Exchange with the Teachers

Exchanging will be a very big part of your stay at the project. Not only with the youngsters, but maybe even more with the staff. By exchanging knowledge and experiences with the staff you will get a better view on what is expected from you as a volunteer, but you can also share your vision and expectations. This will improve the communication and make your stay and work more effective.


Life skill(s): Intercultural awareness

Age group: Adults

Number of participants: 15 people

Location: Room with chairs

Time: 1 hour


  • Flip-over / (black)board
  • Case printed/written out



The group is sitting in a circle.

Ask every participant to introduce him/herself by telling their name and what their favourite activity to undertake with children is.

Differences and similarities

Explain that you are curious about the differences and similarities between the educational systems here (at the project you are staying) and the Netherlands. Ask your participants to think about particularities or similarities you expect to find and let them share this with the rest of the group.

Make an overview on the board or flip-over with all the differences and similarities the group came up with.

Try come up with least 5 differences and 5 similarities.

Case studies

Explain that you would like to split up in smaller groups to talk about several cases that can occur within a classroom.

Case 1: What would you do when you have a student in class, who is not successful, fails the exams and seems depressed?

Case 2: How do talents of children play a role in their school life?

Life skill(s): Intercultural awareness

Age group: Adults

Number of participants: 10-15

Location: Room with chairs

Time: 60 minutes


  • Poster with parenting styles
  • Poster with the preventive system
  • Pens
  • Post-its


The Salesians of Don Bosco have their own pedagogical system; the preventive system. This system is used by all the Salesians and at all the Don Bosco projects, but it can be different in every country, due to the differences in culture, norms and values and the environment. Parenting styles are also different in every country, and this influences the working methods at the projects as well. To get a better perspective on how things go at the project you are staying you can always talk to the staff.

The preventive system

Tell the staff that you have heard of the preventive system in the Netherlands. Ask them if they can explain this system to you. You can also show a picture of the triangle as you know it. Ask about the meaning behind every pillar and why they are so important (Religion, Reason and Loving-kindness). Don’t be afraid to ask some critical and ethical questions, but make sure you do this in a respectful and non-judging way. For example:

  • Why is religion so important?
  • Can you tell me some situations in which you act based on this system?
  • What do you like about the preventive system?
  • What do you find difficult while using the preventive system?
  • Do the children/youngsters know about the preventive system? Why or why not?
  • Do you have any other methods or visions that you work with besides this one? Would you want that? Why?

Parenting styles

Explain them what parenting usually looks like in the Netherlands and tell the staff that you are curious about the parenting styles at the place you are staying. Ask the staff what they find important in parenting and what parenting methods they use. You can show them the parenting styles as we know them in the Netherlands by using a poster.

Name the parenting style that is the most used in the Netherlands and tell how your own upbringing was. What did your parents teach you? What was allowed and what was not during your childhood? What is important in the Dutch parenting styles?

Ask the staff about the parenting styles at the project.

  • What is important while raising children and youngsters?
  • Why do you work with children and youngsters?
  • What do you want to reach with this target group?
  • What is your opinion about punishing children and how does this work? And why?
  • Have you had any regrets about how you dealt with a certain situation?
  • Do you have any plans for the future?

Close the meeting with a brief reflection and evaluation. Hand out a post-it and a pen to every staff member and ask them to describe their youth work with one word. Once everyone is finished, discuss what they wrote down.

* Authoritarian/Disciplinarian: In this style the educator shows a lot of control and not much responsiveness nor commitment. The educator is in charge and the child has to obey and show respect. When the child does not do this, he/she will be punished. this parenting style mostly occurs in South America, Asia and Africa.

* Authoritative: In this style the educator shows a lot of control, bu also a lot of commitment and responsiveness. Educators are having dialogues with the child. The two parties are equal. Children are being encouraged to give their opinion, which teaches them to come up for themselves at a young age. This parenting style is seen a lot in the Western countries.

* Uninvolved: In this style the educator barely shows control, responsiveness and commitment. The educator is not very present and only cares about its own interests.

* Permissive/Indulgent: In this style the educator barely shows control but does show a lot of responsiveness and commitment. The educator has limited control over the child and is bad a setting boundaries. Eventually, the child makes every decision and has control over the parent.