Forming better citizens through
“It is the right of every citizen
of the Republic of Malta
to receive education and instruction
without any distinction of age, gender, belief
or economic state.” (Education Act, 1988, Chap. 327)
The National Minimum Curriculum
states that the Ultimate Objective of
Education is “to contribute to the
best possible formation of every
person so that good Maltese and
world citizens can be produced.”
(Education Division, NMC, p.47, Dec 1999, Malta)
Citizenship Education
is not a discrete subject area
for students in Malta
• Elements of citizenship education are integrated across the
curriculum and are reflected in subjects such as Personal and
Social Development (PSD), European Studies, Social
Studies, History and Religion.
• Citizenship topics relating to social and moral responsibility,
community development and political literacy are being taught
throughout the above mentioned subjects to students between
11 to 15 years old. (Educ. Div., 2004, Malta)
Conflict Resolution
• The Form 3 PSD Syllabus specifically
advices to deliver sessions on Conflict
Management as an integral part of
modules about “Relationships” and “SelfExpression”. (Educ. Div., PSD Syllabus, p.28, 2005, Malta)
• In conjunction with the PSD syllabus
requirements, a Comenius Project was
designed under the title “Dealing with
Conflict in different Cultures” with the
participation of schools from both Malta
and Germany
What is conflict?
A state of disharmony between
incompatible persons, ideas, or
interests; a clash.
Conflict can also be psychological; a
psychic struggle, often unconscious
which is often the result of
simultaneous exclusive impulses
What is understood by conflict /
bullying in our school ...
• Behaviour (physical / verbal) intended to
offend or intimidate the integrity and
dignity of the person
• Actions including name calling; humiliating
criticism; spreading rumours; excessive
teasing; physical violence and threats
Where can we find conflict?
within ourselves
international spheres
“If we cannot end our differences at least we
can make the world safe for diversity.”
John F. Kennedy
Conflicts can be managed through...
The 8 steps of managing
1. Acknowledge
2. Identify and clarify
3. Diagnose
4. Communicate
5. Generate possible solutions
6. Decide on best solution
7. Implement
8. Evaluate
How are we helping our students
to manage their conflicts?
• Self – confidence skills
• Assertiveness skills
(Mainly through PSD)
• Anti-bullying programme
• Guidance and Counselling services
Personal and Social Development
• PSD has been introduced in State Schools in Malta (Secondary
level) in 1991, after it has been already introduced in some
Church schools a decade earlier; originally under the name of
“Personal and Social Education” (PSE) (Falzon, R., 2003).
• PSD ultimately aims at empowering the students to
develop their full potential, and thus helping them to
function effectively in a democratic society.
• PSD classes are held in small groups (10 to 15 students), and
lessons are based on experiential learning.
• In PSD, the students sit in a circle. This class set-up is
conducive to positive communication as facilitated by the PSD
teacher, whilst put aside physical barriers which can be an
obstacle to communication.
Two PSD Sessions dealt with
Conflict Management with the aims:
To be aware what are the sources of conflict (e.g.
To be aware that conflict outcomes need not be negative,
conflict can be an opportunity for growth
To be aware of the different strategies one can deal with
To help students practice conflict management skills
To recognise the importance of communication in
relationships, especially in conflict resolution
To recognise the importance of listening in communication
To recognise the importance of being specific in
To help students increasing their self confidence in
Two PSD Sessions dealt with
Conflict Management with the aims:
• To make students aware of the different range of feelings
• To give the opportunity to students to construct empathic
• To recognise the importance of expressing feelings in Conflict
• To understand what it takes to be assertive
• To help students to practice assertiveness skills
• To make students differentiate between ‘passive’, ‘aggressive’
and ‘assertive’
• To have students evaluating their ‘normal tendencies’ in
dealing with conflicting situations
Risk Factors to Decrease
• Belief that conflicts are resolved through dominance or withdrawal
• Belief that one must win in conflicts
• Bullying
• Lack of empathy
• Lack of interest in academic material
• Rejection of students who are different
• Poor peer relations
• Isolation
• Rejection of those who are different
• Destructive conflicts with peers
• Poor school learning environment
• Multiple conflict resolution styles
• Lack of empathy for students who are bullied
• Lack of empathy for isolated students
Protective Factors to Increase
• Understanding that conflicts are potentially positive
• Problem-solving, negotiation, and peer mediation skills
• Conflict resolution that promotes friendships and belonging
• Ability to take others’ perspectives
• Desire to understand students who are different rather than reject them
• Motivation to help others who are in distress
• Deeper level of understanding of academic material
• Better peer relationships
• Ability to maintain friendships, even through conflicts
• Establishes a single conflict resolution method
• Teachers and administrators model constructive conflict resolution
• Explains and demonstrates constructive conflict resolution method to
• Enjoy safer schools as a result of reduced violence and fewer destructive
• Improve academic achievement and long-term retention of academic
• Become committed to others' well-being as well as their own.
• Learn to apply negotiation and mediation procedures taught in the
program to everyday settings.
• Learn that conflicts can have positive outcomes.
• Have fewer discipline problems to deal with.
• Have more time to teach, with less time needed for classroom
• Have a more positive learning environment.
• Have happier, cooperative students.
• Have a more positive school culture.
How a Donkey and a goat can
resolve conflict???
…We believe that our students can
do better….
• …if they are taught how to find
the right key to manage their
• …..keeping in mind that every
person is a unique individual
European Year
of Citizenship through Education

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