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Preventing teacher violence

by Laura Hinze

In depth

Violence in the classroom is too common: a school in Uganda.

Violence in the classroom is too common: a school in Uganda.

Together with academics in Tanzania, a team of researchers at Bielefeld University has developed a teacher training programme to prevent violence in schools in low-income countries.

It goes by the name of Interaction Competencies for Children for Teachers (ICC-T) and is an interactive workshop employing the following methods:

  • Knowledge transfer: In many countries, child psychological development is not covered in sufficient depth in teacher training. There is a lack of awareness that violence can harm children. Many teachers want only the best for their students but fail to realise that they often achieve the opposite by resorting to physical and humiliating punishments. What is more, many teachers are un­aware that there are alternatives. New knowledge gives them access to methods other than the cane.
  • Practical exercises: Before participating in the workshop, teachers were familiar with a number of non-violent methods but had never used them. Practical exercises helped the teachers develop the courage and confidence to apply those methods later in the classroom.
  • Reflection on personal experiences of violence: Many teachers give no thought to how it feels or what it means for a student to experience violence. Self-reflection helps them appreciate the impact of violence and prompts them to change their ways.