Identity, Integration and Belonging

If what is taught in schools is supposed to prepare young people for life in a society with diverse cultural influences, then educators also need learning materials that not only reflect this diversity, but also speak to the particular target groups. This also applies to life outside of formal school education: understanding diverse identities and a variety of experiences necessitates the spaces in which to address these matters creatively and playfully. Two contexts, two approaches but a common objective: Merchavim – The Institute for the Advancement of Shared Citizenship and the Youth Museum Schöneberg face the challenge of putting their pedagogical concepts into direct relation with each other for a mutual intercultural learning.

The work at Merchavim focuses on the development of classroom teaching material produced especially for Israeli school students with an Ethiopian background. This work provides an important step in the direction of a common understanding of citizenship in Israel, one in which all people have the possibility for active participation. The Youth Museum Schöneberg on the other hand designs projects for four Berlin school classes that run for several days for children from ten years of age, many with migrant backgrounds. Together with a team of museum and theater educators, the children design, among other things, their own “Berlin Room” and in the process are allowed to show the entire spectrum of artistic and aesthetic expression. The experiences in both countries will demonstrate approaches in which questions of identity and belonging can be told in new ways and viewed in a new light.

The participating educators, too, face the task of comparative learning, in the sense that they also exchange information concerning the development of their respective concepts and the results of their work. To do this, they come together during the project phase once in Germany and once in Israel. During interactive workshops, they also share their new findings with their local teams. In this way, all participants can take inspiring learning experiences back into their respective projects: for the students in Germany and Israel, and also for the people who work with them.

Merchavim – The Institute for the Advancement of Shared Citizenship in Israel and the Youth Museum Schöneberg in Berlin are carrying out the comparative educational project “Identity, Integration and Belonging.” In the period from January 1 to August 31, 2011, both institutions are developing methods of inter and transcultural learning for different target groups in Germany and Israel. They share their experiences with each other during two study exchanges in both countries.