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 multicultural societies.

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 differences.

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

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

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 here...

 
 

 

                                         
   
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The project ENGAGE has been funded with support from the EU-ERASMUS+ programme |2014-1-FR01-KA200-008747|. This publication reflects the views of the authors only and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.