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EPALE Community: Share your good practice examples and successful projects on citizenship education

20/05/2019
by EPALE Moderator

/de/file/citizenship-education-best-practiceCitizenship Education Best Practice

Citizenship Education Best Practice

 

As part of our thematic focus on citizenship education, we want to hear from you – the EPALE community – about any good practice examples and successful projects related to citizenship education for adults.

Have you come across or created an innovative methodology for teaching adults civic skills? Perhaps you have been involved in or heard of a successful project that aimed to improve adults’ civic engagement or awareness of their democratic rights? Share your stories, tips, case studies and good practice examples in the comments below between 20-24 May and help to inspire adult learning professionals across Europe.

Don't forget to include links to the resources, projects and project outcomes mentioned, and explain briefly why you consider this resource/project to be a good practice example.

All the stories shared here will be included in our monthly newsletter!

**Comments are now open.

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Bild des Benutzers Anita Apine
Dear Tino, 
I can say with full confidence "Yes". Actually,  from the beginning we were not ourselves convinced of it (although it was the target), but... all the discussions after the events showed that a group of activists on this topic are being formed. That's great!
Bild des Benutzers Tino BOUBARIS
Dear Anita,  I am pleased to hear that! Seems that there is still some space for optimism in local communities... ;)
Bild des Benutzers Tatiana Sokolova
 Full text available here: 
https://kistafolkhogskola.se/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Case-study-Karin...

Case Study for ErasmusPlus project Migrants and Refugees as Re-builders Erasmus+ Cross-border Intercultural and Societal Entrepreneurs 2016-1-UK01-KA204-024623 

This case study explores what it means to be an adult educator working with migrants and refugees in Sweden, and, as a practical illustration of that, presents an example of helping adult learners understand Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their implementation in society. The aim of the case study is to show how the work of adult educators contributes to an inclusive society, in particular through adult learners’  engagement with policy and its potential and practical implications for social change. This case study is part of the action research approach followed within the Erasmus+ project.
Bild des Benutzers Zintis Buls
In Zemgale Region Human Resource and Competences Development Centre in Jelgava, Latvia we incorporate civic skills in the courses of Latvian language and also have separate activities aimed directly at furthering these skills. A more recent one was a seminar on Media literacy in which librarians from our city took part.
Media literacy goes way beyond recognizing "fake news". It is very important that librarians who work with adults daily can inform and help them improve these vital skills in an age where the abundance of information can easily confuse an unaware citizen.
The seminar was organized in cooperation with National Library of Latvia and University of Latvia.
Article in Latvian about the seminar: http://zrkac.lv/event.php?id=5214
Bild des Benutzers Tino BOUBARIS
"art of inclusion" is bringing together adult learning institutions from different European regions, who are working with refugees and migrants in their pedagogical work with different means, and who are interested to develop offerings (theatre, photo, film, literature, dance, painting, music etc.) to improve the active inclusion of refugees and migrants, and to provide state-of-the-art meeting opportunities with the entire local community at eye level. The overall aim is to improve the social dialogue about different cultures, European and other values with the means oft arts. The art of inclusion project is funded by the European Comission, Erasmus+ Proramme (Strategic Partnerships in Adult Education, 2018-2020).

The project partners organize local workshops; transnational partners are participating in, and duly documenting some of these local activities. The documentation (interactive PDF brochure in English language) of the first workshop in Graz / Austria can be downloaded from the website of the project coordinator Bildungslabor (Edcuation Lab): www.bildungslabor.info
Bild des Benutzers Christina Njie Sjögren
The goal most teachers of adult students have is to help our students become active citizens and to help them understand the society in which they live. How we encounter students’ current knowledge of society varies in the different fields we teach and we meet our students differently according to our different target groups. Also, the ways we approach, and in a classroom setting deal with, the skills required for active citizenship, are as many as there are teachers.
In Stockholm, I work within the adult education system with students with different learning difficulties. 
It is a school within the municipal adult education system called LÄRVUX. 
In teaching an adult student with learning difficulties the idea of “ building citizenship” can sometimes seem difficult to implement. In adult education, we encounter students with a range of learning difficulties, such as intellectual disability, ADD/ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, social phobia, speech impairment and other forms of functional variations. Depending on the challenges the students face, the activities to enhance and reinforce active citizenship are addressed with means such as digital learning through social media and different online learning tools and learning sites. Discussions about society in an informal and tolerant classroom climate also help students address the questions they have not previously dared or known to ask or explore. Classroom activities can be a way to open up to a new world of engagement in society. Society has for some previously been an insurmountable hurdle of rules, regulations, unspoken ways to interact, cultural notions of what is right and wrong, difficult words and expressions, connections to history that is unknown och hard to understand and so on… Society can be a pretty intricate web of rather loose or tight connections and being better equipped to untangle that web is valuable for most people. Better understanding one’s rights in society, as well as one’s obligations, gives a new dimension to being a citizen. Building citizenship to become a more active citizen can greatly enhance the students’ sense of coherence ( SOC). Enhancing a person’s understanding of and involvement in society can also be the stepping stone to becoming more independent. That applies to a large extent to students who have immigrated and are somehow new to the country. Perhaps their learning difficulties have not previously been openly addressed and perhaps present society in the new country is so different that new possibilities but also new challenges may have arisen. Designing lessons that give every student the possibility to access its content regardless of learning disability is a way that also brings on a sense of our individual functional variations being just that – variations. Learning material and resources (digital or other) that are available to everybody, and not exclusively to the ones most in need, reduce the differences and create a feeling of equality or sameness among the students. The variations among the students in this way become the assets of the learning situation since the learning situation becomes more accessible to everyone - with or without learning difficulty. Classroom situations can also be the way to practice valuable digital skills required for actively taking a greater part in society, as well as learning how to access information and critically analyze it. Functional variations and the way we address and meet these are crucial to students’ accepting of their learning disabilities. Open dialogue and addressing the importance of self-awareness is something really worth spending time on in mentoring students with learning difficulties, who oftentimes have spent a lot of time compensating for their difficulties and sometimes trying to hide them as well. Taking part of society, in one's own way, then becomes a goal in itself. But before that can be done, one has to dare to acknowledge one´s hurdles and lift up one’s strengths. On top of that, students with intellectual disabilities, or other learning difficulties, benefit greatly from having learned strategies to detect when they are exposed to different power structures, such as ableism. Learning to stand up for oneself, being more grounded in one´s own skills and one´s value, becomes a worth-wile bonus. In almost every subject we can incorporate aspects of citizenship. We can address different issues in different ways, using different modalities so that the variation itself strengthens students’ possibilities to succeed. Carefully planning how to incorporate citizenship-building in the existing plan for the course and giving the students the term plan in order for them to be able to prepare and plan their own work is also a recipe for success. The plan is especially important for the student who has challenges in learning, in order to be able to prepare in whichever way best for that particular student’s success in learning. Building citizenship does not have to involve classroom activities alone. Cooperating with a guidance counsellor and inviting different groups/institutions into the classroom or visiting them where they are, presents a path to broaden input and understanding for what are important citizenship-skills. Additionally, by implementing cooperative strategies into the learning processes, students learn to rely on their own capacity and to cooperate in a symmetric structure of power and not only in a hierarchical one. This is a valuable skill in society. One recipe to build citizenship can be Universal learning design and learning resources in the classroom Practising valuable skills needed in society Create a tolerant classroom climate where questions can be addressed Help students work on self-awareness Planning how to incorporate citizenship-building in the classroom setting                               
Bild des Benutzers Andreas Koreimann
Thank you for your inputs.

Adult Education plays a key role in imparting knowledge about democracy, politics, political processes and social structures. The promotion of active citizenship for responsible citizens is an educational policy objective in Europe and an important element for the societal cohesion in a democracy. I want to use the opportunity and invite you to our EPALE Conference Citizenship Education in Austria & Europe: Objectives, methods and future prospects on the 13th of June, where you could participate successfull projects from all over Europe.

What is citizenship education? How and where does it take place? What are thematic key aspects, approaches, methods? How should we structure courses for political education and how can the education of democracy be implemented for adults. These are the central questions of the EPALE conference 2019.

Ideas and methods, which were developed in European projects, will be introduced and tested. The national and international idea and networking pools will cover the following topics: approaches of political education, promotion of active citizenship, integration through adult education as well as empowerment through community based media and promotion of media literacy.

Here you will find the programme and the link for registration.

Bild des Benutzers Annalisa Pezzini
REM project - Rights, duties, solidarity, European constitutions and Muslim immigration 

The general objective of this Erasmus+ KA3 project is to promote intercultural dialogue, democratic values and fundamental rights and to prevent violent radicalization, that is often generated and encouraged by integration difficulties and therefore by the perception of isolation and not belonging to the context in which migrants live. The project is inspired by a good practice carried out inside the Dozza prison in Bologna, where friar Ignazio De Francesco, in the past years, has involved prisoners, coming from the Maghreb area, in lectures aimed at reflecting on rights and duties, on the comparison between Constitutions and between civil and religious norms. In 2018 the Citizenship Education training has been adapted and upscaled in different contexts and addressed to different target groups, both men and women, of different nationalities, ages and cultural backgrounds. The courses have involved students of: language courses, trainings aimed at naturalization or acquisition of citizenship, high schools; asylum seekers and migrants, adults and unaccompanied minors, hosted in residential facilities; inmates and former inmates. The pilot trainings were planned with the contribution of experts such as intercultural mediators, law teachers and Islamologists. In each partners' countries (Italy, Spain, Romania and Germany) the courses have been carried out involving more than 200 people. At the beginning of 2019, trainings of trainers’ courses were also held in each country, with a total presence of more than 100 people including educators, teachers, social workers, psychologists, police officers and volunteers. At the moment, all project partners are working on the creation of the project E-booklet that collect the descriptions, methodologies and tools used in all the trainings. If you are interested in receiving more information or in being part of the European network we are creating, please contact us at:
or have a look to our website and facebook page: 
Bild des Benutzers NSS EPALE Nederland
To participate in society, migrants must be language proficient. In learning the language of their new home country, in addition to formal scholing, they are often supported by local volunteers. National platform ‘It starts with language’ (Het Begint met Taal) supports local initiatives. We provide practical materials, trainings and guides for these language volunteers and their coordinators. Also, we make sure as many people as possible learn about the added value of language volunteers and how it enriches people’s lives.

“The Dutch language is the most important tool for getting to know your new home country and climbing the social ladder. That is why language volunteers are such a valuable investment. "Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam.

Language volunteers
Every week, around 15,000 language volunteers and 28,000 migrants, such as refugees and asylum seekers, talk Dutch with each other. They practice everyday conversations and get to know each other's world. The main aim: use language as a tool in order to increase the participation of migrants. This type of practical language support provides more language knowledge, self-confidence and broadens the network of migrants. Other speakers, volunteers, municipalities and the whole society reap the benefits.

Who are we?
We at ‘It starts with language’ believe society improves when all migrants and refugees can participate. In order to support their children, find employment and be active in their local communities, migrants must be able to speak the language of their new home country. We therefore support 160 volunteer organizations on 250 locations nationwide with a wide array of products and services relating to language volunteers and second language education:
  • we promote the expertise of language volunteers and coordinators through training, webinars and e-learning;
  • we offer practical tools and develop innovative methods;
  • we build on the experience of our partner organizations and facilitate national roll-out of local successes;
  • we help partner organizations start up and/or grow through advice and tools;
  • we raise awareness of the importance of language volunteers through national communication campaigns;
  • we participate in various networks, lobby and influence policy.
We gladly offer support on using our experience, methods and trainings to any organization wishing to improve the quality of the language education support provided by volunteers.