In each of the partner countries and within the EU, there are different forms of political and cultural activism. The participation of young people in political decisions and the initiation of initiatives is an important concern in a living democracy. Especially in times when radicalisation tendencies are becoming more visible again, it is particularly important to show democratic ways of participation in socially relevant issues that strengthen the values of the European Union and enable all citizens to participate on an equal footing. This is the only way to ensure social inclusion - a society in which everyone is accepted and can participate on an equal footing and in a self-determined manner - regardless of gender, age or origin, religious affiliation or education, any disabilities or other individual characteristics. In the inclusive society, there is no defined normality that every member of this society has to strive for or fulfil. The only thing that is normal is the fact that there are differences. These differences are seen as enrichment and have no bearing on the individual's natural right to participate. The task of society is to create structures in all areas of life that enable the members of this society to move freely within it. Radicalisation is the name given to this process when groups or individuals adopt one-sided political views through their radical behaviour and do not allow other views. We are committed to "Shared Values, Civic Engagement and Participation" because the aim of the project is to collect different methods of political action from the three project countries to create a set of methods for radical-free political activism and critical thinking. It can hardly be denied that prevention is the most effective way to counter radicalism that leads to violent extremism. Prevention should be understood in its broadest sense - not only as fear of punishment for breaking the law (general prevention), but also as removing the root cause that led young people down the path to violent extremism. At the Oslo Global Meeting in 2016, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was formulated to understand the pathway to violent extremism and formulate prevention measures that can reduce the radicalism that leads to violent extremism. This pathway involves a combination of external and internal factors. While external factors include geopolitical trends, demographic change, economic pressures or climate change, etc., internal factors include feelings of inability to resolve disputes peacefully, feelings of not being able to express oneself, not being heard or not being able to contribute, feelings of humiliation, identity, belonging and cultural acceptance and recognition. The project aims to promote the development of social, civic and intercultural competences and to combat discrimination, segregation and racism. Furthermore, we will support and evaluate new approaches to reduce inequalities in access to political decision-making and political activism.
PROJECT-PARTNER from Portugal - Greece - Austria
Within the framework of the project, it was important for us to ascertain the importance of political education in the classroom and in associations that offer programmes for youths and young adults before creating the methods for teaching. We also compared the situation of teacher training in civic education in the participating countries and the implementation of the subject. In addition to general research, teachers and trainers working with youth and young adults as well as youth and young adults were interviewed.
This qualitative research was conducted in the 3 project countries (Portugal, Greece and Austria), and was complemented by 3 interviews with teachers/trainers and 3 interviews with young people between 18 and 25 years old in each of the partner countries, for a total of 18 interviews.
Providing knowledge, skills and attitudes that enable young people to become active citizens capable of shaping the future of our democratic societies is one of the great challenges facing European education systems in the 21st century. And citizenship education constitutes one of the main tools used by European countries to help young people acquire the social and civic skills they will need in their future lives.
Comparing the data collected in the surveys, we can see that in each of the countries there is either a national curriculum for Citizenship, or these skills are intrinsically linked to the subjects of the student's school curriculum.
In Portugal, there is a discipline of its own, but without a curriculum, and there are reference parameters organised by groups. This subject aims to contribute to the education of responsible, autonomous, solidary people, who know and exercise their rights and duties in dialogue and respect for others, with a democratic, pluralist, critical and creative spirit.
In Greece, citizenship education is taught as a compulsory stand-alone subject in both primary and secondary education, but as in Portugal, there is no curriculum, only recommendations. There are also active citizenship projects available to primary school students on a voluntary basis, within the framework of "creative and integrated curricular activities".
In secondary education, students can carry out research work on topics in the curriculum areas "social and civic education" and "home economics".
In Austria, although well presented in theory, it is not always implemented in practice. In 2015, a basic decree for civic education was issued, which appeals to contemporary didactics of politics and takes into account international recommendations and guidelines, such as the Council of Europe Charter on Civic Education and Human Rights 2012. Thus, Civic Education is most often delivered as History and Social Studies/Civic Education. This was mandated in 2016 with the curriculum changed into History and Social Studies/Civic Education for secondary education.
However, analysing the realities of the 3 countries, we can easily conclude that there is no concern to teach young people what critical thinking actually is, on the one hand, and what critical thinking is on the other.
True critical thinking presupposes an analysis of facts to form a judgment. This must include a rational, sceptical, impartial analysis or weighing up of factual evidence. Critical thinking presupposes adherence to rigorous standards of excellence and a conscious mastery of their use. It should also involve effective communication and problem-solving skills, and a commitment to overcoming one's own ideologies.
In the 18 interviews carried out, it is clear that young people know very little about the subject, not answering some questions because they are unaware of it. The teachers and trainers, on the other hand, also revealed great difficulty in completing the interviews. On the one hand, because in reality they do not teach or develop critical thinking in students, and on the other hand, because they themselves have not been prepared for this reality.
We think that the importance of critical thinking is very well summarised in one of the interviews: "not to promote critical thinking in children and young people, through the development of active citizenship skills, is to compromise the involvement of these same young people, future adults, in decisions that matter to the future of the country, whether in social, political, economic and cultural terms."
One of the main objectives of this small scale project was to get to know the reality of each of the 3 countries involved, and to be able to confirm with the research carried out, when the project was being built, that the problems we identified are confirmed.
Young people do not currently have adequate training in critical thinking, and without it, it is not possible to carry out political activism without easily interpreting it as ideas of political radicalisation. It should also be noted that they have never mentioned the importance of the sense of belonging to Europe and the feeling of being a European citizen and the actions they can carry out at a level that transcends their own country.
Teachers and educators urgently need more in-depth training on this subject, and for this they need to create a methodology and curriculum that can be effectively implemented in schools.
The outcomes of this project (methods, guide and videos) will be a way to start a much bigger project, which needs more partners and more countries. The work that will be carried out in this project will be a first approach on the subject, allowing the creation of a solid base for future actions to be carried out.
In this way, the consortium will start making contacts with partners that are experienced in this area, and will start outlining a future project, with a much larger scope than the current small scale partnership.
Within the project, all participating organisations will create two methods each for teaching/training. One each for political activism and critical thinking.
These methods will all follow a common structure that includes the following: Title of the method, duration of the activity, material needed, aim of the method, preparation, process description/procedure, download material, references, short facts as target group, setting, etc.
Guideline NO TO RADICALIZATION
This guideline attempts to help describe the concepts of critical thinking and political activism and to show how critical thinking and political activism can be lived. Best practices provide insights into activities already implemented by young people.
During the first TPM, the contents and procedure of the LTTA will be jointly concretised. The Greek partner is not only the host, but is also mainly responsible for the moderation as well as for ensuring the quality of the LTTA. All participants will work together during the training and must contribute equally. This workshop is not a frontal lecture, much more it relies on the cooperation of the respective organisations, which have to prepare and hold parts of the workshop. Each organisation will bring at least 2 staff. Each organisation will introduce and present methods of the method set and try them out in the plenum. All participants will reflect on these methods afterwards. The AIM of the 3 days training course in Greece is to upgrade the staffs’ competences in order to improve youth trainer’s competences in the work with youth to bring this political activism and critical thinking closer and in order to increase their opportunities for participation. OBJECTIVES have been set out in the training for the youth trainer’s: The participants deal with formats of methods of political activism and critical thinking. The participants · debate- open conversation of participants about social circumstances among adults and methods to increase critical thinking and activism · exchange best practices, tools and methods for developing critical thinking and political activism · learn concrete tools and approaches · make ensemble strategy for further work In addition, the participants learn the importance of coordinating different methods, identifying learning resources and developing strategies. The participants learn to structure, visualize and present information, to reflect on learning processes, to develop them creatively, to evaluate and to complete them. The programme is consisted of 8 LESSONS PER DAY. Each participant will be provided a nonformal education competence development certificate with listed themes and no. of lessons.
These activities are essential for achieving the project goals: How can youth be more aware of the importance of their critical thinking and political activism. This planned approach is multicultural, interdisciplinary and inclusive, and in particular uses experimental and interactive combined methods to improve the learning process and implement the methods. We consider training / learning to be an integral part of this project as educators and staff have the opportunity to learn in multilingual and multicultural groups about a healthy politics and consciously mitigate the political extremism.
For this LTTA we did a CALL FOR STAFF
Digital technologies allow us to explore video as a multimedia element, element which used simultaneously with other audiovisual media overvalues its capacities, allowing it to spread to several areas namely in youth. The digital age has enabled video to reappear, emphasising its potential, particularly at a pedagogical level. There is general acceptance among young people of the integration of digital technologies, particularly video, in the process of personal and professional growth, since it focuses their attention, increases performance levels and helps them to discover their own knowledge. In today's globalised society, which is based on innovation, technology, science and research, knowledge is flexible and constantly changing and expanding, the result of a society accessible to all to use and share information individually or in communities.
Who is going to take part and benefit from the results of this activity will be our target group. In addition to having a guide in physical and digital form, they will be able to share the skills acquired by watching the videos more quickly and effectively among their networks. These will be appealing and will feature the participation of young people from our target group, thus making the very creation of the videos another means of involving youth in a deeper way in the project.
The creation of the 15 partner videos,(5 each partner) based on the guide made after the research, will allow to disseminate by our target group in a much more playful and effective way, the main guidelines of a real critical thinking and a potential political activism. The young people will be able to share these short videos (2 to 3 minutes each) on their social networks, sharing the good practices obtained with the project. Themselves, as a form of sustainability of the project, will be invited to make videos on a continuous basis over time. These can be a boost to the staff of the associations and entities, but also to their digital skills.
See all the videos on our youtube-channel