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Schools FOR teenagers – A humanistic project against violence


Project, humanism, valorization, self-respect, communication


school project


Students of secondary schools


The educational staff of 2 secondary schools:

  • "Lycée provincial Albert Libiez" of Colfontaine,

  • "Athénée royal Jean Absil" d’Etterbeek.






Young People.


Two schools have developed a global project to meet the numerous teenagers' needs :

  • “Lycée provincial Albert Libiez” of Colfontaine, located in the region of Hainaut. Its population faces the phenomenon of reduction of the industrialization.

  • “Athénée royal Jean Absil” of Etterbeek, located in a well-off area of Brussels.

The school should be able to offer a wide range of activities adapted to the different personalities and ages. Each activity individually taken, even if very interesting, is not enough to inhibit the triggers of violence, but it is the whole of the propositions made to the teenagers that will reach that result thanks to an effect of multiplication.

Core of this project: the valorization of the person and of his/her code of life.

Best practices emerging from the 2 case studies:

•  strategies and devices aiming to communication within the school

•  sport activities for the physical fulfilment of youths and to valorize them through the competitive/team spirit

•  civic projects that allow concrete expression of general ideals

•  festive activities oriented toward creativity and conviviality

•  activities centred on career guidance


Example of practices centred on the person and on the communication at school

Located in a region confronted with important social and economical problems, the Lycée Libiez is led to develop a very voluntarist attitude in the interest of the teenagers. The work of bringing up to standard and of re-establishing self-respect is fundamental. This one can be classified in three complementary manners: the support, the integration, the valorization. It is about a concrete help brought to the learning and in front of the difficulties of life (remediation organised by the teachers, creation of needs groups, monitored studies and tutoring, sponsoring of students, initiation to learning method, integration of pupils coming from specialized Education, etc...). It is also about valorizing the youths' speech and expression (the pupils tell the causes of failure to their titular teacher who echoes it to the class council, the responsabilisation of the pupils of secondary school who present their school to the children of primary school, responsibility for children's monitors, for the preparation, the running of activities for the children of primary school at the time of an excursion, etc…). It is also about to mark in a symbolic manner the acquisition of skills and successes (the ICT passport, the writing workshops, the improvisation workshops, the theatre workshops, language courses by total immersion through reception of Dutch speakers and/or through the preparation of language-learning trips, the inter-school sport activities. etc...).

The school has acquired a « code of life » that brings limits to the life at school and that conditions the “live together well”: the non-violence, the respect, the serenity in and outside the school are valorized as contributing to the common “welfare”. This code of life is communicated to everyone. A system of disciplinary credit (codified in 30 credits) has been set up. It is coordinated by the deputy head of the school. The parents are systematically informed by post of canceling of one or several credits (according to the seriousness of the facts) and then called (when reaching 10 credits).

The setting up of this process has allowed to seriously sensitize and make the students and their parents more responsible, taking decisions and remediation by a common agreement (signed school contract).

The discipline issue is not only considered in a negative mode of the sanction. The attention brought to the pupils has, contrariwise, led the school to set up an original device: the listening and decompression airlocks. But, this attention may also lead to other projects such as the setting up of a Health Commission that deals with problems encountered by the students in diverse fields like alimentation, addiction, sex life, family violence or physical training and that offers activities on these themes.


A school without violence is possible. It supposes that the educators pay a great attention to the youths' basic needs and deep aspirations taking into account their identity under construction at psychological, affective, intellectual and physical levels. It also presupposes that the implemented pedagogical means allow to fulfil, in an appropriate way, the care for the others (in the behaviour, the construction of the relationship, the proposed activities, the learning, the infrastructure, etc.).

The schools we have observed present a common characteristic: they are collectively rallied around a great school project that induces a multitude of actions, often collective, involving strongly and positively a huge number of pupils and teachers as well as the pupils' parents. First, it is about a real-life experience project and the persons, the groups and the entire collectivity can turn toward the future to go to meet their aspirations and dreams. Through this projection, the educative community opens to the uncertainties of future in a motivating way and develops its capacity to adopt together the concrete acts and measures that are necessary to build up this future.

This constructivism and this positive or optimist orientation toward future are the key elements of a success based on the fundamental values of humanism: freedom, responsibility and open rationalism.


Whole-school anti-bullying policy, Cooperative group work.


Thanks to these humanistic educative projects, schools can reduce the impact of the triggers that lead to violence.

Two ways allow to inhibit the triggers in a complementary manner: a coherent and clear framework to meet the teenagers' needs, in one hand, and a school project fed by a programme rich of activities allowing to satisfy not only the pupils' cognitive expectations but also the different dimensions of their existence, in the other hand.



A study carried out by   La Ligue de l'Enseignement et de l'Éducation permanente  : « Des écoles POUR les adolescents – Un projet humaniste contre la violence » (Schools FOR teenagers – A humanistic project against violence) - 20/12/2007écoles%20Pour%20les%20adolescents.pdf


Christine CLOES





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