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Introduction

Aim of this manual

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This teacher's manual is intended to support you in conducting a course which is an essential part of CHANGE. The manual describes the background, steps, goals, contents and methods of the course and aims to help teachers to carry out the course in a way that corresponds to the understanding of education of CHANGE. At the same time, the manual seeks to compliment your own teaching style and the requirements of your academic programme.

Students can use the project’s website for working sheets structured according the 6 stages of the course.

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CHANGE as background of the course

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The course described in this teacher's manual is part of the project CHANGE.

This project aims to support young people in becoming aware of one's own attitudes and values, practising critical thinking with regard to the subject of refuge/migration, in distinguishing facts from opinions and in recognising prejudices, propaganda and hate speech. In this way, students are enabled to make their own well-founded judgments.

It is about promoting an open mind that is aware of the limitations of its own perspective and open to new, broader perspectives - not least through encounters with asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. The opening of the mind is not only about reason and knowledge – it is also about strengthening empathy and putting oneself emotionally in the position of other people (especially refugees and migrants) and thus gaining motivation and orientation for action. Based on the course described in this manual, students are encouraged and supported to engage in self-organised activities and events (designed by Student Ambassadors) which will lead to a society in which the positive contribution of migrants is made possible and appreciated and in which diversity is welcomed as an enrichment.

This course aims to contribute to the achievement of the project objectives by supporting the students to become aware of their own attitudes and perspectives, to acquire knowledge on the subject of refuge/migration in a critical and active way, to experience encounters with refugees and to discover starting points for personal and joint action. In this way, the course enables an educational process and contributes to the stimulation and strengthening of an open mind.

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Our approach to Education

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The course is based on an approach to education that can be outlined as follows:

Education…

  • is more than the acquisition of pure factual knowledge (as important as this is)
  • provides orientation, endows the ability to make judgements (also value judgments) in a complex world
  • supports the development of attitudes and values with a motivational force
  • enables participants to include their own feelings in the formation of judgements in an appropriate way (critical thinking is not a process free of emotions - emotions can give orientation, but they can also lead astray)
  • needs surprising and irritating information and experiences that productively question prejudices, stereotypes, previous (false) knowledge and existing orientations
  • needs wide-ranging “real” experiences and their personal and common reflection
  • needs in particular “social” experiences gained in interpersonal encounter and common practice
  • is not a pure one-sided teaching process, but is self-education that requires support, accompaniment and guidance from other people.

Course structure

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The course is divided into 6 stages (at least 45 minutes per stage). This is the time required to achieve the above objectives. Depending on the situation and requirements of the class, you can extend the course so that e.g. for one unit of this course, two school lessons can be used. In the stages there are several exercises. If time permits, it is possible and recommended to use all the exercises or as many exercises as possible. If time does not allow, you can of course select exercises.

No matter how much time you can invest, it is important to keep the order of the 6 stages, because the stages and their exercises build on each other. Of course you can then weight the different lessons and exercises differently according to your needs.

  • In stage 1

    the students become aware of their own value orientations and experiences with the topic of refuge and migration and develop relevant questions - and become curious and open for the issue.
  • In stage 2

    the students practise how to critically process information and how to acquire knowledge about the issue of refuge and migration.
  • Stage 3

    gives students the opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of refugees and thereby gain meaningful knowledge and empathy – through testimonies and, if possible, through a real encounter.
  • In stage 4

    students get to know relevant normative principles (e.g. human rights) and practise making well-founded judgments and representing them in confrontation with others.
  • In stage 5

    students learn to deal with prejudices, depreciation and discrimination and develop strategies to counter discrimination and hate speech.
  • Stage 6

    is about recognizing one's own possibilities and realistic starting points for personal and common action.
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Stage structure

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Each stage consists of several steps that build on each other. You will find a paragraph at the beginning or at the end of each stage that explains the transition from the previous stage and a reflection exercise at the end of each lesson.

The reflection exercise for the students always proposes two different elements:

  • to take a photograph of a suitable object, a symbol or even a drawing that the student made;
  • and to note down a short answer to a particular question.

It would be very helpful, if students can document both (photographs and notes) in an online "diary" for themselves. The diary can be online, but you can also choose that the students use a physical notebook or journal. In the last lesson, the content of this diary is taken up again.

Preparation of the course

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Situation of your class

The course deals with the constructive handling of diversity in different respects and wants to encourage openness towards supposed or actual otherness.

Therefore, please take some time to assess the situation of your class:

What is the current composition of your class with regard to the social, ethnic and cultural characteristics of the students?
Were or are there conflicts related to these differences? Please assess the quality and intensity of these conflicts (if there are any):

  • Are the conflicts so serious that they do not allow an open engagement with the issues of diversity/migration? If you look at the goals and exercises of this course: Do you suspect that the students do not even open up because of the existing conflicts and do not engage in open discussion at all? Or is it possible that they may get involved, but the existing conflicts can intensify and lead to a situation where students hurt themselves or each other? If so, it does not make sense to conduct the course because it does not lead to an opening of the mind and can hurt people. In this case it is necessary to transform the existing conflicts with recognized methods of conflict management and, if necessary, with professional support, so that an open discussion becomes possible. It may be useful to consult with the school authorities as to whether the course can be held and what external support is required for the preparation.
  • Or are the conflicts of a quality that they can be a chance for a lively discussion of the topics mentioned? In this case, tensions and conflicts can even help to better understand oneself and others and to open the mind.
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Are there any refugees or other students with a migration history in your class? Please assess your current situation:

  • Can the questions and experiences related to the subject of persecution and migration be discussed openly and vividly in your class without the students feeling worried, frightened or depreciated? Especially: Do you know if there are traumatized students in your class? Many refugees have experienced trauma related to war, persecution or flight that may affect their mental and physical health long after the events have occurred. If you know or suspect that there are traumatized students in the class, the course can only be conducted after consultation with trauma experts (e.g. school psychologists with experience in trauma work). Please do not hesitate to request professional and, if necessary, external support. Your CHANGE partner can help you to find support. If there is any risk of traumatized students being endangered, the course cannot be held. It is not possible to conduct the course while excluding the concerned students. If you are sure (in consultation with trauma experts) that students with stressful and traumatic experiences are able to participate in the course, careful delivery of the course can contribute to a healing atmosphere.

Your own background and starting situation

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One of the aims of the course is to help students acquire factual knowledge about the situation of refugees and migrants. As a teacher you do not need to be an expert on the subject and you do not necessarily need to have a lot of knowledge. However, it is important to be aware of the possible limitations of your own knowledge and to recognize when it is necessary to actively inform yourself. For this purpose we have compiled a glossary of the most important terms and a list of information sources. It can also be helpful if you are looking for external support. Your CHANGE partner has knowledge and experience in this field and can answer many of your own open questions. If required, your CHANGE partner can offer you a preparatory training on the topic. Do not hesitate to use this knowledge!

The course is not least about becoming aware of one's own experiences and (not always conscious) attitudes towards refugees, migrants and diversity and dealing with them constructively.

Even if the teacher should guide and moderate the exchange among students methodically and bring his or her own experiences and attitudes in only to a lesser degree, it is important to be aware of these. Therefore, you should try to become aware of your own experiences, attitudes and feelings related to this topic.

  • If you have your own experiences with refuge or migration: Which of these experiences could be helpful to encourage the exchange of students on the subject of refuge/migration and to prepare and reflect on the planned encounter with refugees/migrants?
  • For any teacher who has to conduct a course that deals with prejudices and stereotypes, it is essential to become sensitive to one's own attitudes of this kind. The point is not to "get rid" of them, but to be sensitive to them and to remain aware of one's own "blind spots" and the limitations of one's own perspective.

For your own preparation, it can therefore be useful to get to know yourself better with a small exercise. If you have experienced this video as helpful for yourself, you may be able to use it in the course! (for example, in Stage 5, Step 1/2)

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"The danger of a single story"

Although Chimamanda Adichie, a writer from Nigeria, came to the USA as a student and not as a refugee, she nevertheless had to experience being fixed to a certain image or a certain story ("single story"). In a speech she describes how she experienced this fixation and reduction as a denial of recognition, as the exercise of power, and even as a robbery of her dignity.

Look at TED-Talk in which she talks about the danger of the single story:

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Reflect the speech using the following questions:

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  • Being reduced to a single story “robs us of our dignity”, Adichie said. In your opinion, is there really a violation of dignity - and if so, in what sense?
  • Do you yourself know the experience of being determined by others on the basis of a single story? If so, what stories have you been reduced to? How did you experience this and how did you deal with it?
  • When you think of your own dealings with other people: Do you yourself have the tendency to reduce another person to a single story? If so, with regard to which groups do you particularly tend to reduce them to a single story? How do you deal with this tendency? And: What helps you to open your mind and become open to other, diverse stories about the other person?

On the basis of this self-reflection you should be in a good position to design the course. If necessary, it can be helpful to seek external support - not least from experts or your CHANGE partner.

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2019 - A l'Encre Bleue