How a digital platform can save animals

October the 4th is World Animal Day in Turkey and Gizem Agyuz decided to share with us his story about how a digital platform and a campaign can have a deeply positive impact on animals’ life.

My name is Gizem Agyuz. I work as a Project Development Assistant in Doga’s office for EU Projects Coordination. I am 26 years old and I have a great love for all animals. I gained a bachelor degree in Biology from Marmara University in 2015. Naturally, my studies concentrated on plants and animals. Many lectures involved a number of animals being cut open to examine their anatomy; however, I did not attend those lessons. In order to examine their anatomy in detail, animals were first knocked unconscious and cut open; once they started waking up, were killed by having their aortic vessels cut.

I only attended the very first lecture. Myself and some of my friends in the same course could not remain indifferent. First, we talked to our friends to explain that these animals were not newly discovered species, and therefore there was no need to cut them open to examine their anatomy, as all the relevant information and images could be accessed on the internet. During one lecture, we spoke about the impact on the slaughtered animals.Unfortunately, the number of animals slaughtered for a single course was as high as 70!

This was not science, this was just slaughter!

Then we talked to the instructors in our department, and asked for this to be the last course using this appalling method of study. Unfortunately, we never achieved anything. We talked with animal protection associations and animal rights lawyers. We understood that we were able to reach more people by using digital platforms and we created a campaign via change.org. We shared our campaign with people from all over Turkey, and we managed to reach to many people. For the following year, our department decided not to cut animals oper for anatomy lessons.

After this success, I decided to become an animal activist. I worked as a volunteer in various non- governmental organisations, such as GREENPEACE, WWF, SOHAYKO, HAYTAP, etc.

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“I want my students’ voices to be heard and their thoughts to be listened to”

Banu Yurtseven, with her way of teaching and thinking, is to be taken as a good reference point.

Let’s keep our ears close to the ground for her story!

 

My name is Banu Yurtseven. I am an English teacher at Çamlıca Theological High School for Girls. I have been teaching English as a second language since 2001. I have worked in some of the EU projects as a local expert. I am interested in social science, too.

Çamlıca Theological High School for Girls is a religious school for secondary and high school students; in Turkey, religious schools have a vocational programme. The school also offers English preparation classes, which means that 9th grade students take 20 additional 1-hour lessons in English. The goal of our school is to make our students responsible for their learning and to motivate them to reflect on how they learn best, to make them look at their own language and culture from a universal point of view by expanding their vision and knowledge of the world, to develop their critical thinking and to enable them to see problems from various points of view.

In addition, they learn about their own religion from a wide range of perspectives.

As a teacher, I want my students’ voices to be heard and their thoughts to be listened to. Since teaching on its own is not enough, we have to nurture their emotions and motivate them to become equipped with the necessary skills required today. They should gain a positive overview of different people and cultures.

To work with girls is very advantageous as they are calm, easy going, hard-working, ambitious, gregarious and considerate. They are mostly able to remain neutral before forming their opinions. They are able to find creative, ingenious solutions to problems. They are good at developing projects and use their creativity to tackle problems.

Nevertheless, teaching in a Theological High School can present the occasional difficulty. Sometimes it is difficult to engage students with political or universal subjects, because of their cultural and religious bias and preconceptions. They need to develop trust in you and talk in a rather cautious manner, as they combine typically adolescent behaviours with conservative lives. Unfortunately, their parents do not let them talk a lot. They are especially very sensitive about Islamophobia and do not want to discuss it. As girls, they want to express themselves but they are confronted with obstacles and dilemmas. This is why at every opportunity I encourage them to voice their opinions, sometimes discuss newspaper columns at break times, ask their thoughts about daily news etc., in order to encourage them to talk so that they can develop more self-confidence. With the help of EU projects, I try to encourage them and teach them to excel at public speaking, project management and ICT skills. On the other hand, I try to engage them with different activities and platforms, in order to start conversations with other young people. The EU project platforms motivate them to have their voices heard, which also strengthens their confidence.

Our lessons include debates and MUN classes (Model of United Nations), which provides them with an opportunity and the confidence to express themselves, as well as hope to be able to become brave, self-confident mothers. In my opinion, young people should learn to express themselves at an early age, for them to be able to make use of those skills during the rest of their lives.

As educators we must support them in the process, teaching is only a small part of our job.

 

Banu Yurtseven

The post “I want my students’ voices to be heard and their thoughts to be listened to” appeared first on netWorked Youth Research for Empowerment in the Digital society.

Kick-off meeting of the SORAPS Project

The Consortium members of the SORAPS (Studies of Religions Against Prejudices and Stereotypes) project have gathered from 23 to 27 November 2016 in the wonderful scenario offered by the University Ca’Foscari in Venice, where the meeting was held.

The implementing Consortium, which is currently led by the University Ca’Foscari of Venice, is the same involved in the former IERS (Intercultural Education through Religious Studies, https://iers.unive.it/) project, which already partnered with 4 prestigious European educational institutions: the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain; the Universität Augsburg in Germany, the Ecole pratique des hautes études (EPHE) in France and the Syddansk Universitet in Denmark, besides the leading NGO Oxfam Italia.

The SORAPS project has introduced a significant innovation compared with its precedessor: the establishment of an active partnership with 3 high schools from Italy, Spain and France, responsible for the piloting of the educational programs. These are going to be developed upon the outcomes of training activities for the teachers, created within the project and made up of several modules, namely:

  • Sense and Methods of Teaching History of Religions in Schools;
  • Introduction to the Main World Religious Traditions;
  • Religious Plurality in Contemporary Societies & Media;
  • Fundamentalisms and Human rights in the religious dimension;
  • Use of innovative ICT methodologies;
  • Managing of Multicultural classes;
  • Methods of Teachers Training.

Kick-off meeting SORAPS Project