toolbox world wide web


Name of the tool

Facing identity    

Links to the keystones
attitudes, awareness, knowledge

Aim of tool/ Brief overall description
To discover and explain the faces of our identity

Brief overall description
Important and valuable point of intercultural learning and teaching is our own culture, which means, our own background and experiences. We have all a personal reality, which has shaped us. We will continue to live in this reality, enriched with new knowledge and experience we have got from the everyday contacts with other cultures. That means, in intercultural learning processes, we have to deal constantly with where we come from, what we have lived and encountered. Trying to understand ourselves, our own identity, is a prerequisite to encounter others. We might change through the encounter, but not necessarily the reality around us. This is challenging.


Main methods

  • Individual, pair and group work



Description of the process and the possible stepping stones

1. Every student teacher receives paper and pen and draws the profile of his/her face on the paper.
2. Participants reflect personally about various aspects of their identity (elements to be put inside of the drawn face) and how others might see them (elements to be put outside of the drawn face). The participants should be given sufficient time for this, trying to think through different elements constituting identity (family, nationality, education, gender, religion, roles, group belongings...). They should be encouraged to think about personal aspects and attitudes they like and dislike.
3. Participants are asked to find the partner, preferably the person from different culture. Couples change their drawings and write to the other (blank) side of paper, how they see their partners. They should be encouraged to think about personal aspects and attitudes they like and dislike. Couples are asked not to look, what is written to the picture.
4. In a next step, couples reflect on the relation between what they see and what others see and the relation between different aspects (can be visualized with linking lines and flashes).
5. Participants are asked to join together in small groups (maximum five) and exchange their reflections very personally, but just as far as they want to go: How do we see ourselves? How do others see us? What influences me? What influences others? How do perceptions and attitudes change over time and why? How do I deal with elements of myself I dislike and where do they come from? Which linkage can I perceive between different aspects?
6. Groups write the results of discussion to the small memory-papers and stick them in to the big face drawn in to big paper.

Reflection and evaluation
The sharing should probably remain in the small groups, but some general remarks can be brought back to plenary, or participants can give feedback on what they learnt from the exercise in one huge face drawn in plenary (with symbols or remarks).





A big sheet of paper and a pen for each person
Different colored pens or pencils and memory-stick-papers
Big sheet of paper for each group and for plenary session (if done)

Participants must have a basic knowledge about concepts of identity


  • Intercultural Learning T-kit (2000). Council of Europe Publishing: Strasbourg, Cedex, 49–50.

Inge Timoštšuk, Anne Uusen, Mai Normak