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60 case studies have been identified. The case studies focus on intercultural issues, integration, non-discrimination values and human rights at school.

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Integration of a Girl of Arabic-Lithuanian Origin


Name of the teacher
Birutė Vareikienė
Subject taught:
Years of experience:
32 years


Name of the School:
Klaipeda „Versmė“ progymnasium
School Typology:
Lower Secondary School
Web site:


Background and Context:
- Klaipeda „Versmė“ progymnasium is situated in a residential district, in the southern part of the city. The school has its strong teaching and educational traditions. It is highly appreciated among students, their parents and members of the educational community. „ Versmė“ is a modern school aiming to educate an active, morally mature personality. The main values are: respect, attention to a personality, tolerance and collaboration to achieve common purposes. 936 students attend the school. The majority of them are from our district, but there is a number of students who come from other parts of the city. 70 teachers work here. The teachers in our school are qualified, proficient professionals, constantly improving their skills and knowledge. Our school has been carrying out intensified learning of English for a number of years. Students from the 5th form have a possibility to have extra classes and extend their knowledge in Mathematics, Lithuanian, English or to close the gaps in their knowledge. As the number of students is big, some rooms do not meet the hygienic requirements, but the school administration manages to deal with the problems. The school is provided with modern teaching facilities: smart boards, multimedia, computers. There are 25-30 students in a class. A special room for class activities has been equipped.
The school participates successfully in Olweus bullying prevention and Lions Quest programs. All the school community takes part in Olweus program activities, discusses school problems and looks for the ways of solving them. This way, all the members of the community feel themselves important and necessary. The school has its own system of stimulation and discipline.
Great attention is paid to the development of socio emotional intellect. The aim is to create tolerant and safe environment for teachers and students. In order to educate gifted and ambitions students the project “I want, I can, I work” was launched 5 years ago. Various activities have been included into the project, possibilities to develop pupils’ creativity, artistic and academic abilities have been created. Researches, surveys, meetings with famous people, educational trips, brain games, interactive quizzes and other activities have been organized. The school popularizes an educational activity “class without walls” to make educational process more effective involving all the school space. The school psychologist and the social educator pay a lot of attention to the development of social skills for those students who are socially isolated. School teachers and students volunteer to help those who have difficulties doing their homework.
- People who earn average income live in blocks of flats in the region where is the school. There are not any extraordinary risk spots in the regions, criminal situation does not differ from the average city situation. 25 - 30 % of Russian-speaking people live in the district.
- There are almost no immigrant communities The per cent of immigrant students is small, mostly of Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Armenian origin.
- 27 students were in my class. There were not any real immigrants from other countries, but 11,1% of pupils were from ethnically mixed families (Russian-Lithuanian, Arabic- Lithuanian).
Factual Description:
- The project aim was to integrate the girl into the class and school community and it lasted from 2011 to 2015. Actually the girl was born in the United Arab Emirates, but had already lived in Lithuania for a long time. I was the girl ‘s class teacher from the fifth to the eighth form till she moved to study in a gymnasium.
- Discrimination issues were raised not in class but at school. As the girl was from a mixed, Arab- Lithuanian family, the most serious problems were connected with her appearance: darker skin, exotic appearance. Other students made comments about her during the breaks. As she practiced Islam, there was danger of religious discrimination.
- Problems in the relationships between local and immigrant children are usually caused by the ignorance of cultural differences, historic, social stereotypes, impact of mass media. Local pupils often make immigrant children “scapegoats” due to their personal problems, willing to play a trick, influenced by their parents or other adults. That is why it is necessary to explain cultural differences both for students and their parents.
- Relationships among the students of my class and their parents were good enough. Her mother was the chairwoman of the class education committee from the fifth to the eighth forms, was appreciated by students and their parents. She participated in class meetings, went on trips with the class.
- Some problems appeared between boys from a Lithuanian family and a mixed Russian-Lithuanian family. The conflict between the teenagers had some hints of national discrimination, the boy was insulted because of his mother’s nationality. It was evident that the boy felt distressed. Dealing with this case, the analysis of conflict situations was studied, the school psychologist consulted the boys and their parents.
- The refugee crisis is under discussion at present but in 2011-2015 it was not so urgent. Moreover, the girl cannot be defined as a refugee. Last year some of the parents raised the question about refugees. I noticed their fear and stereotype way of thinking, so I considered it my duty to explain the essence of the problem to my students.
- At present we are discussing comprehensively the refugee crisis in Europe. We speak about this issue during the class lessons, in open discussions with school students. I felt the support of my students during the process of the girl’s integration. I did not notice my students’ bullying the girl because of her appearance or religion. She became an active member of our class, was not afraid to express her opinion about religion, nationality, was not afraid to say ‘our religion, our customs.’ She went together on class trips. Due to girl we found out a lot about Islam, customs of Arab nations. The girl respected both Christian and Muslim customs. In my opinion the students of my class became more tolerant, the number of conflicts was reduced significantly. Teachers who worked in this class did not have any problems because of this situation.
Activities carried out:
- We discussed a lot about tolerance and stereotypes during our class hours. The students worked individually, in pairs, in groups, they analyzed problematic situations, learnt to find ways to solve them. We analyzed video episodes, practiced acting different situations. We studied the phenomenon of a ‘scapegoat’ using the images from the Bible and the present life. History lessons were very useful: it was possible to analyze cultural, religious differences, forms of discrimination, based on the historic background from the very early days till now. I paid attention to the analysis of religions, I tried to make students understand cultural and religious differences, form the respect to other cultures.
- I aimed at discussing about religious, cultural differences with respect, and tried to teach them hear each other. While learning about Islam, she was the ‘expert’ in this religion. The girl had a possibility to feel herself important, equal to the other students. Non formal education activities were especially successful. As I was the leader of the project “I want, I can, I work’ I had a possibility to involve the school community into the process of tolerance education. In 2013-2014 we carried out a project “Historic and national costume” which lasted for half of a year. The students presented to the school community costumes of different nations and different historic ages in a public event. Ines and her friends made a national costume of an Arab woman. She was very proud to present the national Arab costume. The pupils were interested in various details of the costume. - - We participated in the project “Tolerant school, safe society” launched by Klaipeda University in 2014-2015. We conducted a survey “Understanding of tolerance in my school”. The aims of this survey were to analyze the comprehension of tolerance and the cultural cognition among the school community members and to overcome preliminary views and stereotype prejudice, break discrimination barriers. At the time of the research we analyzed the attitude of students and teachers towards the racial, national, religious and sexual minorities. We questioned 500 students and 70 teachers. The students themselves analyzed the data. The results were presented to the school community. The conclusions of the research: the students and teachers expressed high tolerance to the people of different races and nations and they were the most intolerant to homosexual people. The conception of multiculturalism (racial, ethnic, sexual identities) was introduced to the teachers and the students during the event at school. We agreed that intolerance which was related to these social and cultural categories evidenced in racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, religious fundamentalism, violence, bullying and other forms of intolerance. We presented our project during the conference organized by Klaipeda University. We were highly evaluated, received a diploma for the most scientific project and were invited to participate in an international conference in Ryga. - We organize annual activities at school dedicated to the commemoration of the Jews genocide in Lithuania which is very useful for developing tolerance at school. We choose various forms to commemorate this day. Senior students sometimes teach junior ones. An interactive quiz game about world religions was organized. I use the publication “Integrated lessons about human rights” for class hours and other events. I participated in the project “Teaching about human rights” launched by the British council for three years. I have discussed refugee problems, xenophobia in my lessons. The publication “Integrated lessons about human rights” has been presented to the school teachers and everybody can use it. - The students from my class participated in all the researches and events therefore their multicultural knowledge and values were developed. All those factors determined good relationships among the students in my class. Parents are always informed about the activities of the project “I want, I can, I work”. School teachers are always informed about the events organized by the project leaders and encouraged to participate.
Assessment and lesson learnt:
- I think the result was achieved: the girl did not suffer discrimination due to her religion, she integrated successfully into the class and school community. She became self-confident, her sense of self-esteem increased. Remarks about her exotic appearance disappeared in senior classes. As far as I know she has successfully integrated into the class community of her new school and she has contacts with her former classmates.
- The analysis of this issue was useful for the school community and personally for me. The students became frank, more tolerant, they gained more knowledge about multiculturalism and forms of discrimination. It is especially important nowadays when the refugee crisis threatens Europe and the number of discrimination and xenophobia issues is increasing. There are more students of different races, nationalities at school now, but I can notice at my lessons and during the breaks that they integrate to various groups without difficulties.
- This case study helped me to shape a consonant class community, help my students solve conflicts among themselves. I gained more experience and knowledge how to deal with conflicts constructively. I have understood that a historic background especially between Lithuanians and Russians is very important and it is necessary to teach pupils to dissociate from historic mistakes, past offence, not to connect that with present relations among people. If there were still conflicts in my class based on nationalities (among boys of Lithuanian and Russian origin) in junior classes, they disappeared in the 7-8th forms. Working on the project “I want, I can, I work) I pay much attention to multicultural education. We went with a group of students to the film festival “Inconvenient films” and watched films for children about bullying, about problems of emigrant children from Syria in Europe, discussed refugee problems. We organized debates at school “World without borders”. We discussed challenges of globalization together with students from Klaipeda University. Now we are working with pupils from the seventh form on the integrated History - ICT project about six religions. We are going to present this project to the 4th form students. Pupils have become more daring, they are not afraid to express their opinion, they know more. We try to involve more students and teachers of the school. Parents have become more active in coping with school problems as well.
- I think this case study helps to cope with problems of national, religious, racial discrimination and fight bullying at school. Pupils learn to be intolerant to inappropriate, malevolent behavior among their peers, teachers and students, children and their parents.
They notice problems at school and in their surroundings more often, they want to solve them, they have become more active citizens.
- In my opinion, both formal and non formal education is important while solving problems of integration, teaching about discrimination and human rights at school. Lessons of History, languages are of particular significance, you have a lot of possibilities for discussion, development of moral values, understanding a child.
- I think, that the strategies I applied may be widely used. I have understood that a team of qualified, competent, active teachers or other adults is necessary to implement changes at school. You have to generate students’ curiosity, encourage their initiative. In my opinion direct communication with people of different nationalities, races, religions is of great importance. It is urgent to find attractive, appropriate to pupils age forms of education, organize more discussions, projects on multiculturalism, human rights issues.
Description of the Case Study in National Language:

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.