III. Developing an intercultural education programme

It is important to bear in mind that the reality in each European country varies significantly both within each country and between countries. We would therefore recommend that you, as the facilitator of the activities, adapt them to the actual situation which ­exists in your country, region or town. If the examples given, or the questions suggested, for debriefing and evaluation are not relevant in the social and cultural context of your group, you should find other examples or questions which will be more suitable.

Very few of the activities can be translated directly from one country to another or from one group to another. Besides the linguistic specificities, the cultural and social differences of each group or the level of acquaintance with the themes will always mean that you will have to adapt the ideas in this pack to your own situation. As we said above, the success of our educational approach relies on the use of the participants' own experiences, feelings, attitudes, skills and knowledge.

Do not worry! You will not often have to change the whole activity! In most cases it will be enough to adapt the evaluation and discussion to the group's own situation and the purpose of the campaign. For example, if you intend to deal with the issue of religious tolerance, in some countries the discussion may be shifted to relations between Muslim and Christian cultures. In others it may be more appropriate to discuss anti-semitism or the relations between Catholic and Orthodox people. As the problems addressed by the campaign exist in all countries though in different forms, the effort of adapting the activities should consist primarily in bringing those problems closer to the participants' own situation. The 'tips for the facilitator' provide some ideas and help on adaptation, both of the method and the theme.

Tips for facilitators

When working with young people we should always bear in mind the balance between our aims relating to intercultural education those relating to the development of the group itself. One of your main tasks as facilitator is to strengthen and promote a good atmosphere between the members of the group and, as far as possible, to stimulate and encourage their own creativity and aspirations. This will help the participants to feel that their work is worthwhile and productive and lead to valid and interesting experiences and conclusions.

Leading discussions

Discussion is central to the educational process. After each activity you should allow time, however short, to round off with a debriefing and evaluation and we have included notes to help you lead the discussion. You should pay special attention to ensuring everyone in the group can participate if they wish to. For example:

• create a good working atmosphere which allows everybody to express themselves freely and to be listened to. You will need to allow time for people to get to know and to trust each other as well as organising the physical environment so everyone is comfortable.

• invite participants to offer their opinions or relate their experiences about the issues under discussion.

• use words, expressions and language common to the group, refer to recent cases or facts that have happened in the participants' neighbourhood. Make it directly relevant to their own lives.

Dealing with conflict

It is possible that some conflicts may arise during the activities. This is to be expected. We are asking people to explore very difficult and challenging issues, encouraging them to express their opinions and to think critically, this is part of the intercultural education process, but it is never easy and can be extremely stressful.

Situations which could lead to conflicts that break the educational process should be avoided if at all possible. In your role as the facilitator:

• Be aware of each person in the group and any sensitive emotions that might be triggered by a particular activity or by a particular part in a role play or simulation.

• Make sure everyone knows that they are at no time under any pressure to say more or reveal anything about themselves other than that which they feel comfortable with.

• Allow participants time to warm up before any activity and time both at the beginning to get into, and at the end to get out of, role.

• Allow enough time for debriefing and discussion.

However, you should be prepared for conflicts, which may develop between participants because we are dealing with questions related to our own feelings and experiences and values. Do not panic! When dealing with these questions it is inevitable that we become emotionally involved. Conflict is not necessarily negative, provided that you don't loose control of the situation. Here are some tips to help you solve conflicts positively without reinforcing existing tensions nor paralysing the work:

• take enough time for the debriefing and discussion. If necessary make more time.

• help to clarify people's positions, opinions and interests

• ease tensions in the group, for example ask everyone to sit down or to talk for 3 minutes in small subgroups, say something to put the situation into perspective etc.

• encourage everybody to listen actively to each other

• stress what unites people rather than what separates them

• search for consensus. Get people to look at their common interests rather than trying to compromise and move from their stated positions

• look for solutions which may resolve the problem without "recreating" the conflict

• offer to talk to those involved privately at another time

If more serious and deeper conflicts arise which generate tensions and paralyse the work of the group, it may be better to postpone seeking a solution and look for another more appropriate opportunity to resolve the problem. This may be both necessary and positive. By postponing the resolution of the conflict you leave time for those involved to reflect on the situation and to come up with new approaches or solutions. However, it must be stressed that in every case the conflict should never be ignored, hidden away or refused. Hiding from the conflict, like the ostrich, is useless and often the most negative attitude towards conflict.

Evaluation or reviewing

Often we don't reflect critically on our experiences but are just aware of feeling good, or bad, about something that's happened. However, evaluation and reviewing are ­essential parts in the learning process and we strongly suggest that you spend time with the group at the end of each activity to talk over what people have learnt and how it relates to their own lives, their community and the wider world.

We suggest that you try to go through the process by asking the participants:

• what happened during the activity and how they felt

• what they learned about themselves and

• what they learned about the issues addressed in the activity, and finally

• how they can move forward and use what they have learned

Reviewing in a group doesn't have to be through discussion you can also use other techniques including body language, drawings, sculpting etc. There are references for books on these sorts of reviewing techniques in the resources section of the pack.

We also suggest that after each session you take time to review what happened. Make a few notes about:

• How the activity went from your point of view: preparation, meeting your aims etc.

• What the participants learnt and

• What the outcomes are, what they will do now as a result of doing the activity?

The process of evaluation and reviewing does not end here! Getting feedback has been an essential part of developing this pack to its present form. But the work is not complete, this draft will be updated at the end of the campaign and we would appreciate­ your comments on your experiences of using it. So please find time to complete and return the pack evaluation form, which you will find on page 204