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Peer Mediation in Greece

Restorative Justice (RJ) has some Greek roots that can be traced already in the ancient Greek philosophy. The participation of citizens in the administration of justice, the implementation of mediation schemes and arbitration by the “Tessarakonta” (Greek work for “Forty”) and the Public referees are all exemplary of RJ practices in ancient Greece. However, the restorative practices and ideas in ancient Greece differ from the RJ schemes encountered today. RJ in Greece has developed over the last decade and especially the past five years. The practice of mediation is central to these developments in legal and social contexts. Prof. Vasso Artinopoulou, RJ4All Co-Director, and Iro Michael, RJ4All Senior Project Officer, in cooperation with Hellenic Social Mediation Center introduced peer mediation programs in primary and secondary Greek schools:

 

Α Pilot School Mediation Program at Experimental High School of Ionidios School of Piraeus

The pilot program was designed for the implementation of Peer Mediation in the school community. The aim was to effectively address and resolve conflicts in peaceful ways. The role of the student-mediator is to coordinate the structured mediation process and dialogue, in order for the students to resolve their conflict. The selection of student-mediators (2 students from each classroom of all classes) took place once students expressed their willing to participate in the training, and based on recommendations of their peers. The training of pupils included (but not only) the following subjects: mediation principles, communication skills and techniques, role-playing. Students learned to active listen to the interlocutor, to understand other person’s view and be flexible to many alternative suggestions for conflict resolution and restoration. All the implementation steps, evaluation and results of the school mediation program at the Experimental High School of Ionidios are presented in the book "School Mediation.Training pupils in dealing with violence and bullying" (Vaso Artinopoulou, in cooperation with Christina Kalavri and Iro Michael, Nomiki Bibliothiki Publications, 2010, in Greek).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poster drawn by Ionidios’ school mediators

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ionidios’ school mediators

 

 

Training Seminar "School Mediation in Primary Education",

Teaching School of the Department of Education, University of Crete

Forty primary school teachers were trained in peaceful conflict resolution and school mediation, during their participation in the post-graduate program at the Department of Education, University of Crete. The aim of the training was to promote the implementation of school mediation and provide these teachers with skills of peaceful conflict resolution and with the ability to pass on the mediation principles and skills to students. The seminar lasted 25 hours, during which the following subjects were presented: restorative justice and social mediation, communication skills and management of emotions, the process and techniques of mediation (using also role-playing), and students’ awareness in the peaceful conflict resolution principles (including a brief experiential awareness of students in a school). The training seminar of teachers in School Mediation ended with very positive impressions of both participants and trainers. This training was the first training seminar of primary school teachers held in Greece. It became clear that there was a need to promote school mediation in the Greek educational system. (See also the related blog created for the workshop on “SCHOOL MEDIATION: Peaceful Conflict Resolution at School” (in Greek), http://diamesolavisi.blogspot.com/)

 

Raising awareness of students of 2nd grade primary school

9th Primary School of Nea Smyrni

The educational raising-awareness program of 2nd grade students in peaceful conflict resolution at 9th Primary School of Nea Smyrni was driven by interactive learning and active participation of students. We learned together how to "accept each other and recognize the positives", to "acknowledge our feelings and emotions of others", to “active” listen, to "find many solutions" to our problems and to "choose mutually acceptable solutions to common problems"! Eventually we decided that "we prefer to win all"! At the end of the program, students made drawings about "respect" and "equality", to "see other’s side”, the “restoration” and "feelings", in order to remember their training and the new words they had learned. The program was attended by the School Director and the School Counselor.