Promoting mutual understanding and cultural dialogue

Teaching techniques: Tree of Life (Discouraging factor #2)

  • Factor #2: Discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or religion

Learning objectives:

Find an intercultural connection with the participants which goes beyond the usual way of talking and verbalizing the matters concerning the people from different cultural background


Ca. 60 min (or ca. 180 min if you use magazines, scissors and glue)

Necessary Materials:

  • Large piece of paper,
  • Crayons,
  • Maybe old magazines, scissors and glue.

Description of the activity:

  1. The tree of life will be drawn on a large sheet of paper. Please draw the roots, the trunk and the crown. After doing this, add the thoughts you have towards it.
  2. It is possible to write down and draw what is important, what crosses the mind in describing me. Or the participants could even cut out pictures out of magazines, which are related to their life and stick them on the tree. It helps to picture the person in an unusual way and opens ways of being creative in the way to think of the inner self and what to become. It helps to share different perspectives.
  3. Explanation of the metaphor:

A tree stands solid on the ground. The roots are connected with the soil which natures it. This part is well protected and not easily spotted and takes up a big part of the tree. The trunk lets the energy and nutrients go wherever it is needed and wanted. The trunk is the symbol of strength. Whereas the crown shows the lifelines, shows the humming of bees and singing of birds. The treetop is the part where the results and the fruits can be harvested.  The tree of life can stand for me as a person.

Use the metaphor of the tree to explore the roots of a person and to discover what holds him/her, what carries him/her.

  • Who could give the youth strength?
  • Where does he/she feel familiar?
  1. Explore what is happening at the moment. The trunks stand for the thought of what is nurturing the person.
  • What is relevant to her/his life at the moment?
  • What do I like and against what do I protect myself?

Picture with the crown what the person would love to harvest during life and how to the bosom. The treetop stands for the future and where he/she wants to be.