The reduction of violence and the introduction to positive alternatives to aggressive conduct go hand-in-hand. Instead of simply lecturing pupils an educators in our workshops, we cooperate with them in order to improve relationships and the atmosphere within the classrooms. Our model presents children and adolescents with incentives to improve their social status and community standing through inclusive and supportive behavior, rather than violence.
Furthermore, our program identifies pupils believed to be role models displaying pro-social behavior among their peers, so called Uplifters. We work with these selected children to influence and improve the safety in their own classrooms and schools.
…. encourage their peers’ emotional welfare and sense of belonging.
… enable others to gain inner peace and to have a positive self-awareness.
… give others a sense of belonging that helps them thrive emotionally and socially.
… give others the feeling that they do not need to pretend,
but that they can be their authentic selves.
Our Hebrew name “Matzmichim” is translated into English as “Uplifters” from the adjective uplifting. While our program derives from the idea that we are encouraging pupils to grow and empowering them to do so, in Hebrew the word takes on a more substantial meaning of personal development.
An empowered child uses his or her position in a positive way. It contributes to a supportive atmosphere within the classroom that allows growth among the student body. We firmly believe that every child can be empowered and conduct our programs in this belief. Therefore, our work is not one-sidedly focused on either perpetrators or victims of violence, but rather on creating a positive group dynamic and strenghtening positive role models. We do not identify at-risk-children, but aim at opening opportunities for everyone to contribute to their school environment, during the classes and on the playground, as well as to their communities outside of school. In this way, we help our pupils grow into strong young adults and teach them ways to prevent violence from initially occuring. The long-term goal of this concept is to provide alternative approaches to aggression, conflict and violence that re-shape our society into a more peaceful one in the forseeable future!
About 15 people spread around a hoolahoop and stretch their forefinger, tumbs pointing up, so the hoop can be put on their fingers. The goal of the game is to put the hoop on the floor together, with everyone touching the hoop at all times. If the pupils become frustrated and resignated, offer a time-out for group discussion.
At first the hoop moves up instead of going down which makes the group nervous. Often the children accuse each other, yell at each other etc. As a consequence, the group is even less successful. They achieve their goal only when they stay calm and have patience with towards.
Through this game, the pupils experience frustration and the feeling of failure. At the same time, the game enables the pupils to recognize that being frustrated is a matter of finding a solution. In this way, the game is encouraging.
– Do you remember a situation where you have been frustrated?
– How did you deal with it?
– What did you do change it?
– Does somebody have an idea what to do against feelings of frustrations?
– rope or chairs to divide the classroom into two equal parts
– paper balls or other soft materials to throw without hurting anyone
The classroom is divided into two parts using the rope or chairs. The class is then also divided into two groups with the same number of people. Both of the groups get the same amount of paper balls. The participants have to throw the balls into the field of the other team with the goal of freeing the own field from all balls for at least 5 seconds.
How was it for you to play this game? Would you have continued if I would not have interrupted the game? For how long? Did you think it was possible to win a game like this? Did anybody understand that it is impossible to win a game like this? Can you explain why? Did anyone realize during the game that you cannot win? What did you do then? Did you continue to play?
Think about a conflict which has lasted for a long time, in which you were not involved personally. How did it start? What did you think and feel during the conflict? Who was contributing to it? Did you have ideas how to stop this conflict?
Who was involved in a fight which was not necessary but continued fighting? Who was involved in a fight and decided after some time that it was enough and stopped?
Do you experience conflicts in your life that you think cannot be solved? Did you experience conflicts in which you knew there is no chance of winning? What has to happen for you to decide that it is not possible to win? Is there a person in this class who is involved in a conflict with another pupil? Does anybody want to share how this makes them feel?
Comparison with historical events:
It is possible to refer to events in history such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which has lasted for a long time with no real solution in sight.
The goal of the game is to make the children realize that violence doesn’t lead to success. Even if somebody seems to be superior for some time, nobody is able to win.