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

20/05/2019
by EPALE Moderator

/et/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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Kasutaja Kristýna Fantová pilt
Hello, I am Kristyna from the Czech Republic. I work for EPALE part time. One of my other jobs is consulting private VIA Foundation in public participation techniques. They are used when creating a public space with heavy involvement of citizens within a program called “The Community in Which We Live “. I believe that this program has a great overall impact on the participants. 

There are two groups of them. First is the project team, which leads the whole process, spends a lot of time organising voluntary work events and celebrations, managing fundraising efforts, keeping deadlines, communicating with building and gardening companies. All the team members are volunteers and they grow enormously during leading their projects. They receive training in fundraising, management of public events, and participatory techniques from the VIA Foundation. However, they mostly learn hands-on how to communicate with people with contradicting opinions, how to facilitate group discussion, how to find compromises in a community, how to thank volunteers, how to motivate people to participate in a community event, how to deal with local authority representatives, how to communicate with media and other. 

The second group are the inhabitants of local community - participants of public meetings and volunteers during the construction process. There is a series of public meetings where the plan for the public space re-construction or building is being created under the supervision of a landscape architect. It is real-life opportunity for learning how democratic discussion can work. With the help of a professional facilitator, the inhabitants of a local community learn how to formulate and express their opinions, how to listen to the opinions of other and how to reach decisions acceptable by majority. For many people, it is one of the few occasions in their life when someone shows interest in their opinion and the opinion is heard and accepted and it can represent a life-changing experience. I believe that this program is a true civic skills’ learning opportunity. And the participants create a cultivated public space in addition! 

More about the programme can be found at: Nadace VIA
Kasutaja Tino BOUBARIS pilt
Dear Kristýna,

how long does the preparation of creating such a public space actually take, and how many people should be involved into the organization of the event?
Kasutaja Kristýna Fantová pilt
Dear Tino, the preparation of the plan using the techniques of public participation usually takes 12 months. It starts with trainings for the project implementation team (in participatory approach, organisational skills, fundraising, ...), clarification of technical issues (the exact size of the space being solved, its current condition, existing technical limits (underground pipes and lines), existing greenery, etc. and hiring a landscape architect. Then the fist public meeting is called and held, potential conflict of interest mapped (children playing vs. quiet areas, etc.), needs of the future users are collected and recorded. People work with maps and draw their ideas, all ideas are recorded by a professional facilitator. All this is handed to the architect to process and design a regular architectural plan. When the 1st version of the plan is ready, the second public meeting is called, the design presented and potential comments voiced and included. Then the final version is presented to the public. Then, within this programme, the implementation part starts, with the involvment of the public, again, in fundraising and actual building. It takes another 6 months. The project implementation teams usually have from three to ten people. During the peak moments, the project can be quite time-consuming. Close cooperation with the municipality as the owner of the site is necessary.
Kasutaja Tino BOUBARIS pilt
... for your comprehensive response! Indeed, it is a very ambitious approach, but it seems that it will pretty much result in sustainable and long-lasting outcomes. A good one!
Kasutaja Tino BOUBARIS pilt
Dear colleagues 

Conflicting national ideologies in Europe are producing policy contradictions. As an example, the recent migration flows have exposed profound contradictory policies within the EU, reflected in different (and sometime nationalistic) responses. Walls, political and physical, are going up across Europe. Additionally, we are living through a time of challenge and political polarization resulting from a loss of confidence in our previous societal and political institutions. 

The time is very ripe for adult education to extend its thinking and make a significant contribution to both individual and societal wellbeing. As regards value-based citizenship education, it is important to state that adult education’s responsibility is not focused on telling adults how to behave, but how to understand the complex issues of societal life. 

Therefore, the below mentioned methodologies like i.e. critical thinking that foster the development of own judgements based on facts, transformative learning suggested by Georgios from Greece, or study circles as a self-directed learning tool suggested by Nevenka from Slovenija are really good examples how to improve adults’ civic engagement rather than just teaching skills.  
Kasutaja Tino BOUBARIS pilt
Dear colleagues,

professional further education comprises much more than just the simple transfer of knowledge. It is equally important to encourage the individual, social and political commitment of learners. The VNB (Association of Education Initiatives in Lower Saxony) is an officially acknowledged state-wide adult and youth education institution, and an umbrella organisation with a network of more than 200 education partners. Major topics in our educational work are of public, social and political interest, such as migration and integration, sustainable development, family and intergenerational education, gender and LGBT*I education, global learning, and many more, implemented on regional, national and transnational level. We has a special interest in developing innovative projects for a diverse and inclusive education, addressing young and adult learners as well as staff members in adult and vocational education, and using state-of-the-art methodologies such as Design Thinking, collaborative learning and many more. Thus the VNB promotes diversity as a fundamental approach to equal opportunities for all.
Learn more about our methodologies and projects at www.vnb.de
Kasutaja Karolina Jagodzinski pilt

The European Elections are taking place in turbulent times. While many continue to believe in Europe and the EU, cooperation and cohesion is needed to steer the project back into calmer waters.

This means that voter turnout in the forthcoming elections on 26 May is more important than ever. In order to promote participation in the elections and discussion about decisive topics for the future of Europe, EPALE Germany, EPALE Austria and EPALE East Belgium organise the EPALE theme week on the European Elections.

Under the Slogan "Shaping Europe Together!" we have compiled material to promote participation in the elections. Every day of this week a new topic will be unlocked.

Join in and discuss with us: What should our Europe of tomorrow look like?

Kasutaja Nevenka Bogataj pilt
A term »active citizenship« is translated into Slovenian as a term »aktivno državljanstvo«. Active might mean that a participant (or participants) is/are engaged in any form of collective action e.g. group learning, team work, community development. Therefore he/ she/they are able and willing to contribute to common good, not only personal benefits.
Active citizenship is usually empowered by or through educational programmes. Slovenian term »državljanska vzgoja« evokes emotions connected with the State which historically was not always pleasant with people and still is sometimes criticized e.g. for poor transparency of decision making or lobbied resources use. In education a term »raising« was erased from vocabulary not only until nineties but also after democratization of society a decade later when I personally started to work in the frame of AE. Then I had to delete this word from a document as »it is inappropriate to brainwash participants of any programme«. Education was then (in nineties) meant to be "clean", what means providing facts and cognitive elements only. It was unacceptable for me since my programmes were based on interpretative elements, so relationship (e.g. to nature, to other participants) were intervowen into the process and subjects. I have also learned in natural sciences that facts like height, weight, age, status and other measurable elements are far from the descriptors needed for effective learning (and action). An attitude of erasing of irrationality from the curricula has gone and we have also learned that motivation may easily rise but also decline.

Variety of participants makes learning stronger and its effects more sustainable. Moderation of responses has always been needed (was appreciated but was also a challenge for a moderator) while pure facts were found in rich learning materials, more and more ICT accessible. To shorten the story - study circles in Slovenia celebrated 25th anniversary and evaluation has shown that they are a best practice of active citizenship. More about on the website https://sk.acs.si

Readers are particularly invited to the subsection of Publications at https://sk.acs.si/objave where English contributions might be found or a map https://sk.acs.si/zemljevid .

With kindest regards to all readers and visitors of EPALE platform
Nevenka Bogataj, nevenka.bogataj@acs.si
Kasutaja Christine Bertram pilt
First introduced in 2016, the aim of the award winning DorfMOOC, developed by a working group of Evangelische Erwachsenenbildung (Protestant Adult Education) in Hessia/ Germany was to guide rural communities to become active in making their towns and villages more livable and reestablish a feeling of community.
The MOOC applies a methodology of "observing, understanding, acting" and takes participants (who at times live in quite remote places but still live in the same village) through 6 modules over 6 weeks looking at topics such as participation, integration of older people as well as migrants in the community, organisation and social media. It encourages the participants to view their villages with new eyes and to think about how they could tackle problems such as a lack of community meeting places or consider what a "good life" means to them.

A blog about the DorfMOOC is available in German with links to the MOOC and the organisers on the German language Version.
Kasutaja Tino BOUBARIS pilt
There are some similar activities (more likely an "analogue" version) of this in the South-West of Lower Saxony / Germany (besides other regions) called Dorfmoderation (village facilitation): Here is one example.