Vienna NGO Committee on the Family <>

December 2004, No. 52/ 53 Deadline for contributions:.1st. March 2005

Vienna NGO Committee on the Family

A prevention model: the “trialogic”

By Francisco Mele

During the second phase of adolescence, both the family and the school system are brought into question. Adolescents need to break off the vital world and the systems, but also need to feel themselves as members of a group. The family and the school system should be present as adolescents start to build their selves without hindering their incipient process toward autonomy; the “trialogic” proposal tries to involve three actors – the adolescent, the family and the school – in the prevention project.

This model is aimed at getting close to the adolescent through the peer-education approach. For this purpose, undergraduate trainees are trained and used to carry out interventions in classes, with students that are almost of the same age as they.

A second level of intervention involves the teachers, through the participation of CeIS operators and undergraduate and specializing trainees. Undergraduate trainees collaborate with the operator appointed to the CIC (Information and Counselling Centers) for students of intermediate and high schools. The specializing trainees have the task to get hold of the families and to establish a family counselling center in schools.

The work done in CICs and in family counselling centers is aimed at identifying the obstacles that could prevent communication among the actors involved in the educational process. It is based on working with homogeneous and heterogeneous groups, in order to understand needs and difficulties faced by students and to prepare them to meet their family and teachers at school.

After that, workgroups with teachers are carried out, with the purpose of analyzing the relationship of them with their students and with the school as institution. Teachers are also prepared to hold meetings with students and their families.
Likewise, the workgroups with parents provide them the opportunity to discuss about specific topics, such as their expectations toward their children, how they figure out their future and what the school should do to support them.
These three types of meetings should subsequently come together in heterogeneous groups, formed by parents, students and teaches. Finally, their results should be presented during a general meeting where students, teachers and families are expected to participate. It would be advisable to choose a few classes that would act as sample and driving force, for instance, a couple of classes of the first and last but one year.
However, it will be necessary to prepare some survey forms. These forms will be kept in the school and will allow to compare data from one year to another. Data collected in the first year may be easily compared with those collected in the following years, as the sample is represented by the same students. The meetings’ contents should be jointly prepared by operators and teachers, so that the latter are involved in the survey methods and will be able to continue the work after project completion.
It would be advisable to train parents and operators on the preparation of contents, in order to have a well-established group of families and teachers in the school. In this way, the family counselling center can be managed by parents with the support of teachers.

Contact: Francisco Mele

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