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Tell Me About Europe

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Gabriel Buttigieg

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How do you make young vocational high school students aware of the challenges of the European Union? To answer this, Cafébabel and its partner, Les Têtes de l'Art, have decided to bring the fields of popular education and European citizenship together. Here's a look back at these two days of workshops at the Lycée Blanqui in Saint-Ouen, in text and images.

These workshops took place in three classes of around thirty students from the Auguste Blanqui High school, in Saint-Ouen**, on 23th and 24th March, mixing theatrical art and European issues.

Young high school students who aren't very aware of European issues and who don't feel that they are an integral part of Europe are the ideal target for these participatory workshops.

In fact, these make it possible to raise their awareness about European matters in a fun and offbeat way. However, these exercises aren't only intended to help them gain understanding of European subjects but also to introduce them to the theatrical art and so improve their oral expression and their argument skills

During these two days, the speakers from the Têtes de l'Art, Didier Faure, actor, and Christophe Labas-Lafite, actor and director, with the help of the Babel International project coordinators, developed various exercises to allow young high school students to construct an argument on European issues. Using the technique of a moving debate around the question “Does Europe strengthen us more than it weakens us?”, the non-Europhile students were able to take part in the debate, listen to the arguments and bring aspects which they hadn't known before to their attention.

By drawing on European themes that they had chosen which and fitted their personal interests (migration, culture or even discrimination), as well as the speaking skills of the theatre, the students were able to take a stand on the chosen topic.

This project responds to the main challenge of raising the awareness of young students who are far removed from European issues, to questions of European citizenship. It's through various techniques of moving debates, bodily expression, theatrical arguments and theatrical postures that we try to make them understand that they are in a European environment and in a set of unified values ​​which looks like them when they weren't aware of it.

This meeting also made it possible to bring attention to European issues which the students didn't think involved Europe. The high school students felt uplifted by realising that they were confronted with the same doubts and questions that many encountered, especially in terms of security with the war in Ukraine.

By taking part in the debates and the various theatrical art exercises, the high school students, who were very skeptical at first, were able to change their mindset on Europe and, at the same time, form a personal opinion on European issues.

The workshops have several beneficial effects on the students because they have not only made it possible to construct an argument and express their thoughts in a critical way, but also to improve the way in which they hold themselves and express themselves in view of their Bac oral exam, which takes place at the end of the year.

These two days achieved two goals: raising awareness about Europe but also opening up the world of art and theatrical culture with which some students were still too unfamiliar. And if Europe was only a pretext to start the debate, from now on they are now inclined to react to the news rather than remain mere spectators!

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Translated from Parle-moi d'Europe