Blog posts

January 17th: Anne Brontë

English · 17 January 2021

Reading is my favourite occupation, when I have leisure for it and books to read.” – Anne Brontë, Agnes Grey (1847)

Anne Brontë was born as the youngest of six children. Her health was fragile, so she was mostly schooled at home. Her siblings and she started writing at a young age inventing the fantasy worlds of Gondal and Angria – the former being the creation of Emily and Anne. No prose has survived about Gondal, but 23 of Anne’s poems are set there and a few diary entries as well. Anne published a collection of poems with her two sisters and also wrote two novels: Agnes Grey (1847) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848), that sold quite well, however not as well as her sisters’ novels Jane Eyre (1847) and Wuthering Heights (1847. Anne worked as a governess for two families and had issues with controlling the children at her first employment, which she processed in Agnes Grey where the governess life is described very detailedly. Anne Brontë’s second novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall can be seen as one of the first feministic writings to be published. Her protagonist is a woman who leaves her abusive man and goes into hiding with her son making her living. Since women didn’t have the right to leave their husbands and taking their children with them was considered kidnapping, the book was heavily criticised but remains an Ode to freedom and women rights. Although Anne is probably the least well-known writer of the three sisters, her books and poems are beautifully written and it’s worth taking a look.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANNE!

Saran-Sophia


2021 is a special year in many senses, at least one of which concerns literature: Some great literary works enter the so-called public domain in the USA, among them F. Scott Fitzgerald’s widely popular work The Great Gatsby from 1925. A vivid display of the Golden Twenties in New York City, this story still is short enough to consider it for the TEFL classroom with intermediate students. Its timeless themes of love, devotion and creating a life for oneself may just be the right thing to inspire Gatsby’s boundless optimism in your students, too.

Being in the public domain means that now everybody is legally allowed to re-publish and/or adapt these works previously protected by copyright. So while we still highly recommend enjoying Jay Gatsby’s illustrious life and times in the original version – who knows what future creators will entertain us with by building upon the original’s legacy? For now, though don that dress and grab that drink because no one knows where the next (literary) party might lead you.

Rico


American writer Jerome David Salinger’s 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye was a great success and certainly his best-known work that also made him so famous. Probably a result of the book being immediately so intensely controversial as it talks about casual sex and prostitution and includes a debatable high amount of coarse language (for instance, you may count the expression “goddam” 237 times). But the novel was so popular that a “Catcher Cult” developed around it, celebrated by the many adolescent readers who could sympathise with protagonist Holden Caulfield. So it was banned in some countries and American schools even leading to several teachers discussing The Catcher in the Rye being fired. However, it still remained one of the most taught books in high schools despite being so frequently censored. And it still is very widely read all over the world with more than 10 million books have sold worldwide. Salinger wrote all his life and published several collections of short stories and novellas like Nine Stories including A Perfect Day for Bananafish and Teddy, and Franny and Zooey, two stories about two sisters and the perception of society.

Today, Salinger would be 122 years old and we celebrate this most celebrated author’s birthday – and wish you all a Happy New Year!

CHEERS!

Sarah-Sophia


Migration is an ongoing process around the world, constantly changing and being influenced by different factors. Whether it be due to persecution or climate change, people are forced to flee their homes every day in hopes of a better life. International Migrants Day aims to show the importance of building a world of peace and opportunity for all by allowing for safe migration everywhere.

If you’re interested in the numbers surrounding migration, take a look at the migration data portal! Today is also the last day you can watch documentaries telling the stories of migrants around the world on the IOM website free of charge!

For visual representation of the topic of migration, the graphic novel The Arrival tells the story of a man in search of a home for his family. This book doesn’t need words to convey the emotions that accompany this complex topic. The Paper Menagerie offers an in-depth view of a character’s inner tug-of-war between her ‘old’ and new identity surrounding her migrant background. The fantasy short story explores how struggling with intercultural identities can make you distance yourself from those closest to you.

Sarah


December 16th: Jane Austen

English · 16 December 2020

Jane Austen is certainly one of the best known and most popular female writers of all time. Her works have always been in print even when not as celebrated as they are today. Her realistic narrations didn’t go along with the ideas of Romanticism and Victorianism so well but, her satirical critique of the popular sensational novels of the Romantic period are beloved again and often adapted especially by movies. It is, however, not only the social criticism in Austen’s novels (especially regarding women); but also, and maybe even more so, the beautiful love stories which make her narrations, up and foremost Pride and Prejudice of course, so exceptionally popular. Surely, Lovers of Romance all over the world root for enchanting Miss Elizabeth Bennet and aloof Mr Darcy. Not surprising, I must admit, declarations of love like “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” have great power and I imagine many readers (or other audiences) melt away with sighs of longing. Apart from stirring up feelings, Austen’s works are also quite useful in an educational context for exploring the historical background of the times, especially regarding the social status of women who were depending on their husbands and therefore, of course, on marrying first. Thus, she criticises opportunistic relationships and also the prejudices accompanying class relations and social backgrounds.

So now here we are, happily celebrating her 245th birthday – Cheers!

Sarah-Sophia


Every year, the staff of the Department of British Studies at the University of Leipzig arranges a Christmas Reading. This year we will read Oscar Wilde’s “The Canterville Ghost” (1887) – a tale of terror and delight. You are welcome to join our digital Christmas Read on Wednesday, 16 December 2020 from 6–8 pm via Zoom (Zoom: 825 2832 7080 Passcode: 882307).

Happy Christmas and stay safe everybody,

The editors


Hans und Chris sind zwei angehende Lehrer aus Leipzig, die auf ihrem YouTube Kanal E-Learning by Doing verschiedene E-Learning Tools für die Schule vorstellen, ihre Funktionsweise in Tutorials erklären und in Livestreams über ihre Erfahrungswerte reflektieren. Die interessantesten, nützlichsten und spannendsten Angebote für Lehrer:innen tragen sie in ihrer Reihe 3 Tools für Lehrkräfte in 3 Minuten zusammen. Im Dezember 2020 wurde Lit4School neben zwei anderen Tools von Chris un Hans vorgestellt – das Video finden Sie unter folgendem Link: Medien für den Unterricht finden mit Lit4School. Wenn Sie Themen wie E-Learning, EdTech und Tools für das Lehren und Lernen begeistern, dann schauen Sie doch mal bei Hans und Chris vorbei und folgen Sie den beiden auf Twitter.

Wir bedanken uns für die positive Resonanz und wünschen eine besinnliche Vorweihnachtszeit.

Ihr Lit4School Team


In 1895, Alfred Nobel stated in his will that those will be awarded “who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind“. However, the famous and most prestigious Nobel Prize is not a single award but consists of five separate prizes in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Peace, and also Literature which is, of course, very important in the context of Lit4School. Since 1901, it is given to the laureates annually on this very day and is usually part of a big ceremony and banquet. The laureates receive a golden medal, a diploma from the King of Sweden and a certain amount of money.

It is safe to say that the Nobel Prize in Literature is a highly controversial award. All of us probably remember being dependent on the mercy, mood and opinion of the English or German teacher for good grades. Of course, the field of writing is very subjective and the Nobel committee in Sweden doesn’t represent the whole world so that many choices were cause for huge discussions about the writer’s nationalities and therefore languages (can translations be judged the same way as the original) and about the issue, if the writer really deserved the award. Also, the prize was given to 117 individuals and it’s striking that only 16 of them were women, half of them laureates since 1991. The increasing number of female writers being awarded the Nobel Prize, however, can be seen as a positive development as they gain more and more recognition. Here are some laureates of the Nobel Prize in Literature on Lit4School English:

While it is the most renowned award in literature, we all know that one doesn’t need an award to have an impact on the world.

Kind regards and stay safe everyone,

Sarah-Sophia


Christmas Read 2020

English · 6 December 2020

He was conscious of a thousand odours floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand thoughts, and hopes, and joys, and cares, long, long, forgotten.” – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

When the dark is lit with fairy lights and candles, the air filled with smells one more tempting than another, when warm colours and sparkling decorations make homes and houses cosier, Christmas time has come. And what could be a better way to relish the joys and thoughts and hopes than diving into a jolly good Christmas read. Here are some of our Yule favourites:

  • Sarah-Sophia’s picks:

A favourite and lovely Christmas read of mine
is a heart-warming story written in rhyme.
Who doesn’t know the creature in green
who hated the cheering, the hustle, the presents,
and everything else in between?!

So Christmas he stole, or at least so he thought,
but it was the real spirit of Christmas that he instead brought.
Little Cindy-Lou Who climbed his home high above,
and although he wanted to fight it,
she showed him the great power of love.

In the end all were cheerful and the mischievous deed with no doubt,
made everyone see what Christmas is really about.
Dr Seuss created the creature and so ever since
no Christmas goes by without a thought of the Grinch!

To keep this consistent, I’m continuing on,
‘cause with a few rhymes before Christmas
surely can’t be anything wrong.
My next Christmas pick, lovely as well, I am sure,
is a beauteous little poem by Clement Clarke Moore.

It’s about the excitement when on Christmas eve
St. Nick comes to visit with presents to leave.
He’s as always imagined: round belly, white beard and happy and kind,
A man who can secretly visit and no one will mind.


When reading the poem one can gleefully feel all the joy and great bliss
of the wondrous and magical things in Moore’s “Night Before Christmas.”

  • Sarah’s picks:

The hustle and bustle of Christmas season is at it once again. When everyone is scrambling to find that ever-elusive perfect present for every relative, friend or acquaintance, who doesn’t need some holiday serenity? My favourite way to get in the holiday spirit: listening to Christmas sing-alongs while eating half the batch of Christmas cookies I just made. And though baking reindeer-shaped cookies in the classroom isn’t really an option, who’s to say some Jingle Bells can’t bring Joy to the World in this otherwise Silent Night? The Real Mother Goose Book of Christmas Carols offers a wide range of tunes accompanied by festive illustrations. Haven’t you always wanted the perfect selection of songs that are well-known but still earn a chuckle when everyone stumbles over that 4th verse no one knew existed?

If you’re sick of sappy Christmas songs and want an amusing spin on an old tale, take a look at The Twelve Days of Christmas. I promise it’s not the jingle that gets put on repeat at the grocery store. This collection of letters tells the story of the twelve days of Christmas but from the perspective of the receiving end of those elaborate gifts. I’m sure no one would mind 5 gold rings, but what about 10 strange men dancing in your yard? The hilarious illustrations are the cherry on top of this story laced with satire.

  • Simon’s picks:

The sweet and spicy smells of gingerbread, speculoos, roasted almonds, mulled wine and eggnog herald the time before Christmas. And since we haven’t had a white Christmas for years our children and pupils long for the first snowflakes to catch, the first Snowman to build and the first sledge run to slide. Snow where art thou? As younger learners do enjoy picture books a snowy Christmas story from the perspective of a Stick Man might catch their attention. For intermediate and advanced students and teachers A New Christmas Story by Jeanette Winterson, the poem “Amazing Peace” by Maya Angelou or the movie adaptation (2005 with Johnny Depp) of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory offer an entrence in peaceful and wonderous winter worlds…

In these often stressful and unpredictable days of the pandemic, we want to bring some rest and bliss in your classrooms and offices: So, lean back in your favourite armchair, take a glass of tea or a strong sip of the Scotch next to you and enjoy your Christmas read.

Happy Saint Nicholas Day, have a wonderful pre-Christmas time and stay safe everybody,

The editors


The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD) aims to spread awareness of the millions of people navigating daily life with disabilities. This year’s theme “Not All Disabilities Are Visible” refers to the many disabilities that aren’t immediately apparent, such as neurological disorders or chronic pain and fatigue.

Representation in literature and media can help shine a light on issues such as the simplification and stereotyping of disabilities. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is told through the eyes of a teenager on the autism spectrum, who embarks on an investigation after finding a dead dog. The novel Things Not Seen features a young girl with a sight impairment that befriends the protagonist and offers insight on her daily life and experiences.

Some YouTubers that create content about stereotypes surrounding disabilities that I’ve enjoyed watching include: Tommy Edison, Molly Burke, Jessica Kellgren-Fozgard.

Sarah


Weniger literarisch als mathematisch: In der 10. Episode des Podcasts Mathe für Alle: “Mit Fingern rechnen” nähern sich unsere Kolleginnen Denise Heyder und Franziska Wehlmann dem Thema Rechenstrategien und Kompetenzen im Mathematikunterricht der Grundschule. Weisen Sie Ihre Kolleg:innen des Fachs Mathematik also gerne auf dieses Angebot des ZLS hin.

Die neue Weihnachtsfolge des mathematikdidaktischen Podcasts ist bereits in Arbeit und soll das Thema Diversität aufgreifen.

Bleiben Sie weiterhin gesund!

Ihr Lit4School Team


November 30th: Mark Twain

English · 30 November 2020

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, seemed to have found his purpose of birth in writing some of the most famous works of all time. In one way or the other, everyone probably heard of Tom Sawyer’s and Huckleberry Finn‘s (ad)ventures at and on Mississippi River. The crude language was subject of endless discussions back then and still is, it even led to the stories being banned in the US at first. Being the son of slave owners, Twain’s storytelling might often come across as racist, his anti-slavery views, however, are very obvious as well. His accounts on Jim and Huck demand for friendships across artificial boundaries, racist stereotypes and segregation. Twain was influenced by the dreadful realities of the time. As a boy, he spent several weeks each summer at his uncle’s farm where an elderly slave told him stories. Ron Powers, a biographer of Twain wrote: “race was always a factor in his consciousness partly because black people and black voices were the norm for him before he understood there were differences. They were the first voices of his youth and the most powerful, the most metaphorical, the most vivid storytelling voices of his childhood.

Twain also engaged in critical writings on patriotism, religion and motivations for war: The War Prayer is a controversial poem emphasising that wishing for the victory of the own troops always goes hand in hand with wishing for the suffering of the enemies. Twain commented on the question if he would publish the poem anyway: “No, I have told the whole truth in that, and only dead men can tell the truth in this world. It can be published after I am dead.”

Having talked about those serious topics, I certainly don’t want to withhold a more amusing work of Mark Twain: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court tells the story of Yankee engineer from Connecticut who is hit on the head several times and finds himself at King Arthur’s court when he finally regains consciousness. With his superior knowledge of the future, he claims to be a magician, calls himself Sir Boss and turns the Middle Ages upside down. All in all, his narrations provide historical access and a unique contemporary view on slavery, religion and society in 19th Century America that is worth reading.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Mark Twain!

Sarah-Sophia


Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. – Fight Club

Every year, Black Friday shows us an almost caricature-like image of consumerism. Sale signs floating around everywhere, ranging from ‘buy 1 get 1 free!’ to ‘40% off (almost) everything!’ (the almost part being the crucial detail). People flocking to clothing stores, eager to find the best deal. Naturally, it’s amazing to get something you already wanted at a discount. But if you’re trying to find something you want to buy on sale, are you still saving money? Furthermore, what does the fact that these retailers can sell products at a steep discount while still making a profit tell us? Is the deal just that good, or is the original retail price just ridiculous? What is the true cost of these ultra-affordable items?

The documentary The True Cost explores the world of fast fashion, consumerism and the many questions it raises. How much do clothing pieces actually cost to make and what is behind that number? What is the psychology behind overconsumption along with the ethical and environmental implications that follow?

The Buy Nothing Day strategically placed the day of (in the US) or after (in Europe) Black Friday, aims to draw attention to the evergrowing problem of overconsumption. Whether it be a day-long hike or walking around a mall pretending to be zombies, there are various types of activities and protests taking place on Buy Nothing Day.

And while you don’t need to be running around a mall cutting up credit cards in protest, we could all use a day off of shopping to remember that we don’t need to buy everything!

Stay happy and healthy!

Sarah


Klasse 1-4

Bilderbücher

Manuela Adreani: Das Märchen von der Schneekönigin. Edizioni White Star 2019. ISBN 978-8863124002.

Lieve Baeten: Die kleien Hexe feiert Weihnachten. Oetinger 2018. ISBN 978-3789163128.

Bernadette / Gerda-Marie Scheidl: Ein Esel geht nach Bethlehem. Nord-Süd 2011. ISBN 978-3314100550.

Lori Evert / Per Breiehagen: Die wunderbare Weihnachtsreise. Fischer Sauerländer 2014. ISBN 978-3737351171.

Myriam Halberstam: Ein Pferd zu Chanukka. Ariella Verlag 2010. ISBN 978-3981382501.

Esther Kinsky: Eines Abends im Winter. Jakoby & Stuart 2011. ISBN 978-3941787445.

Mark-Uwe Kling / Astrid Henn: Der Ostermann. Carlsen 2017. ISBN 978-3551519351.

Astrid Lindgren / Harald Wiberg: Tomte Tummetott. Oetinger 1960. ISBN 978-3789161308.

Robert Schneider / Linda Wolfsgruber: Der Schneeflockensammler. Jungbrunnen 2020. ISBN 978-3702659462.

Erzählungen und Romane

Frida Nilsson / Anke Kuhl: Frohe Weihnachten, Zwiebelchen. Gulliver 2017. ISBN 978-3407749062.

Kirsten Boie: Weihnachten im Möwenweg. Oetinger 2005. ISBN 978-3789131585.

Film

Pettersson und Findus: Das schönste Weihnachten überhaupt. R: Ali Samadi Ahadi, 2016.

Klasse 5-7

Bilderbücher

Charles Dickens / Robert Ingpen: Eine Weihnachtsgeschichte. Knesebeck 2017. ISBN 978-3868739411.

Franz Fühmann / Jacky Gleich: Das Wintermärchen: Ein Märchen nach Shakespeare. Hinstorff 2009. ISBN 978-3356013306.

E.T.A. Hoffmann / Robert Ingpen: Nussknacker und Mausekönig. Knesebeck 2016. ISBN 978-3868739213.

Klaus Kordon / Jasmin Schäfer: Am 4. Advent morgens um 4. Beltz & Gelberg 2013. ISBN 978-3407820297.

Erzählungen und Romane

Margit Auer / Nina Dulleck: Die Schule der magischen Tiere: Eingeschneit. Carlsen 2019. ISBN 978-3551650467.

Andreas Steinhöfel: Rico, Oskar und das Vomhimmelhoch. Carlsen 2017. ISBN 978-3551556653.

Corinna Gieseler: Die fantastischen Abenteuer der Christmas Company. Hummelburg 2019. ISBN 978-3747800034.

Ben Guterson: Winterhaus. Freies Geistesleben 2020. ISBN 978-3772528910.

Gedichte

Agnes Hüfner: Weihnachten zu Hause. In: Peter Kohrs: Auf der Suche nach Bethlehem. Texte zum Thema Weihnachten. Klett 1986. ISBN 978-3122615802.

Erich Kästner: Der Dezember. In: ders.: Die dreizehn Monate. Atrium 2008. ISBN 978-3855359950.

Erich Kästner: Weihnachtslied, chemisch gereinigt. In: ders.: Morgen, Kinder, wird’s nichts geben. dtv 2014. ISBN 978-3-423-14353-0.

Ror Wolf: Wetterverhältnisse. https://www.lyrikline.org/de/gedichte/wetterverhaeltnisse-8251

Filme

Der Polarexpress. R: Robert Zemeckis, 2004.

Es ist ein Elch entsprungen. R: Ben Verbong, 2005.

Klaus. R: Sergio Pablos, 2019.

Ab Klasse 8

Erzählungen und Romane

Monika Beck (Hg.): Rentier, Raubmord, Rauschgoldengel. 24 Weihnachtskrimis von Heiligenhafen bis Zermatt. Knaur 2020. ISBN 978-3426526514.

Wolfgang Borchert: Die drei dunklen Könige. In: Peter Kohrs: Auf der Suche nach Bethlehem. Texte zum Thema Weihnachten. Klett 1986. ISBN 978-3122615802.

Susan Kreller: Schneeriese. Carlsen 2016. ISBN 978-3551315649.

Francis Duncan: Ein Mord zu Weihnachten. Dumont 2017. ISBN. 978-3832198640.

Johannes V. Jensen: Mortens Heiligabend. In: ders.: Himmerlandsvolk. Guggolz 2017. ISBN 978-3945370124.

Robert Genhardt: Die Falle. Fischer 2002. ISBN 978-3596157686.

Miljenko Jergović: Bethlehem. In: ders.: Mama Leone. Wieser 2008. ISBN 978-3851297331.

Drama

William Shakespeare: Was ihr wollt. Reclam 1986. ISBN 978-3150000533.

Gedichte

Christian Lehnert: Kasper, Melchior, Balthasar. In: ders.: Cherubinischer Staub. Suhrkamp 2018. ISBN 978-3518428191.

Czesław Miłosz: 1. Dezember. In: ders.: Gedichte. München: Hanser 2013. ISBN 978-3-446-241817.

Thomas Rosenlöcher: Das Flockenkarussell. Blüten-Engel-Schnee-Gedichte. Insel 2007.  ISBN 978-3458192961.

Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld: Ein kurtz Poëtisch Christ-Gedicht, vom Ochß, und Eselein by der Krippen. In: Gedichte des Barock. Reclam 1980. ISBN 978-3150099759.

Filme

Tatsächlich … Liebe. R: Richard Curtis, 2003.

Merry Christmas. R: Christian Carion, 2005.


“We are not what other people say we are. We are who we know ourselves to be, and we are what we love.” – Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black)

Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 to memorialise the murder of Rita Hester, a transgender woman. This day is meant to honour those who face stigma and discrimination due to their gender identity, drawing attention to the violence transgender people regularly face.

Ich bin Linus is a German novel that allows a glimpse into the journey of Linus, a transgender man. The book addresses various aspects of gender transition in short, essay-like chapters. The novel Boy2Girl tells the humorous story of what happens when you mix school, friendship and gender identity all in one. The novel is perfect for younger teens and people looking for an entertaining fastpaced read.

Stay mindful and kind,

Sarah


Who doesn’t know The Handmaid’s Tale? Most people probably have the TV series in mind which caused quite the stir when it came out in 2017 because of its incredible imagery and unique and repulsive dystopian, or ustopian how she would call it, concept. A ustopia is a world that combines utopia and dystopia. Atwood defines the utopian elements in The Handmaid’s Tale as the past, the time before everything went pear-shaped, and the future, the time when this totalitarian tyrannical episode would be part of history. Although it only recently conquered the screens, the novel was already written in 1984 and published a year later. She began writing it in Western Berlin and, thus, also got an insight of life in the GDR, Czechoslovakia and Poland and their regimes. 15 years later, the reality seemed to have changed completely and The Handmaid’s Tale far less likely.

“It looked as if, in the race between Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World – control by terror versus control through conditioning and consumption – the latter had won”, she writes 2011 in the Guardian article Margaret Atwood: the road to Ustopia which I find to be a very powerful statement. At present, the topic seems to be more relevant again, the future is a vulnerable little thing full of possibilities and uncertainties.

Margaret Atwood creates some possibilities in her works, addressing different current issues. Oryx and Crake circles around bio-engineering and to a certain extent the downsides of pharma lobbyism and, going hand in hand with that, also the aftermath of a viral pandemic that destroys human civilisation. In The Heart Goes Last, she explores a near future, a thought experiment about social security in exchange for freedom. A couple is offered a nice home and carefree life if they agree to be imprisoned every second month, then they alternate with another couple. Being imprisoned despite not being guilty, doing unethical work like euthanising people…how far is one willing to go for own advantages? How much can principles and morals be bent?

Margaret Atwood wrote 18 novels, ten short fiction collections and 21 poetry collections were published and it doesn’t end there. In any case, she provides a vast load of material to think about and discuss, that even encourages a differentiated discourse. I don’t want to miss this opportunity to mention a brilliant invention Atwood made: The LongPen. It is, especially in times of social distancing, an incredibly useful device that makes signing books possible from anywhere in the world. The act of signing is done with a tablet, laptop ect. at the one end and is received by a robot hand holding a pen at the other end. If our current situation holds on much longer, the LongPen might definitely come in ‘handy’, I’d say!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Margaret!

Sarah-Sophia


The diversity of our world’s many religions, languages, cultures and ethnicities is not a pretext for conflict, but is a treasure that enriches us all.” – UNESCO.

Today, we celebrate mindful, respectful, objective and fair attitudes towards beliefs, practices, opinions, origins and identities that differ from our own. To oppose bias, radicule and peer pressure and to encourage diversity and equality around the world the United Nations introduced the International Day for Tolerance in 1996. Indeed, education is the key factor to prevent intolerance, hate, stereotypes or bullying and support a ‘mutual understanding among cultures and peoples’. Therefore, teachers should “[…] help young people [to] develop capacities for independent judgement, critical thinking and ethical reasoning.” – UNESCO.

Lit4School offers a wide range of texts for the German and English classroom that counter intolerance and offer paradigm shifts for young readers: Herkunft by Saša Stanišić provides us with an autobiographical refugee perspective on otherness and exclusion – that makes the readers experiencing what it means to be treated differently when arriving in a foreign country. The Curious Incident of the Boy in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon presents the perspective of Christopher – a boy on the autism spectrum and how he perceives his world from a very different angle. Die Sommer by Ronya Othmann tells a unique story about migration, religious intolerance, violent extremism and civil war. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman use reverse stereotyping to offer a paradigm shift that makes the readers aware of racial stereotyping and oppression.

Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.” ― Kofi Annan

Lets promote awareness for pluralism, diversity and tolerance in school.

Kind regards and stay safe,

Simon


Now that in-person interactions have become scarcer, I’ve caught myself drifting away from the people I care about. May it be forgetting to text back a family member or being randomly irritated during a Zoom call, sometimes I need a reminder to be more thoughtful and kind.

I think books can teach us a great deal about how or how not to treat people, no matter the age of the reader. Room on the Broom tells the story of friends helping each other out no matter what. In Fry Bread, you can see a family held together by the glue that is love, good food and quality time. And lastly, The Magic School Bus shows us that there are no stupid questions and that anything can be solved with some patience.

And although we can’t run into a big group hug, we can try and remember to be kind to the people around us. Shoot a friend a text, donate to a cause close to your heart, or take your dog for an extra-long walk today!

Stay healthy and happy!

Sarah