioned that the education department has been working to form the efficient system of preventive education for several years. The use of mediation practices in three schools of the region will help students to develop communication skills and to solve the problems on their own.

The mediation in both regions is being successfully implemented since the beginning of this year. School services of understanding started functioning since September. The presentations of the services have already been done in most of the schools. Administrations gave separate premises for the services of understanding. First circles of values among students and teachers have already been done in several schools. The first mediation has already been conducted in Bilozerka school #2.
“It is always difficult to do something for the first time, - the coordinator of school service of understanding of Bilozerka school #2, Yuliya Kolesnichenko says. – But as we have the support of Viktoriya Nezbay from education department, I agreed to conduct my first mediation. In fact, this is a huge responsibility, as the mediation procedure is hard and you have to be attentive, neutral and reasonable. Mediation was successful; both sides came to the decision. It has been like a “baptism by fire” for me. When I see that my skills and knowledge are useful not only for me but have a positive result for students, the willingness to work and to develop the school service of understanding increases”.

The participants were impressed by the performance of agitation brigade from Bilozerka school #2. The students demonstrated the meaning of mediation and its procedure by performing the famous Pinocchio fairytale.
Lyudmyla Kovtun, Dvorichna Community Law Center coordinator, shares her impressions: “The experience of Bilozerka region on the implementation of mediation in educational system has been very interesting and useful for us. The coordinators of Bilozerka school #2 have found a very original method of presentation of their school service of understanding. They prepared a theater performance of school agitation brigade and told us about the principles and rules of mediation. I think that such kind of presentation should be used in other regions”.

The discussion on the cooperation of teachers with school services of understanding was very important. Not everybody believes that conflicts can be solved peacefully. Some teachers only make the introduction of mediation in schools more difficult as their indifference and mistrust influences the students in a negative way.
Anton Vlasyuk, the director of BIlozerka multi-profiled gymnasium, said: “Maybe it is true that the teachers are the greatest conservatives. Too bad, that not a lot of teachers want to implement innovation practices in their work. The school service of understanding gives opportunities to the students-mediators to fight their own complexes, develop and to be useful for their peers. It is very important to help and support them, to believe in them and in the process. How can we wait for success if we don’t believe in what we are doing?”.

The school services of understanding are already functioning in Bilozerka and Dvorichna regions and have first positive outcomes of their activity. The most important thing is that the children are not passive consumers but the active participants of mediation process.

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The conference participants discuss their experience

Reference
The conference took place within the project “The implementation of peer mediation in school education system of Dvorichna region of Kharkiv oblast and Bilozerka region of Kherson oblast” which is implemented by the organization “Foundation of village communities of Dvorichna region” in partnership with “Youth Center of regional development” with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation.
The aim of the project is to decrease the level of conflicts in schools via approbation of the programme «Peer mediation” which is aimed at the foundation of School Services of Conflicts Solving and implementing the successful experience in the system of school education of Dvorichna and Bilozerka regions.

Additional information: Community Law Centers are established with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation within the framework of “Legal Empowerment of the Poor” programme initiative. You can learn more on the Centers network activities, basics and principles of work here: www.legalspace.org

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