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Include and engage educators in the prevention of violent extremism

Women without Borders develops a pilot project for schools with the objective to include and engage educators in the prevention of violent extremism (PVE).

Teachers are important attachment figures who significantly influence and offer guidance to adolescents who, in search for an identity, can be vulnerable for extremist ideologies. However, they also need basic knowledge about radicalization processes and their causes, as well as the necessary skills to counteract these tendencies.

The project’s objective is to develop guidelines and an accompanying workshop for teachers on how to deal with radical tendencies and extremism in schools, taking into account given parameters, conditions and resources within the educational system.

With a view to sustainability the project is designed to reach the teaching body of participating schools by means of a two-step approach that consists of 1) a workshop on radicalization and on establishing an expert-group of 5-8 teachers as a local contact and discussion point at the respective school 2) including the teaching body of the respective schools by providing them with compact guidelines on how to deal with (possible) signs of radicalization in class.

In order to avoid unjustified stigmatization or even criminalization, that may occur when “normal” adolescent” behavior is misinterpreted, both workshop and guidelines are designed with the objective to sensitize teachers not only for the topic of radicalization but to discuss and reflect at the same time on the various behavior patterns adolescents may show during their search for identity.

The pilot project has been implemented by Women without Borders in two schools in Vienna.