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RESPECTING OUR BODIES PACKAGING YOURSELF AWAKENING YOUR SOUL LOOKING FOR A PLACE CARRYING THE TORCH CLEAN UP YOUR FUN SOCIAL BELOGING PAY THE RIGHT PRICE LOOKING AHEAD
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CLASSWORK
living systems | old is gold


OLD IS GOLD!

keywords:cultural heritage | preservation | tradition versus innovation | intergenerational exchange

photo: MÉTA

old is gold
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courtesy, MÉTA

goal: raising awareness about the importance in preserving and protecting the cultural heritage; fostering the respect for our past; preserving the value of memory in the evolution of the digital environment; favouring intergenerational exchange; making visible the link between cultural diversity and biodiversity, respect for memory and tolerance.

risk: talking about cultural heritage may be boring: to catch students’ attention you need to discredit the idea that past is boring, and only the future is cool. You can develop the concept that we are what we were, that tradition and progress are not opposites. The key message should be: the past feeds the future.

YXC level: 2nd level (first community)

YXC materials: packaging yourself [Bangladesh Women | Clean Clothes Campaign] – carryng the torch [ Terralingua | Mondialogo| Tribal People Rights | Assefa India] – respecting our bodies [Thai Knowledge] – clean up your fun[Pacific Arts Festival] – social belonging [Unesco Global Alliance] – pay the right price[Respect The Amazon] - facts & figures/OTHER NEEDS [World Languages] - dep’t store[Archaeo Volunteers Guide| Museum Journal]

subject areas: languages, cultural studies, social studies

work planning: Phase 1, testing students’ knowledge of the issue; Phase 2, intro to the issue; Phase 3, creation of 2-3 teams working on the suggested keywords; Phase 4, individual/collective homework; Phase 5, reporting.

testing student knowledge(with key questions):

  • What does the sentence “Old is gold” suggest to you?
  • Which of the following adjectives would you associate to the word ‘old’? (artistic, banal, boring, fascinating, off, solid, spiritual, reassuring, trite, trustworthy)
  • And how would you define the word ‘new’? (creative, dangerous, fresh, funny, hi-tech, modern, open, polluting, smart, wasteful)
  • Old buildings and new ones form the architectural landscape of most of our cities. What does this fact suggest to you?
  • Have you ever seen your city’s old pictures? If so, which are the main differences you noticed?
  • In your opinion, is cultural heritage related only (or mainly) to monuments? Nothing else?
  • Have you ever asked your grandparents to speak about their lifestyles when they were young?
  • Are we in debt to our predecessors? How much does the modern advanced industry owe to traditional craftsmanship?
  • If you were your city/town mayor, how would you spend your budget for cultural activities? List your first 5 priorities.
intro to the topic(background) : the cultural, as well as the natural heritage, provide a sense of identity: both help to characterise local communities in today’s more and more globalised world. On the other hand, the coexistence of different cultural traditions - as a result of the increasing exchanges - brings a serious confrontation. We need to understand the value of diversity, and to do so we must not to forget our past.

Our predecessors’ lesson - the so called ‘traditional knowledge’ - is still an important source of creation. Looking at the past as a precious resource also means keeping our minds open and putting recent developments (‘new’ stuff) in the right perspective.

We had the chance to inherit cities, monuments, paintings, works of art, books, music, etc. from our predecessors: now it’s our duty to preserve this heritage and to teach our children how to take care of it for the future.

Renzo Piano, a worldwide well-known architect, once said: “When they ask me how the city of the future will be, I answer: I hope like those of the past”.
There’s no nostalgia in these words, but respect and love towards the past. Respect means tolerance. This approach gives people the possibility to discover and understand one each other and, at the same time, it constitutes an asset in any field of our ‘modern’ lives (cultural, social, economic, political).

providing evidence: you could bring old pictures, family movies, post-cards and so on with the aim of comparing past and present of your city/town.

methodological suggestions:
  • gathering information: to develop this activity students could work in small teams to produce interviews (or photo reportages, comics, short films, etc.), using their grandparents or other older people as ‘testimonials’.


  • making heritage visible: students can discuss differences and similarities in past/present lifestyles, compare different cultural references/tools, kinds of language - way of speaking, idiomatic sentences, etc. - fashion trends, and so on.


  • students’ jury and competition: students could be asked to form a jury in their class, with the aim to select the best productions (best interview, picture, movie, blog -- online journal, etc.). The best works will be utilised as an example of intergenerational exchange and could be utilised to organise a festival (or other event) involving all school/city’s stakeholders (teachers, parents, other students, local authorities, etc.).
results assessment: the success of this pedagogical module can be measured by the following results:

  • informative goals: | 1) students understand the importance of cultural heritage; 2) they learn how drawing out the lesson of the past can help them to reassess and improve their day-to-day life.

  • action goals: | 1) students may organise a festival or other event on the subject “OLD IS GOLD” (see above); 2) they could also identify a monument, archive, interesting public/private collection in bad conditions and start a campaign to raise awareness on their value (contributing to their safeguard).

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