The project "Magic Bricks For European Citizenship" involves students from 10 to 19 of various levels of language competence and backgrounds in: a hands-on experience of practical art and craft activities that will enable younger students and with lesser foreign language skills to take part in the project; civics and social studies, group dynamic activities for younger ones which will help them to experience and better understand what it means to be a citizen of Europe. The project develops the themes: Rights: through role play students become "actors", know and experience the rights guaranteed to everyone moving and working in EU; b) Creativity: students produce wallpapers from ideas or results of the group dynamic activities; Participation: a laboratory of democracy articulated in "Education for Peace and Legality" with exchange of roles in conflict situations, reflection on advertising images with subliminal messages of violence and abuse; Identity: each partner chooses "seven wonders" that identify its own country, and collects them in an Intercultural online Museum; Diversity: “Short Stories”, various stories about the same context of art; Equality: Case Study: the right to education for detainees, reflection about the detainees’dignity and their rehabilitation.These topics, the practical work, building in teams, producing wallpapers in workshops, group dynamic games, social studies, discussions and presentations will step-by-step lead to a full documentation.
The project involves students of the last class of the Primary School up to the High School of different addresses: artistic, technical, professional, general. The chosen theme engages the teachers and schools involved to include citizenship education and active participation in their curricula, on the contrary that education tends to be ignored basically in all kind of schools up to the High schools just at a time when the young people reach their full responsibility. We shared with the partners upon the meaning that we wanted our students to build together around the concept of citizen and citizenship for a citizenship education in terms of VALUES, KNOWLEDGE, CONTENTS, AND BEHAVIOR. No matter how many the basic principles for the creation of active civic competences, they will all be gathered around the concepts of RIGHTS, EQUALITY, PEACE/NON-VIOLENCE, LEGALITY, IDENTITY/DIVERSITY, CREATIVITY AND SOLIDARITY. They involve the recognition and respect of self and others, capability to listen, reflect on the role of violence in society and the ability to resolve conflicts without recourse to them. They require the positive acceptance of differences and diversity and trust on others. The topic is of particular cultural significance as it offers an opportunity to reflect, through discussion, comparing, role-playing games, and simulation games on the obligations and general patterns of behavior widely practiced and proposed by the family, the school and the civil society.
The reason for the rule, and its goodness when it establishes basic rules of civil coexistence with mutual respect and the reasoning of violations that are inappropriate; the respect for the legal system, with the opportunity to renounce or to meditate when the rule is the result of authoritarianism or the logic of power and profit; the consideration and reflection on the fact that there is a tendency to transgression and a wish, or need, for transgression, liberating and unconscious, which, in some cases, identifies with critical and divergent thinking in others with transgression of the law: all these aspects provide an effective training opportunity.
This topic is particularly interesting because it compares different cultures: in fact, the themes are not only bearers of habits and needs, but also of values and trends of the various societies; they reflect their time in society, culture and tradition. Also they are subject to change and transformation in order to a more and more increased respect for the universal values of mankind.
In particular, "The case study: the right to culture and education for the detained citizen", based on the reading of the Union Chart Rights Ch. 1 art. 1 (“Human dignity is inviolable, it must be respected and protected " ), which brings to discussion among the partners the situation of detained citizen rehabilitation. Assuming that the citizen is the man who is educated in attitudes and values, to the awareness of rights and duties, students are encouraged to reflect on the fact that the detainee is a citizen who should enjoy the possibility of a social recovery and to recognize the right to education in one of the concrete ways in which this possibility may be ensured, together with that of the equal dignity of every person.
On the other hand another particular focus is going to the practical workshop that will enable younger students and students with lesser foreign language skills to take part in the project as well. In details, the activity of producing " magic walls" - wallpaper presentations and walls of pop-up books – will show how walls can separate people but how by the magic of art, they can be transformed into protective walls for peace and cooperation.
As we believe that the only active citizenship is the one which manifesting in the actions of a person, our challenge with this project is to make our students “live” the concept of citizenship by becoming actively involved in role play, games, group dynamic activities that will help our students to experience and better understand what it means to be a citizen of Europe.
Our students will benefit from this project as it:
a. is a tremendous opportunity to implement and compare their behavior in given situations that simulate the daily personal and social life
b. allows younger students and students with lesser foreign language skills to take part in the project with a practical work approach
c. allows them to share their points of view on some of the core values of citizenship as: solidarity, equality, peace-nonviolence, personal and national identity
d. allows them to know what they think about the systems of reeducation and rehabilitation of those who have broken the law
e. allows them to know the different ways in which educational institutions and European families contribute to forming responsible and active citizens
f. represents an almost unique opportunity for them to come into contact, at the same time, with different educational and territorial realities in Europe, to learn about the culture and the main social and cultural characteristics of the partner countries in order to develop intercultural competences, the sense of national and European identity .
g. allows them to communicate in the English language with other students from the partner schools. This will allow them to improve their skills in the second language and at the same time stimulate their interest in learning in other European languages in the future.
To be able to communicate with each other , students and teachers will need the use of an online platform and new technologic tools for learning.
This will make them certain of participating in a European project, of being active citizens, and will strengthen their intercultural dialogue in Europe.
It will also help them in their process of lifelong learning and future employment opportunities.
The project will help teachers to improve their teaching skills using modern technologies and, given the opportunity to visit various European schools, observation, learning and mutual exchange of teaching experiences among them will be also promoted. It will additionally be useful for a more precise knowledge of the variety of European education systems.
Schools will motivate students to the importance and significance of future exchange, creating new bonds of cooperation.
We also believe that the topics of discussion and debate among the partner schools will involve students’ parents more in the education system, not only because they will allow the participation of their children to the various meetings and cooperate in the implementation of the Comenius corner, but also because the students will be real members in discussions, debates, and in some simulated situations around some identified issues.
Meeting with other "Europeans", building and completing a joint project, working in multinational teams, debating, discussing, sharing moments of real warmth, overcoming stereotypes and language barriers, overcoming moments of tension, and even possible misunderstandings, being able to question one’s certainties, learning to believe we can’t have solutions for others, but we can look for them together, being able to share the difficulties ... all this will be, and it is, the soul of this European project.
OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGY
To learn about the institutions that govern Europe and the Union Chart Rights
To develop, promote and share the respect for the rules and laws that regulate the civil society
To develop, promote, and share participation in the democratic life of their country and in situations of daily life
To build the sense of personal identity, of national identity and the awareness of being European citizens
To develop the ability for a mutual support, and take on responsibility
To compare their points of view and reconsider the differences and values from a new point of view
To learn geography and history of their partner schools’ countries
To develop and improve their skills in learning English and ICT
To create opportunities to develop personal relationships with partner students
to improve personal and professional skills
to share the methodology of both the educational workshops and the game as teaching strategy
to acquire information about other educational systems
to learn, improve and use new technologies
to create opportunities to develop personal relationships with participating teachers
To create collaborative links among schools to allow exchanges within the EU
To put into practice and make available for the project all the resources of the partner schools
To make our common work available to other countries
To collaborate and improve communication among School partners
To strengthen cooperation between the institutions and the territory
The methods used are:
a) The teaching laboratory allows students to experience the knowledge in action; allows them to act, participate and compare while solving the various problems under the guidance of a teacher.
b) The educational gaming in which games and simulation will be very useful tools to motivate and engage students. The game can teach how to live, as it allows to coexist two different attitudes: being fully involved in what people are doing and the awareness of being in a circumscribed reality.
c) The practical workshop approach and group dynamic activities: these will enable younger students and students with lesser foreign language skills to take part in the project as well.
Teachers will use also questionnaires as feedback instruments, and as participating instruments to reflect, to exchange opinions. In addition, in the teaching practice, they will use new educational technologies that will facilitate the exchange and communication.