One of the main problems for contemporary youth is the risk posed by the emergence of extremist attitudes and the associated actions, leading to an aggressive aversion to differences of ethnicity, social status, religion and ideology. In many cases, this arises as a result of a lack of information on the actual essence of differences, as well as due to the failure to adequately address the needs of young people.
The “Five Steps To Tolerance” Programme is oriented on assisting the formation and development of tolerant consciousness and behaviour, as well as a practical and results based social activism among youths and students of the state-funded institutions of secondary vocational education in the city of Moscow.
In the January-June of 2014, the first phase of the Programme was tested out in the Tolerance Centre. In July-December 2014, the launch of two five-module tiers of the Programme is planned, devoted to tolerance and youth leadership.
Students from the 1st and 2nd courses of vocational educational institutes will take part in the first tier. Each session of the first tier will include a training session on tolerance and a practice on planning social work projects, catering to the particular needs of the students. Later on, from January 2015 onwards, the participation of these students in the second tier of the Programme is planned.
Participants in the second tier of the Programme, dedicated to youth leadership, are drawn from the active student body of the 2nd-4th courses at state-funded institutions of secondary vocational education, and who have taken part in the pilot of the Programme's first tier. Each session of the Programme's second tier includes a training session on leadership and a practice session on holding themed events on tolerance and social activism in their vocational institutions. Students from 32 Moscow institutions of vocational education are taking part in the Programme.
RELEVANCE OF THE PROGRAMME:
At present, one of the most difficult socio-political problems in Russian society is that of the emergence of antagonism among young people against people of other ethnicities, confessions or opinions. This often manifests itself in cruelty and the emergence of extremist youth formations. The youth environment, by virtue of its social characteristics and acute perception of the situation around it is most prone to destructive influences and the formation of radical views and persuasions. Students at vocational educational institutions were thus found among the participants in the events that took place in Biryulyovo in October 2013.
The last few years have also seen the initiation of the activities of informal youth groups uniting the representatives of various youth subcultures, founded on the attraction to various tendencies in music or alternative sports, whose activity has led to the organisation of propagandist measures and acts of violence, creating situations of conflict.
The students of institutions of vocational education age from 15 to 18 years and, like others of their age, are at risk of falling under the influence of organisations spreading values that are alien to Russian society.
The education workers at institutions of vocational education have expressed a desire for the enacting of permanent preventative work against such phenomena among their students, as well as for the inculcation in them of tolerant attitudes to differences. The best means for this is to receive and analyse experience on the theme of tolerant relations towards different social groups which, in its turn, is most effectively realised with the aid of interactive training programmes. The implementation of this Programme is intended to assist in the response to this pressing general demand.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAMME:
The Programme's objective: the formation of tolerant attitudes and behaviour among students, as well as intolerance and negative relations towards manifestations of extremism.
- The building of an awareness among students of tolerance and the methods of displaying it in different life situations.
- The broadening of the students' notions of social diversity in contemporary society.
- Building intercultural competence in students.
- Building tolerant attitudes towards socially vulnerable groups in society.
- Establishing acceptance of the concept of diversity of opinions, persuasions, abilities and capabilities being an exploitable resource.
- The formation of social responsibility and an active civil position among students.
- Assisting the creation in educational institutions of a system for the reinforcing and broadcasting of the values of tolerance.
Assisting the formation of active youth leadership infrastructures within the framework of vocational educational institutions.
TARGET GROUP OF THE PROGRAMME:
Students in Moscow's institutions of vocational education.
The “Five Steps To Toleerance” Programme will be realised from July to December 2014.
At the preparatory phase (July-August) a programme of ten sessions will be crafted for the first and second tiers. The result will be a methodologically elaborated intellectual product, constituting a unique body of techniques enabling work with young people in the sphere of tolerance and socially oriented leadership. This phase will also see the holding of an orientational seminar with supervisors and administrative staff from state-funded institutions of secondary vocational education participating in the project.
The main phase (September-December 2014) will see the running of five modules of sessions for each tier of the Programme. The Programme will have two tiers for different participants. In the long-term, the Programme will be continued in a third tier, acting as a follow up to the work of those participating in the first two tiers.
Tier One of the Programme consists of four modules and a concluding event entitled “The Festival of Good Deeds.” Each module includes a training session on tolerance and a practice on planning social work projects. The training sessions are devoted to various aspects of tolerance:
- Allow me to introduce myself, or Hello, this is me: a session on interpersonal tolerance, social and ethnic identity. Module 1
- Life in a world of differences. A session on accepting diversity. The team. Diversity as the main resource of the team. Module 2
- Different, but equal: a session on tolerance towards socially vulnerable groups. Module 3
- At the crossroads of cultures: a session on intercultural competence. Module 4
The practices held after each training module of “Five Steps To Tolerance” are devoted to the bases of planning social work projects. Each of them is universal in technique, but is also of use in helping participants create their own unique social project. The themes of the practice session are:
- Me and society. An active civil position. The needs of state-funded institutions of secondary vocational education in social projects. Module 1
- Selecting the type of social project. A project's mission and vision. Projects' target groups. The project group. Module 2
- The aims and stages of a project. Planning a project. Module 3
- Resources and types of resource. Readily available and limited resources. Resource sources. Module 4
The duration of each module – 2 hours.
After each practice session, the participants will be assigned a home task for their independent work on a social project. The homework assignments will be discussed during the following practice session. An intermediate result of the work on the project is its defence as part of the concluding event “Festival of Good Deeds” (Module 5). According to the results of the work of experts who have devised criteria for the evaluation of projects, serving on a jury at the Programme's finale, the ten best projects will be selected and given awards. After this, the participants can pass onto the immediate implementation of their projects. Later on, from January 2015 onwards, the students can take part in the second tier of the Programme.
Tier Two of the Programme consists of four modules and the concluding event “Leadership Championship.” The structure of each module includes a training session on leadership and a practice session on holding themed events of social relevance.
The training sessions themes are:
- Leadership and Me. Module 1
- The Responsibility of a Leader. Module 2
- The Ability of a Leader. Module 3
- The Leader and Management. Module 4
During the practice sessions, the student-leaders are trained in the creation and holding of themed events in the realm of world cultures, having an active social and civil position, and preventing xenophobia and extremism. Throughout the implementation of the Programme, the participants of the second tier prepare and run four events in their state-funded secondary vocational educational institutions, marking the following dates:
- The International Day of Peace (21st September) – Module 1;
- The Worldwide Day of the Smile (3rd October) – Module 2;
- The International Day of Tolerance (16th November) – Module 3;
- The International Day of the Volunteer (5th December) – Module 4.
Participants in the second tier of the Programme show initiative in disseminating the ideas of tolerance inside their educational institutions, as well as assisting in the realisation of the social projects of participants of the Programme's first tier. The concluding event sums up the results of their work. An expert jury will select and give awards to the ten youth leaders who have given the most impressive account of themselves in the “Leadership Championship” (Module 5).
Taking part in the Programme are groups of students from 32 state-funded institutions of secondary vocational education in the city of Moscow. Each group will attend sessions once a month.
A group of participants from one educational institution will pass through all five modules of their tier during the realisation of the Programme. Different students from the same institution may attend the two different tiers of the Programme and work together on the implementation of one social project.