A Turkish teacher introduces religious concepts with the art of origami

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Kevser Çelebi, teacher of the Religious Culture and Moral Knowledge course, encourages students to actively participate in her lessons with the project she has developed with her colleagues that integrates the art of origami into lessons to make concepts more concrete abstracts.

Çelebi, who has been teaching religious culture and ethics for about eight years, started working at Kartal Soğanlık Teacher Salih Nafiz Tüzün Primary School in 2015.

Kevser Çelebi, teacher of religious culture and moral knowledge at Kartal Salih Nafiz Tüzün primary school, teaches his students his origami project with tales and stories, Istanbul, Turkey, April 26, 2022. (AA Photo)

Together with her colleagues, she initiated the “Origami with Tales, Stories and Anecdotes” project, which they launched on the international “eTwinning” platform last October.

Çelebi told Anadolu Agency (AA) that while they were thinking about making lessons more fun and better conveying national and spiritual values ​​to children, they were thinking about origami, the Japanese art of folding paper.

Çelebi said that they initially developed the project with seven teachers, and their number increased to 10 with the participation of teachers of religious culture and moral knowledge from different cities.


Kevser Çelebi, teacher of religious culture and moral knowledge at Kartal Salih Nafiz Tüzün primary school, teaches his students his origami project with tales and stories, Istanbul, Turkey, April 26, 2022. (AA Photo)
Kevser Çelebi, teacher of religious culture and moral knowledge at Kartal Salih Nafiz Tüzün primary school, teaches his students his origami project with tales and stories, Istanbul, Turkey, April 26, 2022. (AA Photo)

“We determine a theme every month. We do an origami activity linked to the storytelling of the theme. The new generation of children are more active and mobile, so we considered the constructivist approach. Frankly, we wanted it is student-centered so that the children do not get bored in the lesson and participate actively. For example, we did a patience activity, after telling the story of the prophets Job and Jonah, we made an origami of fish,” she said.

Çelebi said she aimed to teach origami technique to students in this way.

Mentioning that she explained the steps to the students one by one, “Students progress with me through each step. I sometimes support them when they cannot progress. We use peer learning from time to time. With peer learning, the child says ‘I can do it, I can succeed’ and also shows patience while helping his friend. And when they can’t, they learn values ​​like tolerance”, she added.

Çelebi said he saw the positive effects of this project on the students and received very positive feedback from parents and students. Noting that students come to class highly motivated, she said, “When I say, ‘We’ll have an origami activity next week,’ students come to class with enthusiasm and excitement.


Kevser Çelebi, teacher of religious culture at Kartal Salih Nafiz Tüzün primary school, teaches his students his origami project with tales and stories, Istanbul, Turkey, April 26, 2022. (AA Photo)
Kevser Çelebi, teacher of religious culture at Kartal Salih Nafiz Tüzün primary school, teaches his students his origami project with tales and stories, Istanbul, Turkey, April 26, 2022. (AA Photo)

Expressing that they want more teachers to participate in the project they have developed, she added: “Our course in religious culture and moral knowledge is an abstract subject and younger children want to see a little more concrete objects in the lesson. Learning becomes more permanent with concrete objects.”

As part of the project, they marked important days and weeks for the origami activity.

“For Mawlid al-Nabi (marking the birth of the Prophet Muhammad), we asked our students to make a pink origami to teach about our Prophet Muhammad. When we talk about loving our values, I asked the students to make an origami heart, a fox for the love of animals and fashioned ships on October 29 that celebrate that day,” she said.


Kevser Çelebi, teacher of religious culture and moral knowledge at Kartal Salih Nafiz Tüzün primary school, teaches his students about his origami project with stories, Istanbul, Turkey, April 26, 2022. (AA Photo)
Kevser Çelebi, teacher of religious culture and moral knowledge at Kartal Salih Nafiz Tüzün primary school, teaches his students about his origami project with stories, Istanbul, Turkey, April 26, 2022. (AA Photo)

Fourth-year student Ali Eren Başak said he was very satisfied with the teaching of the subjects he studied in the course of religious culture and moral knowledge with origami. He found the lesson very enjoyable and said he liked doing paper things on the topics. “It’s really fun to learn our lessons like that,” he added.

Fatma Ela Başçı, another student, said her teacher told stories while doing origami. Emphasizing that she acquires knowledge and increases her skills in origami, “This method brought me closer to the course of religious culture and moral knowledge,” she said.

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