Game Changers BXL – Negotiation Skills & Leadership Program
As they build their independence, secondary school students find themselves negotiating all the time: with friends about what to do on the weekend, with parents about where/what to study or travel plans, with teachers about special projects, with employers about work conditions. Gaining more real-world experience, young negotiators begin to reinforce habits and attitudes about what’s possible to achieve and how, often feeling caught between a sense that they must be aggressive and “hard” to pursue what they care about and to avoid getting taken advantage of, or that they have to be accommodating and “soft” so as not to rock the boat and to be liked by others.
Through highly participatory and experiential workshops with students from a paired secondary school from another part of Brussels, students learn how to “change the game” of negotiation – from competitive to collaborative, distributive to creative. They discover how they can more effectively uncover and address their and their counterparts’ interests, be a leader and social entrepreneur, and collaboratively solve problems, broadening their sense of possibility for what they can achieve together with others.
Game Changers BXL program highlights:
– Game Changers workshops: in experiential two-day workshops held at paired schools during the school week, students will learn problem-solving negotiation based on methodology developed at the Harvard Negotiation Project, practice English in an immersive and motivating context, and get to know peers from their partner school. In 2018-2019, we will have 5 Dutch-speaking schools and 5 French-speaking schools, from communes across Brussels, paired with one another. Over two hundred students will take part. Watch a video made by students during a Game Changers workshop last year on our home page.
– Educator Community: participating teachers will meet for two workshops to build connections and plan how to bring problem-solving negotiation tools and concepts into their classrooms.
– The Art of Negotiation: In partnership with KANAL – Centre Pompidou, we are offering all schools taking part in the Game Changers program the opportunity to schedule, together with their partner school, a day (or half-day) at KANAL for custom creative workshops. Together, students from paired schools will script, act, film and edit short movies (in Michel Gondry’s Home Movie Factory); learn to write and deliver spoken word poetry; and explore freestyle dance. Facilitators from KANAL will lead the sessions and help students to creatively express their personal ideas and experiences related to PATHWAYS’ themes of negotiation, problem-solving, communication, differing perspectives, mis/understanding, leadership, trust, etc.
– Negotiation Leaders workshop: Students who complete the two-day Game Changers workshop will be invited to apply for an elective (and selective) follow-up “Negotiation Leaders” workshop to be held over two Wednesday afternoons at the Royal Library of Belgium. In this advanced workshop, participating students will have the opportunity to meet and learn together with motivated students coming from all 12 participating schools how problem-solving negotiation concepts can be creatively and proactively applied to their own social initiatives and projects, large or small. A variety of guests will be invited to share with students their experiences and lessons learned initiating and mobilizing others around social and creative projects in Brussels.
– Negotiation Leaders reception: Students who took part in the Negotiation Leaders workshop will be invited to a special reception to share their experiences with one another and with teachers, headmasters and program partners who will also be invited. Last year’s reception was held at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium.
– Closing Event at KANAL: We will close the academic year with an event hosted at KANAL – Centre Pompidou to which all students taking part in the program will be invited, along with their families. The event will showcase the creative works (films, poetry, dance) students created together. Participants will be presented with certificates as we recognize and celebrate the learning, creative and interpersonal journeys that they took together.
Impact on students:
- Build a new vocabulary to organize thinking about when and how to negotiate
- Become leaders in “changing the game” from competing or avoiding to creatively collaborating
- Discover tools for constructively asserting their perspectives, problem-solving, and managing conflict in daily life
- Build skills relevant to future studies, professions, social engagement and family life
- Gain confidence for taking initiative as a social entrepreneur and change maker
- Serve as role models in their schools and communities
- Nurture connections between diverse student groups across Brussels
- Improve English language skills
Our workshops are conducted in English, providing students with a shared opportunity for immersive and motivating practice.
The Game Changers Program is supported by the U.S. Embassy in Belgium and run in partnership with KANAL – Centre Pompidou, GO! Scholengroep Brussel, and the Royal Library of Belgium.
“I learned how to negotiate and after taking part into the project, I started defending my interest differently. As of now, I know that no matter the situation I will be able to look for a solution that meets my interests and in the meantime keep good relations with people. Although my level in English is not that good, I handled it. I learned that there are always different possibilities; it is not a simple question of winning and losing.” – Student
“It was a highly interesting experience that worked on several levels: it gave our students insight into negotiating skills, an essential asset in many private, academic and public situations; it allowed them to discover cultures and social backgrounds other than their own, thus broadening their minds; it was also an opportunity to practice and improve their English in real-life communication situations led by an American native speaker.” – Teacher