We live and work in an increasingly disconcerting world, in which we are faced with deep layers of differences. We all interpret behaviours, information and situations through our own cultural lenses, these lenses operate involuntarily, below the level of conscious awareness, making it seem that our own view is simply “the way it is”. Navigating these differences and being able to cross bridges requires teaching students to apply knowledge, to think horizontally crossing disciplines and develop skills like valuing and embracing diverse ideas and people, working cooperatively with others, tolerating diversity, and possessing empathy towards the others and the resilience to bounce back after setbacks.
This learning scenario aims to teach students how to position themselves amid cultural differences and approach the concept of intercultural communication regardless of their interaction with people that may differ in many different ways, e.g. origin, education, gender, age, sexual orientation.
During the 3 lessons, the students will change their glasses and imagine themselves in the situation or circumstances of another person so as to emphasize with their perspective and point of view and grasp the real essence of inclusion, discrimination and equality.
Labelling people, “putting them in a box” according to their race, gender, colour or status means perpetuating stereotypes and prejudices and by means of these activities, students learn to respect and value diversity, challenge the status quo and act to make their surrounding world a more equitable place.
By using the Forum Theatre technique and selecting the identity of a disadvantaged person (Ukrainian refugees, people living at the margins of society, people being discriminated on the grounds of gender, race) students will “feel” what it might be like to be targeted. Seeing others through a lens and trying to change distorted views is a step ahead in promoting equal rights and respect, gaining access to the principles of inclusion and democracy.
Envisaging an “Equality land’’, a prejudice-free country means that students are prepared to build inclusive and supportive environments for all people regardless of their social background, religion or disabilities, that they fuse and learn from each other and become engaged in their social and cultural reality, ready to reflect on their own learning and make a change.
All the activities enhance participatory learning and students will gain specific life skills such as negotiation, compromising, team work, discussion and empathy which are essential for success in personal and professional life.
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