Forming Opinions, Fostering self expression

Self expression in school : forming opinions and fostering critical thinking in informal settings.

This training activity is built on experience the team of trainers has made in two projects as well as in years of experience in training of youth leaders. This training is in fact about leadership. It is apt and fits in with this time when students are bombarded by information that is not always filtered for reliability and lack of bias, when they are used to knowing it or knowing where to find it and when teachers are leading more and teaching less due to the availability of online materials.

The experience and resources for this training were built in a Youth in Action project called All in a Boat and it was about workshops to foster the formation of opinions and the inspiration for critical thinking in young people. Resources were also further developed during the activities of the RICK’S cafe’ network where training was also tried and tested with children and young people ranging from age 7 to age 17. Activities were always very active and great including the use of drama and video.

Portugal MaltaItaly
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Before the training the participants will take part in a short preparatory online discussion on the social media of RICK’S cafe’ network in which they identify areas that their school wish to benefit from through the delivery of this training. Teachers will identify areas in which there is prejudice, reticence and uninformed opinion within their school and within their community. This will help the trainers identify ways how it is best to tap creative avenues and informal settings within the classroom and within the school so that one can foster informed opinion as opposed to one formed through accepting what is on the media or expressed by peers in a haphazard manner.


The training activity has the following objectives:
– to impart cognitive knowledge about the formation of opinions based on critical analysis of situations, relationships and dynamics,
– to impart cognitive knowledge and practical competences on classroom management and the use of resources shared during the training to generate informal learning environments around issues of interest but with focus on critical thinking and a high element of role play,
– to impart practical tips about using role play, acting and video projects as a platform of expression, compromise, working with others, living with collective decisions and team works and
– to give to participants the confidence to get into areas of discussion that are either often considered taboo, sensitive, unfriendly or else topics where they see that opinion is formed without analysis through influential channels like media and internet.


The training will be predominantly practical and hands on in delivery this to tally with the content that is mostly focused on the generation of informal learning environments that are structured and created to help delivery content and impart skills. There will be high element of sharing of resources by the training team as well as cooperation with video, theatre and music expert trainers from outside the training team to give the most comprehensive dimension to the activity. There will be a small percentage of didactic content to supplement and support the informal learning environments including the area of analysis of what is learnt during activities set in purposely created informal learning settings. Creativity activities will include simulations and actual production of outputs but always through methods that can be copied and emulated in real school environments.

Follow up

After the training the participants will carry out pilots within their own environment in school and they will use the same forum used for the preparation prior to the course to share the results, reactions, challenges and successes.

Training Programme

Day 1
09:30 – 10:00 Welcome note and start up of the works
10:00 – 11:00 Review of the challenges identified during the preparation prior to the course
11:00 – 13:00 Introduction to the All in a Boat training package and practical activities
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 15:30 Practical activities and lesson planning
Day 2
09:00 – 10:30 Situation analysis : dynamics, relationships and actions
10:30 – 12:00 Interests at play : social dynamic, economics and politics
12:00 – 13:00 Practical exercises from All in a Boat training package on morning topics
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 16:00 Meeting with local players in education and youth (sharing challenges)
Day 3
09:00 – 13:00 Expression through video : technical, practical and content preparation
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 16:00 Video project lesson planning : roles, responsibilities inclusion
Day 4
09:00 – 11:30 Softening corners and terrain for discussion : the RIGHTSperspective approach
11:30 – 13:00 Creative approaches to self expression on hot topics : drama, camera, media and art
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:30 – 16:30 Creative activity around Human Rights education
Day 5
09:00 – 10:30 Choices and informed decisions : forming opinions
10:30 – 12:00 Practical activity tied to Day 1 on analysis and sifting of information
12:30 – 13:00 Closure and planning of follow up