We’re in a little town, in a secondary school made of 13-year-old guys. Many personalities emerge from their eyes: positivity, emotion, doubt, prejudice, feelings that arise from news mainly heard on the tv or gained through debates in their belonging family. The topic is wide and turbulent: immigration.
We entered the classroom, we introduced ourselves and asked them to take part actively to the discussion. We asked everybody to express their opinions about the topic and to write some thoughts. We used stickers of two distinct colors: yellow for the questions they wanted to ask and green for things they already knew. The discussion started, we started thinking about the topic, we could see them working seriously. It’s not easy to talk about this topic. Why? Because it’s a wide topic with a peculiar history and geography (they don’t really know where are all the countries), which has a before (obviously they can’t remember when WE were immigrants but they heard of it somewhere) and an after (the immigrants are stereotyped as 20 years old black guys). The topic is also characterized by cultural factors, domestic openings and closures, natural prejudice towards who’s different from us and artificial prejudice coming from the media, everyone’s critical faculties (at their age it is based on and affected by the environment where they live) and the knowledge of the subject matter. And, finally, because there’s a real fear to be judged.
We started to gather the yellow stickers and we managed to group them by simplifying the personalities: we obtained the curious one, the doubting one, the nationalist one, the emotional one and the worried one.
Then we moved on the things they already knew. Better to say the things they think to know: that’s why there are “I think” in brackets and we found out that they actually know somethings, that many sparks of curiosity have been ignited, and that there are still many things to tell them.