YTT Teaching Approach:
Rather than focusing on basic human-rights and gender-equality facts and literacy, which is completely unadaptable and unteachable within elementary/high-school learning environments, YTT has created a transformative approach, through art and visual-storytelling, concentrating on eliminating innate prejudice and implementing empathy. By doing so, this helps to educate and empower students far beyond the classroom setting, by entrusting them with the skills and knowledge to positively contribute to society. Our teaching approach is deﬁned by two distinct elements, the YTT visual language and the YTT methodology.
YTT Visual Language:
Through drawing, people can express clearly their thoughts and feelings independently of dialect, nationality or education (Arizpe, Colomer, & Martínez- Roldán, 2014). Since its inception in 2016, YTT has so far collaborated with thousands of refugees/migrants, from more than 70 nationalities, aged from 2 to 70 years old, in over 40 camps/squats and centers around the world. Each person living in these camps is offered to respond to a questionnaire, developed speciﬁcally for the person and region where they are currently living. Then, they receive 3 sheets of paper and colored pens and they are invited to draw 3 sketches: one of their life before: Yesterday; one of their current life: Today; and one of their life imagined in the future: Tomorrow. The resulting images, are vivid, powerful and transmit distinctly the individual voice (life), as people who have been living and existing in extreme conditions, produce a visual-storytelling that is intense and brutal, but exceptionally coherent and clear. By using the simple YTT structure of visualizing a life in 3 tenses, the refugee/migrant populations are leaving their own trace and heritage, creating their own contemporary culture and voice, whilst simultaneously losing all traceability of their inherited culture. Traceability is credibility, without it, the existence of a people disappears. These drawings deﬁne the YTT visual language: a raw, emotional and distinct language which speaks logically and directly to the audience.
Specially trained YTT teams work around the world to collect thousands of these drawings which are ﬁled, scanned and scientiﬁcally studied to form the YTT visual language database, which is constantly updated by new drawings, with the long-term goal of representing the voice of every refugee/migrant population and community across the globe. This research on this visual language and database is led by the Department of Education at Roma Tre University, along with our in-house YTT researcher. Each drawing is analyzed and coded, allowing YTT to continually expand and develop our different human-rights education programs.
Refugee Drawing Title: Yesterday. By a 9 year old Iraqi Girl. Currently living in Miksaliste Refugee Camp, Belgrade, Serbia.
Refugee Drawing Title: Today. By a 13 year old Iraqi-Kurdistan Boy. Currently living in Kara Tepe Refugee Camp, Lesbos Island, Greece.
Refugee Drawing Title: Tomorrow. By a 21 year old Ukrainian Woman. Currently living in Béziers Refugee Shelter, Béziers, France.
Refugee Drawing Title: Yesterday. By a 40 year old Somali Woman. Currently living in Moi Refugee Squat, Turin, Italy.
Refugee Drawing Title: Today. By a 14 year old Congolese Girl. Currently attending CCSM, Rabat, Morocco.
Refugee Drawing Title: Tomorrow. By a 17 year old Pakistani Boy. Currently living in Samos Refugee Camp, Samos Island, Greece.
YTT Visual Database Research sample images
With the YTT visual language as the baseline structure, our learning methodology employs storytelling and drawing, creativity, student-centered strategies, the activation of emotional, cognitive empathy and perspective-taking. By fostering the concepts of identity, cultural/ethnic differences along with social comprehension, we create a contrasting effect between the pupils’ own experiences and that of the refugee’s/migrant’s experiences, stimulating profound understanding and reducing implicit prejudice, accumulating in extraordinarily positive qualitative and quantitive results. Social psychology is also applied as a theoretical background, particularly the intergroup contact theory by Allport (1954).