Common Ground Project - Slam poetry

The Common Ground Program is an initiative of the Wesley János School, the Tevan Foundation, the Uccu Foundation, the Haver Foundation and the Centropa Foundation. The goal of the seminar was to create opportunities for teachers coming from various cultural, social, or religious backgrounds, so that they will be able to brainstorm and work on joint educational projects for their students, and to build bridges between educational institutions representing the different segments of Hungarian society. We had 37 teachers coming from 13 cities and smaller towns from all over Hungary for this long-weekend seminar.

The participating teachers were involved in creating and developing at least one project, or project idea that they would like to carry out with their students. The next step is to follow-up on the projects, how they can materialize, and help the process with giving advice, mentoring, and in some cases financial support. There were 10 project plans created during the seminar, and 8 of them was carried out successfully. This  particular project was one of them.

Participating schools and teachers: Wesley János Óvoda Általános Iskola, Szakiskola és Gimnázium (Bp.) Csikós Annamária, Majsai Virág

Wesley János Iskola Bárczay Gábor Tagintézménye (Felsődobsza) Fejér Imre, Bajzák Mónika

Kovács Béla Általános Iskola (Pécs) Miklós Bettina, Horváth János

Participating students: grades 4-8, 40 students

Aim of the project: Roma and non-Roma children creating lyrics together which represents their thoughts about their life and performing it through a flash mob. Based on the song a clip is made of the project. During the process of creating the song and the lyrics the participating students learn about each other's schools, environments and personal stories. They learn together how to write, how to construct poems, and learn also how to analyze poems, understand and interpret them. In addition the students also learn how to work in teams and with kids coming from different backgrounds..

Slam project was an initiative including the students of three schools. Children were mentored by the most remarkable person of the Hungarian slam poetry community, Kristóf Horváth who is by the way also an actor and a great drama teacher. He was not the only one who took part as a mentor in the project. Zoltán Beck the lead of the band called 30Y was in charge of the musical part of the project. Both of them have an incredible talent working with children. The project included two meetings, the first took place in the Israeli Cultural Institute in Budapest where after a session of ice breaking games students started to think together about the lyrics, and wrote their ideas down. After the long day, every school had to work independently on their part so they can be ready for the next meeting. Schools met for two days in April. The program included all day long practice and also the recording process in the studio of 30Y which is one of the most popular alternative pop band in Hungary so the children could get a taste of this life. The meeting – and also the project – ended with a flash mob on the main square of Pécs where the participants could perform their song. According to the feedbacks and our impression the performance and the whole project was an outstanding experience for all participants. An unexpected result was that more underprivileged students could improve their grades, became more motivated and could also reduce their absences from school. 

This project was made possible with the support of the US Embassy in Hungary and the Open Society Institute.