‘Together We Stand, Divided We Fall’

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  • Title: ‘Together We Stand, Divided We Fall’: Toward a Critical Approach for Integrating the ‘Other’ in the School Context
  • Author(s): Maria Emmanouilidou, Efi Papadimitriou
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Diversity in Organizations, Communities & Nations
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Diverse Identities
  • Keywords: The “Other,” Identity, Critical Literacy
  • Volume: 17
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 2327-7866 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-8560 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-7866/CGP/v17i01/1-17
  • Citation: Emmanouilidou, Maria, and Efi Papadimitriou. 2017. "‘Together We Stand, Divided We Fall’: Toward a Critical Approach for Integrating the ‘Other’ in the School Context." The International Journal of Diverse Identities 17 (1): 1-17. doi:10.18848/2327-7866/CGP/v17i01/1-17.
  • Extent: 17 pages


The following article is a case study dealing with a young Roma student whose first experience in the classroom learning context at the age of fourteen was a painful one due to the fact that he could not read or write. Furthermore, although his refined manners and impeccable behavior should have been considered an asset, the boy was stigmatized as a homosexual by his classmates. The rally of the students against the “alienated newcomer” impelled the classroom teacher to take a stand and reconstruct the syllabus by utilizing a set of multimodal critical literacy practices in order to restore the classroom equilibrium and to renounce this feeling of “defamiliarization” with the “other.” The variety of materials compiled for the approach of the social issue of exclusion and alienation did not only enable the students to reconsider their attitude toward the oppressed “other” but also reflects the urge to use flexibly multiple sign systems in the classroom since they constitute the basis for creative and critical thought processes. Our article will focus on the work conducted in the classroom in order to approach the portrayal of diverse identity in multiple art forms and also present some of the multimodal compositions produced by the students after thorough examination of the presented material in class, utilizing the framework of critical literacy. Finally, light will be thrown on the ways the students’ stance was reshaped toward the Roma student after the teaching intervention.