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Development of the curriculum and the teaching material

In order to contribute to social change in democratic societies, and to prevent processes of radicalization at an early stage, the educational implications of social psychological processes of the self-other construction, issues of empathy and taking the perspective of the other, stereotypes, prejudice, small group influence and intergroup relations were analyzed. The insights acquired from this inquiry were brought together with scholarly work on citizenship education, the notion of empowerment and socio-emotional learning in order to create the lesson materials.

The initial individual lesson plans for secondary schools were produced by UCR researchers, in collaboration with partner organizations and students. All lessons aim at preventing radicalization and this was done by addressing various subjects ranging from critical thinking training to decategorization. The lesson materials underwent pilot implementations, evaluations and improvement cycles for two years.

The trainers conducting the classes have evaluated the materials and lessons. In addition, since the lessons were developed for and piloted in secondary schools, educational professionals from these schools have also provided input regarding the development of teaching and the construction of lesson plans. Next to this, standardized interviews were carried out among participating youth for the purpose of quantitative evaluations of the curriculum. 

During the second year, a coherent manualized curriculum consisting of seven workshops, amalgamating the content of the unique lessons, was developed and piloted in the schools. This curriculum has been piloted and evaluated in the similar manner as single lessons. In addition, a pre-test post-test quantitative study has been carried out in order to establish potential effectiveness of the curriculum. Eventually, the instructors manual for the curriculum and auxiliary lesson material have been publically released.