Using Art and the Jewish Drawings by Joan Nyman to
Teach Tolerance and Combat Bullying
How do you engage and teach students so that they truly understand the importance of speaking out when they encounter prejudice, intolerance, and bullying in their lives? And, how can you teach these values in such a way that they are internalized and incorporated into the students' lives?
Using the Jewish Drawings by Joan Nyman to teach about tolerance is especially effective because it invites students into other peoples lives and provides a very effective way of reaching them. Because the drawings consistently elicit interest and questions about the people and their way of life, students develop a real connection with the people depicted and empathize with them. This makes students much more open to discuss the questions raised by the drawings. Using the drawings as a springboard for discussion, the website becomes a powerful educational tool for students (and adults) of all ages.
The drawings become an easy starting point for learning about differences and Teaching Tolerance-- because they depict a culture that was clearly different in outward appearance. Yet, there are many core human similarities with all the people depicted in the drawings that others can relate to and empathize with.
And, by presenting the information in a non-threatening way, the drawings provide a special opportunity for students of all ages to discuss such issues as tolerance, respecting differences, and what it feels like to be different. This awareness helps students see where prejudice can lead and what they can do on a personal level to confront prejudice and combat bullying.
What people are saying---some direct quotes:
"These drawings are wonderfully haunting and beautiful."
“These drawings are incredible.”
“Thank you so much for coming to speak to our students!! You were outstanding! You kept 30 eighth grade students totally involved for 45 minutes! Your art is outstanding and moved all of us in the audience."
“We studied the Holocaust, but it was just numbers. But now when I see the faces of the people and what happened to them, it makes it so much more real and now I really understand.”
Brimmer and May School, Boston,Ma.
" Your tolerance education is so valuable. Clearly, if kids are taught to be more tolerant of people who are different from themselves in some way, they are much, much less likely to bully those people."
Eighth Grade Teacher, Booker T. Washington Middle School, New York City
“Joan captures the look and eyes of the people she illustrates just beautifully so you really connect with them. Her show has impacted the community and we see it happening already. The group oohed and aahed---they were just so amazed at the drawings. It was something they could really relate to.”
Head Community Services Librarian, Andover, Ma., Quoted in Lawrence Eagle Tribune
Joan Nyman holds degrees from Wellesley College and Columbia University and has studied art at the DeCordova Museum School. She has exhibited her work in numerous galleries as well as public and commercial venues. She is currently on the Faculty of the DeCordova Museum School.
Her background includes teaching students of all ages, and she has taken her work into schools, colleges and educational institutions to teach about tolerance. Prior to being an artist, she headed Joan Nyman Associates, a business consulting and training company, where she designed and presented customized training programs in areas that included diversity, respecting differences, and communication and conflict management skills, for a wide variety of corporations, professional groups, educational institutions, and governmental agencies.
A study guide and other educational materials for teachers and students, to be used in conjunction with these drawings, are currently under development.
The lessons of the Holocaust are an integral part of our common history and can be used in anti bullying programs in our schools, as well as in solving global problems.
"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." George Santayana