Anti Kadajane presenting the Tamme School project at the 2015 Baltic Academy

Taught human rights with Estonian tragedy

Tamme School in Tartu, Estonia, decided to use the classic Estonian play “Werewolf” to make students reflect on human rights and intercultural understanding.

„The aim of our four-month project was to raise general awareness of human rights at three levels: Tamme school, Tamme community and Tartu City Government“, explained Anti Kadajane who participated at the 2015 Regional Baltic Summer Academy.

The project centered on the activities of a politics class for 8th and 9th graders. One of the most successful activities was a mock trial focusing on how widespread reactionary attitudes can violate others right to freedom and self-determination. The trial was based on the Estonian classic tragedy “Werewolf” by August Kizberg.

Tiina , the step-daughter of the family, is accused by her step-sister Mari of being a werewolf. Mari is jealous, as they are both in love with Margus, the son of the family. Tiina escapes from home and when returning on one dark night Margus kills her because he thinks she is a wolf.

In the mock-trail, Margus is charged with Tiina’s murder. But was it really his fault? Or perhaps Mari should be blamed as she made false accusations against Tiina and made her escape? Or, was it the whole society who blindly believed a teenaged girl and did not tolerate somebody with a different skin tone and hair?

During the process students could choose different roles (prosecutors, defenders, witnesses), prepare their arguments, present them during the roleplay, and prove the opposition wrong when possible.

After the mock trial, the students decided that even though it was Margus who pulled the trigger, Mari and the society were really to be blamed as they were easily persuaded by false accusations and jumped to conclusions. Consequently, a young innocent girl lost her life.

The mock trial was followed by a discussion where students presented their own ideas and pointed to similarities with real life challenges. Students also designed posters and brought up the issue of voting rights for 16 years old at a debate with the whole school and later also with the Tammu community and Tartu city government.

„We consider this project a success as we gained lots of experience, knowledge and skills that will help us promote human rights even more effectively in the future”, said Anti Kadajane

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