Monday, October 25, 2021

Forum theaters – an excellent tool to understand people and find mutual solutions

DSC02075If you want to understand people that are different from you, if you want to understand the difficulty or complexity of a certain situation, try to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Forum theaters, through role playing and participation of the audience in the situations played on the scene, are an excellent tool to understand diversity, and to find mutual solutions to even most complex situations.  On April 22, through forum-theater debate, teachers and school staff from primary and secondary schools across Macedonia gathered in Skopje to display their sensibility towards solving situations where interethnic integration is challenged. There were four professional actors involved. Among them, one was “the oppressor”, whose role was to stubbornly oppose and negate a situation which concerns partnership activities with another school with other language of instruction. After “the oppressor” expressively left the scene denying the efforts of the actors, the participants in the audience were invited to suggest and role-play the solution to the given situation.

USAID’s Project for Interethnic Integration in Education (IIEP) utilizes a variety of methods and techniques when implementing its activities in schools and with education authorities across the country. Acknowledging the sensitivity of the matter of interethnic integration, the IIEP in partnership with the PAC Multimedia has made use of the forum theater technique in encouraging participants to elaborate on this matter in a creative and open way. Specifically, the forum theater technique enables participants to come up with a solution to a given challenging situation in the context of interethnic integration, all of which takes part through a theatrical performance.

The overall outcome of this forum theater was remarkable. All of the participants were eager to intervene by either sharing their proposals on how the situation can be turned around positively, or by confidently taking the stage to act upon their proposal on how to persuade “the oppressor”. The enthusiasm of the participants coupled by fun and laughter resulted in a visible progress of behavior in “the oppressor’s” role. Forum theaters will be organized continuously throughout the year, as they prove to be a very fruitful, yet fun process of discussing the concept and finding good solutions to strengthen interethnic integration in education.