The unique and the universal

Dealing Creatively with Teaching that Evokes Emotions, in particular Audiovisual Materials and Guest Speakers

Mehod developed by Anne-Ruth Wertheim and Lieneke Akkerman

For years I used to show all kinds of groups I taught, both children and adults, my DVD The Goose Snatches the Bread from the Ducks, My Childhood in a Japanese Prison Camp on the Isle of Java. Again and again, I would see how touched they were by my story. But gradually I came also to see how one-sided it really was that they had learned so much about me but had not been able to give me back anything of themselves.

The more presentations I gave, often with totally different contents than my personal story the more convinced I got that I was not giving my groups what they deserved. I started wondering how I could manage to give them the opportunity to deal with their personal feelings and memories. My close colleague Lieneke Akkerman had similar experiences, so we decided to look for solutions.

Now that in the world of education presenting audiovisual material and inviting guest speakers became so common, it was high time to develop methods for dealing with the feelings and memories that were being evoked in our participants. Not just because that is what they deserve and what they personally will benefit from. Also in order to avoid that all those impressive experiences of other people would make them insensible and indifferent towards injustice all over the world.

With our method, we hope to enable our participants to discover what it is about their feelings and ideas that defines themselves, the unique - and what it is that defines others. Just as important is it to give them a chance to experience what they have in common, what they recognize in the things others express, the universal. Hopefully they will discover that they are not alone but share their lives with others. And that combating injustice is worthwhile.

A PDF of the booklet in which the method is described can be downloaded at this website.