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Moved by Stories that Move

10 Feb 2021 - by Katarzyna Strycharska

Katarzyna Strycharska teaches Polish and civics education at the District Technical and Sports College nr 1 in Oświęcim, Poland. In normal times, she uses Stories that Move for anti-discrimination workshops conducted after visits to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The Covid pandemic completely changed how any of us could teach, particularly anti-discrimination classes and workshops, but Stories that Move solved my problems: here’s a modern tool, thanks to which working online became an interactive pleasure – with the added bonus of a large dose of personal reflection from engaged young people all over Europe.

I use Stories that Move after visits to Auschwitz-Birkenau, but also during regular lessons with my class. All my students are logged in to the Stories that Move website and we follow the paths together over several weeks.

Seeing and being addresses identity, stereotypes and prejudices, and is an excellent introduction to discussions about the various forms of discrimination.

Going through the online discrimination machine in the Facing discrimination path gives students a more empathetic view of intolerance and social inequality. It is a good idea to use the individual stories of my students’ peers from different European countries. Personal experiences of discrimination have more impact than talking about the problem of intolerance in a synthetic, general way.

Life stories – about the fate of extraordinary people who experienced discrimination in the past – allows us to look at the subject of intolerance more widely, as something that has happened and still is happening all over the world.

Individual assignments sometimes raise doubts and a student may ask “what are we actually doing this for?” but it is noticeable that with subsequent exercises there are fewer and fewer unknowns and everything fits together, which just shows how discrimination works and how we can respond to intolerance.

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