A new way to teach active citizenship to students?

European Youth Insights is a platform provided by the European Youth Forum and the European Sting, to allow young people to air their views on issues that matter to them. The following entry is written by Arif Shala,  doctoral student at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany.

____arif-shala___UniCafe, is a new approach in teaching active citizenship. It has never been applied however I am strongly convinced that it is a legitimate approach in increasing levels of active citizenship among students. Citizens, need to acquire civic knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors. Active citizens need to be skilled communicators, thinkers and actors in addition to being concerned about the common good, making a difference through public action, and participations in public affairs (e.g. voting, protesting, etc.). States urge citizens to become involved as this makes governments more accountable, work harder and keep the interests of citizens in mind. Consequently, the basic aim of UniCafé is to bring students together to think and create together in an attempt to create new visions and possibilities for engagement, and take them apart from adapting to existing knowledge.

The process has five distinct steps in all of which discussion is key.

Question: In addition to placing conversation in the center of attention, in order for the UniCafe to be successful in teaching about citizenship, it should be clear to the instructor why students are coming together as well as understand what should be the outcome of this learning experience. This allows the instructor to choose the most important questions. In an education setting questions initiate discussions, students are able to understand the validity of their ideas as well as reflect on them once they are faced with an ambiguous question.

Group work: Students choose to become a part of any virtual group. A virtual setting is chosen because it is considered to give students more control as a result of which they will be more likely to engage in creative thinking, speaking and listening. Despite the fact that students will be assigned materials, this online course is built on the assumption that knowledge comes from discussing questions. Participants will experience several rounds of group discussions which will also be valuable in improving their debating and speaking skills. The sessions can either explore one question or follow a line of inquiry.

Cooperation: During the session students made decide to cooperate with one group or with several groups. Unicafe is designed in a way that participants are exposed to the ideas of others. By changing groups participants meet new people, contribute with their thoughts and link to the thoughts of others. Due to the fact that individuals switch tables, they also exchange perspectives enhancing thus the possibility for new discoveries while also learning how to effectively cooperate with others.

Listening: Listening is among the most important component of the UniCafé process determining its success. Every person has his or her unique interpretation of the world, even in cases when this perspective may hold true, it should be kept in mind that it is the individual interpretation of one person. Every student is a member of the society therefore, every opinion matters. By listening and being attentive to topics, conclusions and insights participants are able to see the whole picture. Listening to others in the group and final conclusions of all groups at the end allows students to reflect and see the deep issues. People learn from others as much as learn on their own, active citizenship can become negatively influenced if individuals fail to see how other people in the community are affected.

Collaborative action: UniCafé will enable students to understand how others perceive the same reality, as well as how they judge it. Once students see the whole picture are they able to engage in collaborative action with the rest of the group. Ultimately, UniCafe aims to create the intellectual and social capital necessary for joint action.

In increasing rats of active participation education is of key importance. Previous studies have shown that there is a direct link between education and active citizenship. Evidence suggests that the more education one has the more likely one is to become involved. Unfortunately, as rates of education among young people are increasing involvement levels have either come to a halt or are decreasing. In my opinion this is due to two important factors namely the fact that active citizenship is not taught in tertiary education, and the fact that traditional forms of instruction are not appropriate for teaching active citizenship. In this paper I propose an alternative form of teaching.

A course designed according to the World Café method which takes place in a virtual café, lasts four weeks and exposes students to concepts and skills of active citizenship can enhance levels of active citizenship among students. UniCafe should become a mandatory experience for all students and it should promote meaningful and cooperative dialogue in addition to collaborative thinking and action opportunities. This is without a doubt a new concept and research should be done to establish its usefulness in promoting participation in the social and political life.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Join the Hive!

Featured Stings

Sanctions on Russia to be the biggest unity test at this European Council

Higher education becoming again a privilege of the wealthy?

A new crop of EU ‘Boards’ override the democratic accountability and undermine the EU project

What have the banks done to the markets making them unable to bear cheap oil?

Banks get trillions and the unemployed ECB’s love…

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “It is the implementation, Stupid!”, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble points the finger to Greece from Davos

How painful is the Greek tragedy for the Germans?

Hardened creditors drive Greece to dire straits; Tsipras desperate for an agreement

A Sting Exclusive: Towards better business opportunities for the EU and its neighbours, Commissioner Hahn live from European Business Summit 2015

Is continuous sanctioning the way to resolve the Ukrainian crisis?

EU Commission closer to imposing anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panel imports?

An Eastern Wind

The US banks drive the developing world to a catastrophe

The Council unblocks all EU budgets

Minsk “ceasefire” leaves more doubts than safety, with EU already planning steps further

Predicting two more years of economic stagnation

G20 LIVE: “This was not an attack against France, this was an attack against the universal human values!”, EU President Juncker cries out from G20 in Antalya Turkey

Eurozone: Black economy loves the South

“They are trying to make improvements, but of course they are quite slow for my generation”, Vice President of JADE Victor Soto on another Sting Exclusive

Is Eurozone heading towards a long stagnation?

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “Chinese economy has great potential, resilience and ample space for policy adjustment”, China’s Vice President Li Yuanchao reassures from Davos

Trump and Brexit: After the social whys the political whereto

How dearly will Germany pay for the Volkswagen emissions rigging scandal

US prosecutors now target Volkswagen’s top management, upsetting Germany

European financial values on the rise

Theresa May in search of a magic plan to invoke Article 50 and start Brexit negotiations now

Can China deal with climate change without the U.S.?

The European Commission to stop Buffering

1 million citizens try to create a new EU institution

Can ECB’s €60 billion a month save Eurozone?

MWC 2016 LIVE: CEOs issue rallying call to drive ‘gigabit economy’

MWC 2016 LIVE: The top 5 themes of this year’s Mobile World Congress

Eurozone retail sales fall shows recession

A new world that demands new doctors in the fourth industrial revolution

Youth not prioritised in new Commission

UK economy in dire straits: leading banks now officially plan to Brexit too

EU-US resume trade negotiations under the spell of NSA surveillance

TTIP’s 11th round major takeaways and the usual “leaked” document

The way to entrepreneurship in the developing world

A Monday to watch the final act of a Greek tragedy; will there be catharsis or more fear?

Disaster Medicine in Medical Education: the investment you just can´t afford to ignore

Real EU unemployment rate at 10.2%+4.1%+4.7%: Eurostat Update

Eurozone: New data show recession and debt closer to explosion

The ITU Telecom World on 14-17 November in Bangkok, Thailand

Data show EU Economy in a stubbornly subdued state

“We need to use the momentum globally to ensure that corporations pay their fare share of taxation”, EU Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis outlines from the World Economic Forum 2017.

The Americans are preparing for the next financial crisis

Switzerland to introduce strict restrictions on executive pay

European tourism remains a strong growth factor

Can the EU really make Google and Facebook pay publishers and media?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s