Reducing relational violence: How do You like your Sandwich?
What was the Problem?
Students' inclusion in a group is one of the most decisive factors in their being socially accepted. An invisible balance of power arises between the students who are not included in a group and the students in a group, and the students feel strong when they see the presence of a 'weak other'. For this reason, each group creates its own 'weak other'. So, "how can we create spaces in our schools where every student can feel strong without the need of another person's weakness"?
In the problem-solving process where design-oriented thinking methodology was applied;
We observed that the incidents of relational violence such as disdain, exclusion and psychological stress, which we witness in schools, are due to the unhealthy power balances between the stakeholders in the schools (teachers, administrators, parents, students, etc.). The "How Do You Like Your Sandwich?" activity, one of the solutions developed to create a balance of power and break down the hierarchy in schools, aims to destroy the balance of power using the practices of preparing something for someone and developing a dialogue on a common topic.
The activity, which can take an average course time, can be repeated at various times. Persons with "strong" and "weak" positions are identified in a school. They are paired. Two students can be paired or a student can be paired with a teacher. A meeting is held between these two people. When they come together, they ask each other about their favorite sandwiches, and they prepare sandwiches for each other. Afterwards, while they have their sandwiches, they tell each other the story behind their names. At the end of the exercise, the participants are asked to write something they have just learned about the other person, or something they liked about that person on a sheet of paper and hang it on a board. As the number of participants increase, the number of papers on this board increase, starting to attract more attention over time.
It was observed in this process that the balance of power among persons is eliminated and relations gained more strength. After this exercise, which enabled the students who had bullied each other in the school to get to know each other better, the relational violence decreased significantly.
Birkan Bekar (Classroom Teacher), Gülnaz Bekar (Classroom Teacher), Havva Bilgin(English Teacher), Neriman Göktekin (Art Teacher), Sibel Yasin (Music Teacher), Ömer Faruk Turan (Classroom Teacher)