It is impossible to reach the horizon – says one of the Greek axioms. After all, the horizon is a line of sight collision of the sky with the earth or water surface. With what force you would approach it, to the same extent it would inevitably distance itself from you.
But there are paradoxes here as well, and steps beyond the horizon are possible if the arsenal has the proper purpose and tools for its realization. It convinces already gained experience of the project team of Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University on the implementation of the project “Mediation: Learning and Transformation of Society”. To put it most succinctly, the aim of the project is to study the experience of EU Member States in the field of mediation, to rethink it through the matrices of national culture and to implement it in Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Study visits by project partners to the Breda Netherlands Business Academy in the first half of February 2019, to Turiba University in Riga (Latvia) in the first half of December 2019 and to Catholic University of Murcia (Spain) in mid-January 2020, which just ended became a fundamental step in this path. The highlight of these study visits were trainings for the teaching staff of the partner universities of the project from Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan. These training were conducted by highly professional teachers and mediators at the same time: Jan van Zwieten, Dana Rone, Marjon Kuipers, Gea van Klompenburg, Francesco De Angelis.
In total, 9 ECTS credits (250 hours) were allocated for training in the mediation of scientific and teaching staff from partner universities. From Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University passed it and received the corresponding certificates: Ruslana Havrylyuk, Head of the Department of Public Law, Project Team Leader; Pavlo Bartusyak and Maryna Fedorchuk – Assistants of the Department; Heorhii Moisei and Illia Yuriychuk – Ph.D. students of the Department. Thus, the Chernivtsi Mediation School has taken another sure step in its path of formation.
However, the main emphasis I want to make on the other – we, as scientific and pedagogical staff of the Faculty of Law, have discovered for ourselves, perhaps the most effective form of implementation of the educational process at the university, known to us so far – training! As it turned out, training as a form of learning is very active and skillfully used in many European universities, including for the purpose of teaching students mediation and other alternative ways of conflict resolution.
When the lecture has actually ceased to be the main form of the educational process, and the main purpose of teaching a law student is to prepare him for the effective practical application of the law, training as a form of the educational process in law school currently has no alternatives. It was the training form of mediator craft training, applied sequentially by the Grant Holder of the Breda Business Academy, as well as Turiba University (Latvia) and the Catholic University of Murcia (Spain), that allowed listeners to master appropriately the skills of practical direction without which there is no mediator. But the competencies of the lawyer, not only special but also general, are intended to have a purely practical direction.
The philosophy of mediation training was based on adherence to interactive, dialogical and alternative methods of conflict resolution, a combination of online and intensive personal study, on applied thematic trainings for the preparation of students, which were reduced to mastering basic practical skills of the mediator, models of mediation, ability to resolve disputes between parties with different interests and desires. Coach teachers used a wide variety of formats, including lectures, videos, discussions, role-playing games, brainstorming, and simulation exercises.
New methods of assessing students’ competences, which, without resorting to “inhuman” computer technologies, also allowed to obtain sufficiently objective results of the measurement of the competences acquired by the participants of the training, were also interesting and effective. This is a simultaneous assessment of the same parameters of the competency of the trainee by four or five teachers, independently of one another, and the output of an appropriate average grade. This method effectively prevents the subjectivity of the assessment by the teacher, minimizes other random factors of assessment, and therefore should be creatively applied in the future only state master’s qualification exam in Ukraine.
Experience gained by scientific and pedagogical staff of the Law Faculty of Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, who are implementing the grant project “Mediation: Learning and Transformation of Society” during training visits to European partner universities, is interesting and by a number of other methodological findings that can and should be implemented in the educational process at the faculty. All these educational and methodological innovations have enabled us to take a number of steps beyond the horizon on the way to the implementation of mediation in Ukrainian society.
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