IFP conference 11/11/17

On saturday, we had a conference at dover with IFP students from both campuses. The fact that we were all doing the conference together really reminded me that we are one school and emphasised on the fact that IFP brings people together.

I believe that this conference was one of the most important events in IFP so far in terms of the learning outcomes. Walking out from this conference, I had strong knowledge on all the possible ways to promote piece that can be used not only on the trip but also in everyday life.

Firstly, we had a whole team meeting where teachers created some ice breakers. One of the best ice breakers for me was the one where there was a map of the world projected on the wall and each individual had to go where their favourite food was. It was interesting to see what you had in common with others as food is a very important topic for students. (we love food). This not only made us learn a bit about each other, but also made us realise that we had things in common with everyone. After this, the teachers separated us into teams which had different topics to work on. My team had the subject on STATUES. The rules were that we had to create a fifteen minute conference on our subject to the other IFP students. It was interesting as the whole morning, we did icebreakers but they told us that we really had to think hard if we wanted to do one as we only had fifteen minutes. This taught us that ice breakers are not compulsory for a conference to work well.

In the rooms, we all talked about our research on statues and everyone had different stories about them as we all come from very different backgrounds. Yet, we had a very rich conversation where I learned a lot on the history of some statues.

As a whole, we wanted our conference to raise awareness on the different meanings behind statues. Most of them think that statues are to honour someone even though that might no be the story at all. We wanted the students to start researching or understanding the different perspectives that might exist when looking at a statue. An example was this one:

Image result for robert edward lee sculpture conflictsThis is Robert Edward Lee who assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia, which he would lead for the rest of the war. He fought to preserve slavery and political liberty for whites. Nevertheless, when you see this statue, you are under the impression that he is being honoured. People might get wrong information from it. There has been a lot of conflict behind this statue as many people want to take it down. It is now covered by a black cloth.

As a group, we decided not to have an icebreaker as we already had some this morning and felt like for the short time we had, we did not have enough time to do one. Nevertheless, we started by making the students discuss within small group what they think the function of a statue has and to what extent doe is honour and individual. This helped them understand each other’s perspective and know where they stand on before being informed on the different perspective. So that they can compare their opinions before and after, we made them write on a post it note and put it up on the board.

One challenging aspect of this conference was to be able to speak to such a large group and make sure they all feel included. At the end, the main comment that we had is that we should have showed more individual help to the group. Some of us should have walked within the small groups and ask if they needed anything or had any questions. Perhaps this would have helped in including everyone. 

IFP activity

On Monday, we did a very interesting activity that gave me insights on one of the reasons why conflict happens and that is MISCOMMUNICATION.

Description of the activity:

The class was separated into two groups: the Jahs who were more privileged and the Pons who were a developing country. I was part of the Jahs. As a differentiation to the others, we were given purple ribbons and oreos, these were the two object the Pons did not have access to. We sat down in a separate room and the instructions that were given to us were very clear: you are a privileged country that want to help out the neighbours who are underdeveloped by giving them tips on how to run a society such as: prioritise on education, increase imports or have more labours. As a group, we were very keen and motivated to help them. After the 20 minutes, we went to the other room where the Pons were sitting is a circle. When we first came in, one of the pons started saying not to talk to us and they were doing their own thing inside the circle. We could imagine she was the leader of the group. It was interesting as we were not told they didn’t want our help so the fact that they were not respectful toward our propositions surprised us. They’re excuse was that they were building a monument to celebrate their independency.

One mistake my group may have made was say that instead of allocating their resources to this monument, they should use it for more useful things. As a group, we should have understood that this is an important topic for them and we should have been more understanding on their perspectives.  This created a lot of tension within the groups as this idea of mindsets from the beginning created the overall relationship between both countries. As a Jah, it took a lot of commitment and perseverance as being ignored when you are trying to say something is not easy.

Some challenges: It was difficult for us to feel included in their conversation. We were trying to speak to give our propositions but they kept shutting our ideas down. The greatest challenge was for us not to raise our voice as it would result in a conflict and we would not be able to understand and listen to each other.

If one day, we redo this activity, I would right away ask for their opinion and what were the instructions given to them to avoid conflict and miscommunication.



IFP conference 10/10/17

What were the facts from Sunday? What did you do?

On Sunday, I did an IFP conference that was student lead. We talked about various different peace perspectives such as: media, violence, identity and discrimination. We were all put in 4 different groups and throughout the day, we would change classrooms and learn about a different perspectives every time. The process of learning included many games that were linked to the subject. For example, for violence, we played a game where there was three bystanders, seven obstacles, seven people who had they’re eyes closed and seven other people who would help their partner who couldn’t see get to the other side of the room. This helped us understand better about what can be done about violence and what it is.

How did you feel about what happened?

I found this experience very interesting and I learned a lot from it. When I first arrived, I thought it was going to be students sitting down and listening to teachers talking to us about peace but it was actually very different than what I expected. I really like the fact that it was student lead and therefore, they knew what we liked and what would capture our attention since they were all approximately the same age as us. Some of the perspectives we learned about really opened my eyes. For example, the one about discrimination made me realise how much of a gap existed between men and women. We played a game where we all had to close our eyes and hold hands and the student leader would ask a question and if we agreed, we had to step forward but if we didn’t, we had to step backwards. It was very impressive the huge gaps that were present between men and women in that game (we almost let the hand go) especially for the question “my gender never stopped me from being in a position of power in a project/ work place”

How will your learning from the weekend shape what you do next in IFP…and beyond?

This conference helped me know more about IFP and what I will be able to do after the learning process is done. This is why I found it interesting the fact that it was lead by students that used to do IFP last year as we could realise what the learning process will lead us to. Furthermore, some of the new information I learned will really help me throughout my life especially my learnings about fake media where a newspaper used an image in the wrong context. This will teach me to be more aware about what I read. Another interesting point that I will keep with me is the fact that bystanders also have a role in violence if they do not do anything about it.