Learning environments in schools: Statements to remember from Workshop 2

During our parallel workshop session many guests decided to choose the Workshop 2: Learning Environment - School.

During this session, moderated by Alicja Pacewicz from the Centre for Citizenship Education (CCE), three projects were presented, each showing a completely different approach. Marianna Hajdukiewicz from CCE talked about the practical points of view that are implemented in their big-scale projects. She concentrated on the subject of the project based teaching/learning and highlighted its positive influence on the student-teacher relation. She showed how, thanks to this method, students learn personal responsibility, critical thinking and the ability to ask in-depth questions.

Later on we could hear Mr. Newman from London presenting some very controversial teaching method on the example of Summerhill School in London. In this private school pupils live together with
their teachers and get full responsibility for their teaching process. Every crucial decision has to be made during their weekly meetings, in which both pupils and teachers participate on equal basis.

The third project was prepared by the Federal Agency for Civic Education and presented by Katharina Müller, Christoph Müller-Hofstede and Siamak Ahmadi. It concerned the issues of citizenship education in the red spot  areas of Berlin, that are mainly inhabited by people with the immigration background. As a part of this project specially trained dialogue facilitators go to local schools to lead some discussion-based classes. During this workshops they talk with young people about their problems and fears, and try to address them – finding ways, which in many cases turn out to make use of methods of street-art and hip-hop.

As we can see all these projects are very different, but on the other hand have many things in common. According to this ideas, during the process of education we should treat pupils and students as our respected partners, who may have their own opinion. But all this things (honest, fairness, kindness, etc.) at the end lead us to one final goal – trust. To build up a trustful relation with students, and to teach them how to trust each other and the society itself should be our most important objective. Because that is what citizenship education really is all about.

Attached you find the factsheets of both of the projects presented as well as the input by Marianna Hajdukiewicz "Project based teaching/learning as
a tool for students' empowerment".

Learning Environments
Conference Day: 


My presentation was about how examples like Summerhill can be used to give children models of practice that allows them to think about what is possible in a culture of children's rights. Members of the audience responded in several ways: 1. someone thought I gave a too positive image of Summerhill (in fact this was done with the words of government inspectors and conservative politicians, as well as renowned educationalists). My presentation was not too explore the school but to look at how it can be used to inspire children and teachers. 2. someone thought that children are not allowed their rights and therefore it is very problematic to work with them as if they had them - which I agreed with, and finally 3. Benjamin Barber got a bit upset with the idea of children's rights arguing what he thought was obvious, that children need to be taught to be citizens, but are not citizens. His values were not really expressed in other parts of the conference I attended including the one on the European Charter...

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