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BUILDING A NEW EUROPE AGAINST STEREOTYPES

2014-1-RO01-KA201-002846

INTRODUCTION
Motto:
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are
endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of
brotherhood." (Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Every person is born into a world that he/she doesnt know anything about and
begins to learn the social environment and the relations with its culture by the help of
his family, his friends, via education or social media.
We, as humans tend to perceive and explain everything according to the culture
that we are born into and learn through our environment. When we evaluate the
behaviors of people that we run into for the first time and get into an interaction with
them according to our cultural perspective instead of their own cultural norms and
morals, we can have negative thoughts about that person or about the group that he/she
belongs to and we can label them as different or strange.
This work has a scientific, social and didactic output, and it is the result of the
actual experiences and statistical analyses conducted over two years (from 2014 to
2016) in the transnational meetings (teachers and students) of the project Erasmus +
Building the new Europe against Stereotypes, held in Romania (Economic Colegium),
Turkey (Carsamba 75), Lithuania (Siauliai Sport Gymnasium), and Portugal (Escola
Bsica e Secundria Beira Douro). One of the main goals of this multilateral
partnership is to become acquainted with the people of other European countries and
their cultural heritage, traditions and customs. Lack of awareness and understanding
sometimes is revealed in a special way - through regular summaries, which encourage
appearance of stereotypes and specific images of the country. It's a contribution to the
construction and reinforcement of European identity.
As Lindsay (1997) said the identity we project onto the group from which we
seek to distinguish or assert ourselves is an important aspect of defining us. The
stereotype is an important notion related with identity. Negative stereotypes seem far
more common than positive stereotypes and thats why our purpose is to identify if
students, teachers and staff have this kind of stereotypes. Our main purpose is to
identify stereotypes and find solutions to fight against them.
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All partners decided to apply a questionnaire about stereotypes, prepared in


collaboration with the teachers of the different schools. This questionnaire was applied
to students, teachers and staff in order to detect if they revealed stereotypes.
We also prepared a quizz on culture of each country in order to get to know high
school students knowledge about the culture of the four partners.
Many activities were done during the two years in order to get a better
knowledge about these countries, the people and their cultures. Lessons and information
on the countries were planned.
The main objective of this strategic partnership Erasmus+, called "Building a
New Europe against stereotypes" is to raise awareness about different cultures and
countries, about stereotypes and prejudices as social phenomena in modern society,
especially in schools and to identify effective ways to combat and fight social
discrimination; to find out reasons why stereotypes appear, the need to change attitudes
and reduce/fight against stereotypes in Romania, Portugal, Turkey and Lithuania. We
hope that with the help of this study, examining different aspects of the stereotypes our
students will learn about different approaches to their lives, will realize their national
identity, cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe.
By working on different aspects of stereotypes and using a variety of innovative
pedagogical approaches by means of skill-based activities, students will learn about
different ways of seeing their lives, will understand their own national identities, the
diversity of European cultures and languages and, the most important, they will be able
to get rid of their wrong concepts, prejudices and stereotypes enabling young people to
build a more open-minded Europe.
The project will help students, by meeting and working with each other, to
assess their own identity and lifestyle. Furthermore, it will develop the students
creative abilities for team work and international collaboration while preparing articles,
essays, comics, short video films, presentations, regular exchange of letters and e-mails.
Soft skills as humanity, tolerance and the ability to change perspectives will be
exercised throughout the project and the pupils will get the positive influence of the
project for their whole life.
We hope that with the help of this study, examining different aspects of the
stereotypes our students will learn about different approaches to their lives, will realize
their national identity, cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe and, most importantly,

be able to get rid of misconceptions, prejudices and stereotypes, in such a way will get
young people the opportunity to develop a broadminded Europe.
The study addresses teachers, educators and non-teaching staff in kindergartens
and schools, students and parents facing this social phenomenon and who do not know
how to approach it, what attitude to adopt and what steps teachers and psychologists
should resort to. The paper can be regarded as a teaching tool to help them combat
stereotypes in school.
This work begins with a review of literature about the origin of the concepts of
stereotypes, the definition of the concept and ways to fight against stereotypes and why
it is important to reflect on this subject.
Stereotypes and prejudices are linked concepts, but they are not exactly the same
thing. Prejudice is a negative attitude toward a person only because he belongs to a
particular group (Allport, 1954, cited by Bourhis & Leyens, 1999). Stereotypes is used
to categorize a group of people.
Then, we have the empirical part of the book, with the methodology,
presentation of data and analysis of two questionnaires: the cultural questionnaire, and
the national stereotypes questionnaire, applied to students, teachers and staff. Finally, in
the empirical part we propose lesson's plans and activities plans as a way of intervention
to fight against stereotypes and prejudices and we present what was done during the
mobilities "learning, teaching and training"
This study ends with a conclusion about the impact of the project and its
contribution to giving much more information of the partners and reducing stereotypes.
Getting rid of misconceptions, prejudices and stereotypes, in such a way will get young
people the opportunity to develop a broadminded Europe.