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Pedagogical approaches

The voices, faces and experiences of young people form the foundation of this toolbox – with the intention that their stories will inspire learners to listen to them and to one another, to reflect on what they hear, and to share their feelings and thoughts. This approach fosters interpersonal skills and empathy. It can improve relationships in the classroom and create a learning environment in which complex and sensitive topics can be explored together.

Each story counts
The toolbox does not give easy answers to difficult questions. Learners are invited to actively explore their own relationship with the topics addressed: antisemitism, racism, and discrimination against LGBT+,  Muslims and Roma. These are issues throughout Europe, in classrooms and outside. While the international project team decided to focus on some of the largest minorities in Europe with a long history of discrimination, experiences of prejudice and discrimination voiced by young people from religious minorities or with a disability are also included. Five terms are explored in depth and recur in the choice of past lives presented. However, the approach is inclusive: each story counts. The collected stories are diverse and offer a framework and starting point to talk about identity and discrimination.

Peers
Research suggests people are more likely to engage with a topic when it is communicated by someone they believe is similar to them and who faces the same concerns and pressures that they do. Using the voices of young people is therefore an effective way to explore the background and impact of hate speech, exclusion and discrimination, and to highlight the fact that antisemitism, racism and other forms of discrimination are prevalent issues. This peer approach offers important insights and can empower young people to respond to discrimination: ‘If they can do it, so can we!’ The toolbox encourages self-reflection and discussions about what learners can do to respond adequately to all forms of discrimination, both individually and as part of a group.

Choices
It is also an essential part of the toolbox to frequently give learners a choice: who do they want to know more about and which topics are they most interested in? To make choices is to be actively engaged. Active learning is crucial in the development of the critical thinking skills that we need to encourage if learners are to reflect on the relevance of the toolbox topics for their own lives. The toolbox uses visible thinking strategies, to give students insights into their learning process.

Empowerment, empathy and a deeper understanding of the complexities we face in society are the ultimate aims to achieve when working with young people on the topic of discrimination. We hope to help you as an educator to make a difference, so that your students can feel that they all can contribute to change.

 

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