Diverse individual biographies and the increasing pluralisation of living environments are naturally reflected in classrooms. These different life experiences present an ideal opportunity for students and pupils to constructively examine heterogeneity. The multimedia web-based platform zwischentoene.info provided by the project Zwischentöne (Nuances) supplies teaching materials for this end. The project picks up on topical issues and on themes addressed in the curricula and in so doing, aims to meaningfully fill any ‘gaps’ in the textbook material.
The project encourages school students to develop an idea of diversity as a typical case of development within a society and aims to improve students’ knowledge and competencies in relation to political, historical, cultural and religious issues in pluralist societies. Achieving this aim entails not only providing information about the “other”, but also facilitating critical reflection on the social “self” and the certainties upon which the collective identity of the society students belong to rests.
The project aims at drawing up and making available teaching and learning modules which engage with and put into practice issues and ideas for teaching and learning at schools in an increasingly pluralist society which is profoundly influenced by processes of migration and globalisation. We will be designing example teaching units for history, political studies, religious studies/ethics and geography in secondary schools, which can be used to stimulate discussion on general social, historical and political issues from a variety of perspectives.
Reflecting current public interest, we focus on issues around Islam and the lives of Muslims. Our materials act as starting points for wider engagement with issues relating to societal diversity.
We are focusing particularly on creating multimedia materials which reflect students’ day-to-day lives and surroundings; we expect this approach to encourage students to develop their own views on the issues discussed and take an active part in public debate. This should in turn develop students' media and negotiating skills. The use of online media motivates students to contribute to lessons and transfer what they learn in class to contexts outside school.
The materials were introduced to teachers and students in seminars during the first project period after the website relaunch in October 2013 until June 2016. The ideas and experiences shared in the seminars serve to promote the project’s ongoing development and add to the topics and methodologies represented in the materials it develops.
The project benefits from the support and mentoring of an advisory board, whose members are Prof. Viola B. Georgi of the Institute of Education at the University of Hildesheim; Prof. Kerstin Pohl of the Department of Political Science at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz; Dr Birgit Wenzel of the “Learning from History” (Lernen aus der Geschichte) internet platform, Berlin and Dr Götz Nordbruch, Islamic studies scholar and in-service teacher trainer, ufuq.de.
- Robert Bosch Foundation (2013-2016)