Title of Product
Act Towards New Paths (Agir Para Novos Caminhos)
Name of Author(s)
Alexandra Candeias, Ana Rita Rebelo, Patrícia Bruno
Name of Producer
Programa Escolhas/Novos desafios II - escolhas saudáveis
Language of the review
Language of the product
Type of product
Identification of students’ at risk
Description of Contents
This is a guide for educators that focuses on the development of personal and social skills of young people aged 14 to 18 years (who have not concluded formal compulsory education) through particular activities and group dynamics, developed by a group of psychologists among populations at risk in suburban Portuguese areas. The guide was created from contextual experiments in particular social environments in Portugal where there is a high concentration of youth at risk and it represents a tested compilation of the most successful activities that were carried out.
This guide comprises six themes: feelings management, assertiveness, communication, self-knowledge and knowledge of the other, as well as social rules and conflict management. These thematic activities may be used as a whole or individually, although they all require a contextualized practice.
The resource includes clarification of diverse programmes that have focused on the inclusion of youth in school and society, namely programme Escolhas and programme Agir. It details student profile (school dropout aged 14-18) and the profile of the social educator, who is required to have good skills for dealing with the unexpected, group conflicts, able to create group dynamics. The guide also recommends that the activities are undertaken by a teacher and social care worker or psychologist working in tandem as best practice.
The resource previews twenty-six weekly one-hour sessions to be held in the community context or in school (partly). Each of the six thematic areas (feelings management, assertiveness, communication, self-knowledge and knowledge of the other, as well as social rules and conflict management) comprises four sessions; these can be used flexibly, either on their own or combined with one another. There is a fixed structure for each session: summary of what went on before; specific dynamics for the session; qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the session through final questionnaire and name register.
After introducing pre-questionnaires, the sessions are structured through activities and specific dynamics. Each session is detailed as to materials, objectives, description, and suggestions/guidelines.
This resource is clearly structured into an introductory part that explains the theoretical underpinnings of the activities and justifies their organization into six thematic areas. Next, there is a chapter on preferred methodologies that privilege role play, group debate, pedagogical games, role switching, reflection and brainstorming, besides tutorial coaching with each student individually. The Guide also includes pre and post-activity evaluation tools for the ongoing assessment of each session and of the whole programme and to assess student satisfaction, besides a participation contract signed by every individual involved in the programme. Then follow the 24 sessions described in detail. The annexes contain all the materials needed for the sessions.
The educational and learning value of this product is very high because it was developed and tested in some problem suburban areas in Portugal through 90 students in heterogeneous contexts and the three social educators who authored it. So, this is a tested material subject to reflexive evaluation.
The quality of the suggested activities is also very high due to the implementation methodologies already described and its content was considered relevant and satisfactory by the target audiences. Participants emphasised the importance of group work, of being able to relate to the other and the need to develop skills that are not yet solidly acquired.
The guide may be used with young people between fourteen and eighteen as preventive or intervention pedagogy, both with girls and boys, in formal and non-formal educational contexts, in the whole classroom or with small groups (although results are better when applied to whole classroom contexts)
Overall, this resource concentrates on the development of personal and social skills of young people according to the central values of citizenship, solidarity and multiculturalism. It presupposes that disruptive behaviour of youngsters generally has roots in families and in the society to which the individual belongs. Thus, this resource is a tool for educators to help young people acquire personal and social skills in the areas of feelings management, assertiveness, communication, self-knowledge and knowledge of the other, as well as social rules and conflict management. This is particularly important for students at risk, although it can be used in any other context.
The transferability potential is high, since the contents addresses personal and social skills that are relevant for any youth in Europe. The points of strength of this resource is its adequacy to the new skills needed in contemporary societies, the fact that it was tested with individuals at risk of dropout and with a criminal record and proved to be both effective in terms of learning and satisfactory for the target audience: the young people.
The product is a result of this previous project
Title of the project