Dimension II -
Society and the World
The social and cultural environment in Europe (and
everywhere in the world) is changing quickly and becoming
increasingly diversified. It is an essential condition of
human society, brought about by cross-border migration, the
claim of national and other minorities to a distinct
cultural identity, the cultural effects of globalisation,
the impact of the growing interdependence between countries,
and the advances of information and media communication
technologies. An individual’s background, historical
context, and access to different types of information
sources, affect the way one thinks, feels, behaves and acts.
To create an effective civic education learning, programmes
should include topics and tools that support positive
attitudes of tolerance and mutual understanding, and help to
live in an appropriate way in this new order of
History and Remembrance
History and remembrance education is an essential part of
civic education: conducted in an appropriate approach, it
can build an historical awareness, help resist political and
xenophobic pressures, develop critical thinking and help
shape tolerance in citizens (for example, by learning about
minorities’ rights from the past and present).
With regard to working with children it is advisable to
approach the programme with the history of local
environments at first, to foster awareness about the
multiple layers and conflicts upon which current democratic
societies are built.
With regards to the topic History and Remembrance, it
provides educators with a solid tool which explores an
individual’s history, as well as their local and regional
history, helping children to develop a perspective on
history through their own activity.
Diversity and Discrimination
In a general sense, the objectives of civic education, which
builds a sense of community and belonging to the community,
are to learn to live together peacefully and to provide a
constructive dialogue in a multicultural world. There are at
least six crucial conditions to be fulfilled in order to
achieve this, which are: equal dignity of all participants;
voluntary engagement in dialogue; a mindset (on both sides)
characterised by openness, curiosity, commitment and desire
of a successful multicultural dialogue, with the absence of
a desire to win the dialogue; a readiness to look at both
cultural similarities and differences; a minimum of
knowledge of one’s own culture and others’ culture; a common
language found for understanding and respecting cultural
With regards to the topic Diversity and Discrimination, the
material provides educators with tools that assist mainly
to: develop abilities to understand and learn from people
and groups with plural, varied and dynamic cultural
identities, as well as a willingness to live together, and
to recognise the value of diverse cultural heritages.
Media Literacy and Media Education
Media literacy is defined as a broad knowledge and abilities
such as: accessing media; understanding media; having a
critical approach towards media content; creating
communication in a variety of contexts. From the perspective
of citizenship education - through developing media literacy
- people are empowered to become not only critical thinkers,
but also creative producers of an increasingly wide range of
interconnected communications usage.
With regards to the topic Media Literacy and Media
Education, the material provides a tool which: develops
awareness of the roles of media in daily life; supports
children in building a coherent vision of the relation
between media and real life; educates children about their
active involvement and taking responsibility in the public
life, as well as developing a sense of active media use;
and, last but not least, develops critical thinking skills
and learning abilities in analysing and using information
provided by media.
Sustainable development is defined as “development, which
meets the needs of the present without compromising the
ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Education for sustainable development – as a part of civic
education - aims at fostering respect for: others and for
future generations, for other cultures and for differences
and diversity, as well as for our planet’s nature; fostering
an understanding, a sense of justice, a sense of
responsibility, a readiness to engage in dialogue, with a
spirit of continuous research and social responsibility.
The learning processes of children should therefore shape
their values, attitudes and behaviours lastingly – for
example, when children learn about the importance of
resource-saving and/or recycling in early years, and/or
dealing with the distribution of wealth, and the dimensions
of inequalities, they should consequently adopt and adapt
these habits and behaviours.
With regards to the topic Sustainable Development, children
are faced with the concept of decision-making leading to a
series of consequences of wider and future impacts.
Therefore, they are encouraged to think about the impact of
a decision made at the present affecting the future.
Children will, thus, begin to understand the long-term
impact of people’s actions on the environment by learning
first about their immediate surroundings and then by
extending their knowledge to the global context.
Solidarity means union/unity or agreement of feeling or
action, amongst individuals with a common interest, arising
from common responsibilities, and showing mutual support.
Every person needs other people throughout their lives. This
relationship of mutual aid and collaboration between human
beings involves the recognition of every individual as
important and equal in dignity and rights, and this includes
acting towards one another in a spirit of collective group
in difficult times.
In that sense, solidarity is about knowing and sharing the
needs of other people with the intention of seeking
solutions for common goals. Individuals tend to show
solidarity with their family, friends, colleagues and
others. Equally, they can show solidarity with strangers, as
done when offering a seat on a bus to an older, helping a
blind person cross the street, supporting someone who needs
help with reading, helping someone in a wheelchair or on
crutches to avoid a physical obstacle, and adopting a
responsible attitude towards racism or sexism. In the
context of civic education, solidarity is a right, but it is
also a duty, a shared responsibility that one feels to fight
for, for a better and fairer world.
With regards to the topic Solidarity, the material provides
educators with tools that help them raise children’s
self-awareness about the role they should play as members of
a society. It includes increasing their civic responsibility
in terms of their behaviour and their social participation.
You find the materials for download in different languages