Beyond Tolerance

Stories for Society believes that one of the most important and exciting tasks of a school is to develop students’ sense of empathy and compassion. Opening up to the fun and benefits of diversity has always been the central component of Stories for Society’s work, and is fundamental to the Island Method.

To consolidate respect and democratic values and to see the world as our collective environment (Lgr11) are things more easily said than done, and require deliberate class activities that deliver results. Stories for Society aims at encouraging the curiosity of youth concerning diversity and in this way contribute to society’s task. Through the art of story-making, we would like to show the way to moving beyond tolerance and a positive valuation of that which originally seemed alienating.

The Island Method offers a superb tool for personal development and opening up to new ways of thinking:

Discussion and exchange

During a story-making process one learns to express points of view and listen to other’s thoughts in order to arrive at a common plot.

Social and cultural perspective

In order to handle the visitor in the story, participants are called upon to reflect upon his/her character and challenges, which requires reaching into own experience, background, culture and values in order to discover differences and similarities.


In order to create a story of good quality, students must develop their sense of curiosity for that which is different, and sometimes even incomprehensible or frightening. The method creates a secure and playful environment in which participants feel safe enough to challenge themselves.

Positive approach to newness

When the collective story is created, it is important to be able to solve problems, both within the working group as well as for the visitor in the story. In this context, it is an advantage to be able to think out-of-the-box. All that is new and unexpected makes the experience more exciting and more valuable for learning.

Global perspective

Once the method has been used a few times, it becomes clear how the participants’ develop: increased self-confidence and insight; greater understanding of seemingly intractable challenges; and better developed approaches to problem-solving.


This post is also available in: Swedish

Leave A Comment