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Holding Difficult Conversations

September 7, 2015 | foundation4peace

Initially designed to help train teachers to fulfil obligations to prevent young people from being drawn into extremism, this project has been adapted for other public service professionals in order to develop confidence and competence in engaging successfully in dialogue.

Extreme groups show no sign of abating in their keenness to recruit our young people. We need to get to them first. New legislation is coming into force; the Prevent Duty, the obligation on statutory bodies to prevent people becoming drawn into extremism, places significant demands on schools. This means that many frontline staff must acquire the skills, awareness, knowledge and confidence to ensure that they can identify signs of concern, challenge prejudice constructively, counter extreme ideas and narratives, and provide alternatives to the persuasive narratives made to vulnerable young people.

This programme takes place over either a day and a half training event or three shorter workshops, and can be delivered either at the Peace Centre or in a school/college. It features a mixed methodology of group exercises, simulated role-plays, and interaction with specially selected speakers ranging from former extremists and survivors through to academic experts and policy-makers.

This results in teachers and public service professionals who understand the challenge of extremism and the motivations of those who are vulnerable to it. In addition to this, our approach develops the skills to challenge prejudice constructively by improving conflict resolution techniques that allow us to tackle the issue head on rather than dodge the subject. Most of all, the central benefit of this project is that by combining all of these newly developed skills, we have people who are confident in their ability to tackle this issue on the front line.

As an example, the Prevent lead for Lancashire Constabulary said of this project:

‘Overall the training was excellent…it was bespoke and provided development for every member of the team. Whatever their level of skill at the outset every single attendee stated that they had enjoyed the training and found it relevant and useful to their role’.

For further information on this and our other projects, either visit the Commissions page of this website or get in touch with our team at commissions@foundation4peace.org.