Create the Change

Peace Child International’s (PCI) approach to education is encapsulated by the motto

“First inform yourself and then take action”

 The Paul Hamlyn Foundation sponsored Create the Change (CTC) programme embodies the sentiment behind the creed, and moreover expands upon its possibilities by adopting a peer-to-peer approach to educational provision.

Abiding by the core principles of peer-to-peer education, students, in the form of ambassadors, underpin the programme, and are charged with improving both the conflict management and communication skills of their peers.

The need for improvement in these areas is pressing; teachers, school administrators and students AGREE that a lack of listening and communication skills in group settings acts as a barrier to learning.

CTC focuses on three main issues:

  • Reactions to Bullying: boosting resilience and/or confidence.
  • Anger Triggers: CTC emphasises that students have a choice in how they react to provocative situations.
  • Rejecting stereotypes: learning how to accept other people.

What are the roles and responsibilities of the Ambassadors?

As the heartbeat of the programme, the Ambassadors are crucial to its success. They undertake their responsibility in a number of ways:

  • 1. As actors – creating performances about the theme. or  As facilitators – delivering the workshop to their younger peers.
  • 2. As positive role models for their younger peers.
  • 3. By using the tools and strategies that they learnt in the training they can assist their fellow schoolmates in conflict situations in school such as:
  • Dealing with bullying by developing strategies.
  • Defusing conflict situations.

How the Ambassadors are trained

The training phase of the programme explores the various issues in an immersive manner, employing learning strategies such as:

  • Improvised dramas.
  • A series of games, including role-playing and hot-seating.

The ultimate objective being to improve the ambassadors’

  • Empathy.
  •  Listening skills.
  • Communication skills.
  • Confidence.

The trainee ambassadors receive one full day’s training followed by a 2-3 hour booster the following day.

Peers educating peers: How they do it

Post training, the 2 groups of ambassadors, “the actors” and “the facilitators”, are ready to deliver the CTC programme.

At Assembly, the acting group perform 2 dramatic pieces depicting conflict or bullying scenarios with the aim of illustrating how the situation can be changed.

After the performance the acting group pass the “peer-to-peer” baton to the second group of ambassadors, “the facilitators”, who will lead an hour long classroom-based session, usually but not exclusively to year 7s.

During the session the “facilitators” conduct a benchmark questionnaire entitled “My Communication Skills”. The questionnaire surveys the students’ self-perspective across three main behavioural themes:

  • Empathy.
  • Listening skills.
  • Communication skills.

Teachers are involved as well; they are required to complete an evaluation form.

The follow up

The follow-up stage is conducted as follows.

  1. The PCI team return to the school, visiting each class for 15 minutes to reinforce measures and to conduct a series of evaluations with both recipients of the programme and actor/facilitator ambassadors.

Create the Change: The Ripple Impact.

The positive impact of the Create the Change programme is not solely reserved for the students; its attendant benefits also profit the parent organisation and school practices. Effectively therefore, CTC is the gift that keeps on giving.

Benefits to Students

  • Of 214 ambassadors /  76% have improved communication skills and confidence. / 64% have developed their empathy skills.
  • Young people who do not usually volunteer become more engaged in school activities.
  • “I now think about how what I do has other bigger effects and that if I do something, bad stuff can happen because of it.”  Pupil

Benefits to School Practice

  • Provides good role models to younger pupils.
  • Informal way of working encourages pupils to get involved and speak in front of class.
  • 80% of teachers took part in the evaluation process and felt that it was effective having the pupils carry out the workshop.
  • Programme works well with peer mentorship.
  • Provides excellent material for Personal Social Health Education (PSHE).
  • Pupils create awareness through self-assessment of communication skills.

Benefits to Organisation

  • Improvement in monitoring and evaluation skills.
  • The tools and lessons from Create the Change are used in other educational programmes within the organisation.
  • Able to adapt to the specific needs of different schools without compromising the impacts and expectations of the programme.
  • Networking and collaborating with other organisation to carry out the programme.