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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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Intervention aiming at the Acceptance of the Heterogeneity and the Enforcement of Students


Name of the teacher
Katerina Papakonstantinou
Subject taught:
Cultural programme of school activities "Relations: Me and the Others"
Years of experience:


Name of the School:
ΕΠΑΛ, Νέα Μουδανιά ( Vocational High School of Nea Moudania)
School Typology:
Vocational School
Nea Moydania
Web site:


Background and Context:
The vocational high school of Moudania has 288 students, who are attending general education and vocational training courses. The building, which is not in good condition, except from15 classrooms has also engineering, electronics, automotive, computer and agronomic laboratories, a library, a courtyard and an indoor gym. It does not have a separate event hall, so events take place inside in the assembly hall right in front of the offices and the halls. It is located in N. Moudania, a seaside town of Halkidiki, easily accessible from Thessaloniki with a population of 17,000 people characterized by social and economic heterogeneity.
The group dynamic of the students is also heterogeneous as well as multicultural, with students coming from different countries such as Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Russia, Armenia, Romania, Australia, Slovakia, Serbia, Brazil and Ukraine. The percentage of migrants attending school is about 65%. Also, the performance of students varies greatly due to the different socio-economic background of the families from which they come from. A small percentage of students respond very well to the requirements of the school and have a high performance, but most of them have weaknesses and low school performance.
At school, in particular, the following problems associated with low school performance are identified: Absence of internal motivation, lack of supportive environment, lack of interest, existence of several students with learning difficulties and simultaneous lack of teachers with specialized knowledge, existence of students with cognitive problems due to difficulties in the speech because of the linguistic minority, the existence of mixed skills classes where many students find it difficult to follow the order. All the above create difficulties in the emotional and social development of students (low sense of self-esteem, insecurity, rejection and failure) and result in a negative attitude towards school, which has as a consequence the inadequate attendance leading to stagnation or early school leaving .
Factual Description:
The program started in November 2015 and expired in May 2016. At the beginning 25 students from different school classes and from different nationalities participated, but ended up with a number of about 100 children, who were not at first "declared" in the program, because they expressed their desire to participate. Of course, it was considered not good to be excluded so the program was “shaped” with a more free form. The children switched to the activities and the two hours beyond the six formal hours of schools that initially were agreed were not maintained, but there were also additional meetings outside the school program, as well as during the excursions, celebrations, voyages and breaks. Also, the structure of the program was changing / evolving according to the needs that arose, the ideas that were born and the space available (room, library, gym).
Within the groups were in some cases raised issues of nationality discrimination (for example, Serbia's rivalry with Albania, FYROM with Greece, Russia with Ukraine, and Greece with Albania), which were most often settled and the program continued normally. In one case, however, we had a student that left from the program permanently, while in another, the student stayed in the program but refused to complete an activity and participate in an action. Discrimination of another type (gender, religion, sexual orientation) did not create problems.

Apart from the above, the interaction between native and immigrant students did not have problems in general, perhaps because the children participated voluntarily. The most of times, there was respect for the opinions that were expressed, as well as good cooperation in order to achieve the common goal. The few times that ethnocentric comments were heard after the teacher's intervention and the debate was normal again. There was only one case when the issue of refugees was discussed ,different opinions were expressed so the situation was enough exacerbate. But after the students relaxed we continued with a different activity. Some meetings after we returned to the refugee issue, the activities were continued with no problem.

Most parents in this school do not make their presence felt or even to be informed about the progress of their children. There were, however, several cases where parents were mobilized to offer help, but also to follow the actions. For example, the Parents and Guardians Association, which is consisted exclusively of greek students parents’, participated by offering material and moral support in preparing both the celebration of cultures and the presentation of events. Also immigrant parents attended the events and also participated in helping their children gather information for the culture of their country, to cook, to help with the transport of machines, sceneries, etc. In general the interaction was positive.

In the action participated the students, the responsible professor (Papakonstantinou Katerina) and several times her help offered Mrs. Mamzeridou Agathoniki, a physicist-radio-electric teacher at the school.

The objectives of the program were the development of empathy, the acquisition of cultural knowledge, the cultivation of acceptance of diversity, the acquisition of emotional receptivity, the self-observation, the application of active listening techniques and the acquisition of communication skills.

The difficulties of the program were about the number of children that ended up being large and had to be divided into groups so that they were easy to manage. This resulted in hours of work being much more than the extra weekly two-hour . Team management and co-ordination were also a difficult task and it was a laborious process because, despite their enthusiasm, school students were hardly disciplined by the rules of session communication (quietness, no interruption of others when they talk, politeness).
Activities carried out:
Additional to the experiential actions used during the meetings (role plays, educational drama techniques, forum theater, discussion, painting, writing, presentations, discussions, discourse, co-operation groups), the actions carried out are the following:
A celebration of cultures (instead of the traditional Christmas celebration, addressed only to Christian students) in December 2015. Students presented in front of all the school and people from the local society their country’s culture (history, traditions, customs, achievements, artistic expression, food, language), cooked food from their place which were offered in a buffet, sang their songs and danced traditional dances.
Take a step forward Material of Compassito (Council of Europe Human Rights Education Manual, p. 174),was used as a base, which has been adapted and enriched. The children worked this toy-material, "played" with other school students who did not participate in the program, arranged it and presented it as a show at the Festival of Nea Propontida.
Passages: Material of the UNHCR "Passage" was used, which is a refugee rights awareness game and has been adapted. It took 4 two-hour to complete the experiential activity described in the manual . Discussions followed, and the students adapted the activity, dramatized it and presented it as a theatrical play at the Festival Nea Propontida .
Collection of goods for refugees: As a result of the above, the students became aware of the issue of refugees, designed a poster that they placed in Moudania and social media and organized a campaign to collect refugees' essential goods. They also participated in the sorting and packaging of the objects. The municipality of Nea Propontida transferred these things to Edomeni.
Forum Theater Students were trained in forum theater techniques in simple form. After a scenario that carried a collision (eg, racist attack, hate speech) was constructed, students dramatized by stopping at a critical point for the evolution of the story. At that point the spectators (who were members of the other groups) interfered and gave their own advice / version of how the crisis had to be dealt with and discussion for the exchange of views followed. After the students became acquainted with the method, they presented some of their scenarios to other schoolchildren.
In addition to the tools mentioned, it is worth noting that several of the experiential workshops that were implemented were variants of workshops proposals of the Pan-Hellenic Network for Theater in Education. Also in some activities was used the COMPASS, a manual for human rights in education by the Council of Europe and Arsis NGO.
Parental reactions, as mentioned above, were positive, supportive and encouraging. I can say that these actions / events involved them and brought them in touch with school reality more than the need for information on the attendance and performance of their children
Assessment and lesson learnt:
The results of the program were very satisfacting. To begin with there were linguistic benefits. Students who did not speak the language well and therefore were silent in the classroom (or even rebels using screams) formed speech after the actions. There was a case of a student that claimed a greater role in the play. The students learned to introduce themselves and talk about themselves expressing elements of their identity.
Exploratory learning was strengthened as the students researched elements of their cultural identity but also the identity of others (there were situations of mutual help when some students didn’t know words of their language and were helped by students from different countries whose languages ​looked like or when they helped each other in the research and presentation process). Also listening to the presentations of others they acquired cultural knowledge. Although there were differences, in most cases the participants managed to accept the existence of different opinions and - at the very least - be tolerant.
The fact that many activities required teamwork strengthened their ties as a group, leading students with cultural differences, migrants and natives working together to achieve a common goal. During the activities and actions children used or discovered the talents and skills they had . This fact gave them a sense of value and self-esteem, thus this had as a consequence to move with more confidence in the school environment. Finally, they practiced the skills of empathy and communication.
Despite the problems already mentioned and the fact that some perceptions are so well established that is difficult for some people to change and that for some students the impact was not so strong (eg some people completed the program and continued not to be expressed), we can say that the objectives of the program have been largely achieved. Considering as an important fact that there was so much participation of students in a volunteer program and that so many actions took place during a single school year is enough for the overall result to be evaluated positively.
 The impact of the program on the rest of the students can not be easily assessed because it has not been investigated whether and how they changed their attitudes towards discrimination, prejudices and stereotypes. To be noted that there was interest and enthusiasm when the actions were presented. Also, when the presentations at the Nea Propontida Festival were held, student-spectators were supportive and proud of the work of their classmates.
Many school teachers, although initially treated the program with suspicion and bias (they objected to the presentation of other cultures and did not express themselves positively), in the end and after all the actions, even though they still had the same views, accepted the nature of the program and were condescending. There were others who were more positive and even fewer, who were supportive and enthusiastic.Parents' participation is evaluated as promisious with space for improvement. It might have been possible to be more involved, but time and priority was given to students.The strategy followed, as I said earlier, has been updated several times during the program due to the continued participation of students, their ideas they were bringing and their needs. So it was maintained the initial framework with the objectives and tools and additions to both the material and the methods occured.
The program turned out to be an increasing difficulty both in terms of time management, material and activities management and student coordination. It was a tedious process, but quite rewarding, since besides the positive impact it had on the children, it strengthened not only their ties with the school community but also with the teacher.
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.