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“AISLADOS” . Intervention Programs for the development of skills for life.

Quality level: 2

Initial situation

Adolescence is a stage characterized by major changes, where it is necessary to assume new roles and face up to new evolutionary duties which start out in childhood and give way to adulthood. During this time adolescents undergo certain changes and transformations which affect not only their physical characteristics but also their intellectual, emotional, social and psychological aspects. At a cognitive level the formal thought emerges as a result of the biological maturing process and the experiences, above all, within school (Inhelder y Piaget, 1955; 1972). It affects the way adolescents think about themselves and about the rest of the people. One of the most remarkable aspects in the adolescent development is the construction of the personal identity. A process of exploration and search which culminates in the adolescent’s commitment to a series of ideological and social values, as well as a commitment to a future project, which will define his/her personal and professional identity. This inevitable exploration and search for new experiences and sensations is favoured by some cognitive changes that can affect the adolescent’s inadequate assessment of the risks associated to certain behaviours- such as drug use, risky behaviours, an aggressive attitude; all of which favour the adolescent’s involvement in them. As a matter of fact, some investigations suggest that such problematic behaviours usually start at this age. In this period, adolescents spend most of their time with peer groups, and this develops into a context of fundamental socialization. Thus, peers become their emotional confidants, counsellors and behavioural models to imitate. Some of the reasons that justify the creation of prevention programs on high-risk behaviours among adolescents are that: 1. Sociological and psychological research prove a high incidence of problems among adolescents, some with individual and family effects and others with community consequences. Among the most common are: Addictiv behaviours, Academic problems (dropping outs, school failure), Emotional problems, Criminal and aggressive behaviours, Risky sexual behaviours 2. The prevalence and persistence of some psychological problems (“behavioural disorders”), which isolate the individual from the adaptative environment and gradually lead him/her to unsettled behavioural styles and environments. 3. Endowing each individual with emotional, social and cognitive abilities according to his/her reality, strengthens the evolutionary development of adolescents and enhances the possibility of an adequate integration into their environment.

Basic assumptions/theory

The existing literature on the subject suggests that the most effective programmes to help young people develop such skills are those related to interactive teaching methodologies including action programmes, debates, skill tests and activities within small groups. By means of this teaching methodology, we work in the first place with the concepts of certain skills (by defining them, creating examples and correcting verbal mistakes), secondly, we promote both the acquisition and development of these skills (by carrying out guided tests and assessment thereof) and finally we promote the generalization of such skills, so that they can be applied to daily life. One of the main features of “AISLADOS” is the methodological approach, which rests upon role playing, where active learning, learning by trial and error and group negotiations are essential. Our goal is to start with centers of vital interests for adolescents in order to be able to work, through role playing, certain aspects which are difficult to tackle within formal education. Role playing is clearly distinguishable from other types of games (board games, card games, play on words…) Players find themselves in unknown situations created by the Master (that is to say the “educator”) who plays the role of a character and who guides such character through an adventure. The player makes decisions and interacts with other players, and puts himself/ herself in such character’s place and pretends to be himself/herself. Physically the players and the Master sit around a table where there are pencils, papers, dices, boards,… Another big difference in role playing as compared with other conventional games is the objective and temporalization. While in conventional games, someone wins and someone loses, in role playing no one does, no one knows when and how the game is going to end. Each session has a duration which ranges from 90 to 180 minutes. However, the methodology of the programme allows an open temporalization and it is the educator who decides when to stop a session. As each session has a different subject, each educator can stress one area or another.

The PDF contains the full intervention description including additional contact information.

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Page last updated: Friday, 20 January 2012