The activity considers various issues of integration. Through different methods (e.g. storytelling, statement sorting, Karl Popper Debate) students are encouraged to explore conflicts that may arise when groups within a community have different values and beliefs. It will be considered why people with different cultures may be reluctant to abandon them and different ways of promoting integration without assimilation will be explored.

Aims/objectives

  • to consider issues of integration involving groups with different beliefs and values
  • to consider whether people have a right or duty to preserve their own culture in a new country
  • to explore ways in which integration can be promoted
  • to understand the meaning of assimilation
  • to develop skills of critical thinking, emphatic reasoning, discussion and research

Material needed

  • Copies of the story “The School at the End of the Forest” (Annex 1)
  • Copies of statements (Annex 2 and Annex 3)
  • Paper, pens
  • Flipchart, markers

Preparation

Arrange the classroom for group work.

Step by step description

  1. Divide the students into groups of 4-6 people.
  2. Story: The School at the End of the Forest (Annex 1)

Distribute the story and ask the students to read through it. In groups they shall discuss what they find interesting or surprising. There are a number of issues that you can raise for critical considerations. Encourage your students to make links with local circumstances or real issues wherever possible.

  1. Should the school be rebuilt? Statements for and against rebuilding
  • Option A) Ask the students to come up with arguments for and against the rebuilding of the school or
  • Option B) Use the prepared statements for and against rebuilding the school and make a statement sorting activity with them.

Afterwards you could invite the students to conduct a simple role-play. They shall work in pairs and imagine that they are parents from the same community discussing whether the school should be rebuilt or not. If the students are confident in role-play techniques, you could ask some pairs from the opposing side to meet and discuss the future of the school.

  1. Advantages of common and segregated schools: Statements for one or two school(s)
  • Option A) Brainstorm and collect some ideas that the students then shall sort into advantages of one (common) or two (segregated) schools or
  • Option B) Hand over the prepared statements and let the students make a statement sorting activity.

Reflection with the students / questions for debriefing

  • How did you like the activity?
  • Was it difficult to come up with ideas?
  • Did you find out anything that you didn’t know before?
  • Which conclusions do you take home?

Suggestions for adaptations and variations

  1. Adapt the activity to any minority in your school and/or community.
  2. Evaluate the answers that were given during the discussion according to the rules of the “Karl Popper Debate”:  http://idebate.org/sites/live/files/standards/documents/rules-karl-popper.pdf
  3. Follow-up activity: Ideas for improving integration through education: Assuming that the rebuilt school is an integrated one, what else could be done to promote school integration? Brainstorm with all students and collect their ideas. Then, in groups of two or more, the students should rank the ideas in an order that they think will be most likely to help integration and explain their choices.

Reference / original source of the method

This method was developed in the context of the project „Living Together“ of the British Council. The activity was facilitated by Danijela Pop-Jovanov during the „particip-aces – Open Academy“ at the aces Academy 2009 in Budapest.

Annex 1: Story „The School at the End of the Forest“

Annex 2: Statements for and against rebuilding the school

Annex 3: Statements Advantages of common and segregated schools

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