Cultural Identity – A Project Day in Paldiski schools

The town of Paldiski is located on the shore of the Paldiski Bay, some 50 km from Tallinn. Convenient geographical location, an excellent place for landing, short ice period – all of this attracted people to settle near the local harbour. There have been educational institutions in our town from the year 1770 to the present day. Today, there are two schools at our schoolhouse – Paldiski Basic School and Paldiski Gymnasium. Paldiski is a bilingual town.

The school’s objectives are updated annually – this year, we wanted to introduce different nations and their culture to our students. Because of this, on 6 November 2015, we arranged the project day ’Cultural Identity’ for classes 5 through 12. The purpose of this day was creation and shaping of positive attitudes towards different cultures and people, development of tolerance, and prevention of biased attitudes. The importance of cultural diversity as means for mutual enrichment of cultures was also emphasized. The pupils had a chance of reflecting about their own cultural identity.

On the project date, the pupils were arranged an out-of-the-ordinary, less structured study day at school. We invited guest lecturers from MTÜ Mondo, Estonian Refugee Council, and the Estonian Association of Gestalt Therapy. The pupils met foreign students from Albania and Turkey, who currently study in Tallinn. We played board games providing information on different countries of the world. There was a comic workshop with interesting group assignments and discussions on difference and similarity.

For the elementary school pupils, a lecture on the national cuisine of Ghana by Liina Saaremäe, a former volunteer in Africa, was especially memorable.

The pupils also had the chance of preparing a Ghanaian beverage. The project day ended with some movie watching.

Liina Saaremäe loeng Ghana vabariigist4
Students trying/tasting natural shea butter made by Ghanaian students in Sekoti School

The exhibition ComiX4 = Comics for Equality was displayed on the third floor of the school building to celebrate the project day.

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