3. Learning to respect differences
It is very important that as your pupils grow up, you help them learn to respect people’s different opinions and beliefs. Stories are a good way of introducing ideas about cultural interactions and good and bad behaviour. Stories can help pupils understand the principles behind different kinds of behaviour.
To use stories well, you should include characters who behave in different ways. A lot of discussion can come from a well-chosen story, but you also need to think about questions you can ask.
The same is also true of role plays. By inventing characters and acting as them, pupils can explore the kinds of cultural conflicts that might occur in real life, but without suffering any of the consequences. Stories and role plays can help your pupils develop their understanding of difference in a non-threatening way. Resource 5: Intercultural communities will help you develop these ideas with your pupils.
Case Study 3: Using storytelling to explore community conflicts
Mr Aina decided to teach his class about the importance of people respecting different members of the community and the roles they play, and the dangers that come from conflict. He used the story of the fight among the three cultural groups in Ariya to discuss these issues. See Resource 6: Conflict in the community for a copy of this story.
Before he told the story, Mr Aina asked his pupils to listen carefully and try to identify the original reason for the conflict. After hearing the story, they shared their ideas and he listed these on the board.
Next, he asked them, in groups, to describe to each other how the events had developed stage-by-stage. After ten minutes, they talked as a class and compiled the different stages on the board.
Mr Aina then asked them to discuss how they would have stopped the trouble by looking at each of the different stages and describing how they could have controlled each one.
Finally, he asked them to list the ways in which the three different groups contributed to the community and also interacted with each other positively. This helped them understand how each group was important and couldn’t operate without the help of the other groups.
The pupils found this lesson interesting, and Mr Aina saw how they began to treat the issues seriously.
In the next lesson, the pupils worked in groups again to think of any areas of conflict in their own community and some possible solutions. They used the problem-solving skills they had developed when working on the story.