2011- a revolutionary year?

I had the chance to discuss one of my favourite topics in one of the English classes I taught in Sanski Most. I think “revolution” is a word I identify with very well, I am a child of the revolution, and ever since I was a young girl, I have been rebelling against anything I thought was unjust: corruption in school, lack of freedom of expression, stupid government policies that work against its people, and many more. I chose to study politics so I can analyse why and how these issues take place, and how I could initiate a change.

I started planning my lesson using ideas for activities and exercises for discussion from Cambridge Advanced A-Z discussions. In the beginning we defined the term “revolution” as well as other related words like revolt, rebellion, coup d’etat. These definitions helped us better define and classify different historical and current events. I introduced the students to some recent “revolutions” by asking what “orange”, “green”, “jasmine”, “velvet”, “twitter” and “wikileaks” had in common. Someone pointed out they were all names of revolutions, although many did not know where they took place, what they mean, and what exactly happened. After we went through short descriptions, we discussed why 2011 could be referred to as a revolutionary year, and how the young people have “woken up” and decided to try and make a change.

For the next exercise I typed “student protests” and “student demonstrations” in the BBC search tab. I could find news about my keywords for every single month of the year. Starting with October 2011 I chose 3 headlines per month, till January 2011. Students from all over Europe, in particular in Spain, Greece and the UK have had massive protests against their governments. Students from Chile, Colombia, USA, India, Angola, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, etc have caused massive waves of unrest in their countries.

For the next exercise we focused on listening. We watched a 3 minute video on BBC which was describing the “student revolution” which took place in Madrid this year. We discussed it afterwords, and I asked them if they noticed how every time we speak about revolutions, revolts, rebellions, the verb “to wake up” is used constantly. I then played them a song called “Wake up” by Bosnian band Dubioza Kolektiv. The song encourages young people to stand up to their leaders and revolt against their government. The album with that particular song was released in September 2011.

One of the last questions I asked was meant to give me an insight on what young Bosnian people think of their governments, and if they would be willing to do something about it. “What would you change about your government”. As I was expecting, most answers I got were somewhere along the lines: “What wouldn’t I change” and “Everything”. People had difficulties thinking of one particular thing they would change, however, most of their specific answers focused on the fact that they would ban “ethnic parties”, in order to reduce nationalism and segregation.


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