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The Other, The Different, The Identical

Teodora Rangelova Nikolova, Sofia

This project was developed by Teodora Rangelova Nikolova in Sofia. The project consisted of a series of lessons that start with the story of Anne Frank and continue with lessons on five different categories of people: people with disabilities, people from different religions, people with different ethnicities, poor people, immigrants and refugees. The project was focused on diminishing stereotypes, prejudices and hate speech.

The initial introduction to a wider range of topics began with looking at the story of Anne Frank. The lessons were once a week for couple of hours. We were able to offer our students an opportunity to see a virtual tour of Anne Frank’s museum in Amsterdam. We also encouraged the students to read aloud some of her letters, which are kept in the museum. Each student was given a personal journal and encouraged to use words, drawings or other creative ways to express their impressions of Anne Frank’s story.

The goal was to encourage the students to use their journal to reflect or be free to write down what troubles them or what makes them happy. This idea was well received and they showed lots of excitement in taking the challenge. We are pleased to report that to date most of the students are still actively using their journals. For the Anne Frank’s lessons we used various items to help the students to relate and gain more realistic understanding.

 

After the lessons on Anne Frank’s life we focused our attention on topics such as prejudice and labeling others. We did structured activities as well as open discussions about the power of the words and labels we use. We also focused on the individual value each of us brings to our society. We looked at effective ways to overcome prejudice. We are pleased to report that our students were very good in concluding that the best way to overcome such problems is by getting to know each other, building respect and tolerance daily.

 

he emotional intelligence, connection, child-like innocence of the empathetic response from our students was amazing. The response from their parents has also been extremely positive and encouraging. We are confident that these lessons and topics raised have made tremendous impact on our young students and by extension on their families.

 

The project was noted and very highly esteemed by the National Ministry of Education in Bulgaria. I, Teodora Nikolova, was invited to present this project and its learning outcomes. It was recognized as creative and a great educational practice and tool in educating socially aware and responsible children. I am also very pleased to report that some of the lessons, created as part of this project, have been used by others in the education system across the country.

 

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