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

Join the Hive!

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Mandatory food labelling Non-Vegetarian / Vegetarian / Vegan’ initiative’

The Council unblocks all EU budgets

G20 LIVE: “International communities and leaders have great expectations for 2016 G20 summit in Hangzhou China”, Mr Wang Xiaolong, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s special envoy stresses live from G20 in Antalya Turkey

Deutsche Bank slammed by the US-based trio of IMF, Fed and Moody’s

On our way to China

International Women’s Day: Where does she belong?

Commission publishes the first report on the issuance of a Eurobond

Remarks by Commissioner Lenarčič on the deployment of EU Medical Teams to Italy

How to build a fairer gig economy in 4 steps

Iran: BBC and other broadcast journalists harassed; families threatened – UN experts

Reception conditions for asylum-seekers agreed between MEPs and Council

Migration has set EU’s political clock ticking; the stagnating economy cannot help it and Turkey doesn’t cooperate

Why sustainable products are a win-win for all of us

Global ageing is a challenge – and an opportunity

Female directors reached record highs in 2019 Hollywood

The West and Russia took what they wanted from Ukraine

European elections: A chance to repel both nationalism and no-deal Brexit

Accountability in Sudan ‘crucial’ to avoid ‘further bloodshed’, says UN rights office

Women outliving men ‘everywhere’, new UN health agency statistics report shows

US-North Korea summit ‘an important milestone’ towards denuclearization, says Guterres

A world first: Women at the helm of every UN Regional Commission

New study shows close link between GVCs participation and economic development

EU migrant crisis: Germany, France and UK to show the way. Will the rest of the EU follow?

Key economic forum in Russia: New technology a ‘vector of hope’ but also ‘a source of fear’ says Guterres

Towards the new era of medicine

Humanitarian Aid: EU mobilises €6 million for people in need in Colombia

G20 LIVE: World Leaders in Turkey for G20 Summit. Global Economy will be discussed in Antalya

Parliament seals ban on throwaway plastics by 2021

EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia

Lifting the lid on the value of a company’s human capital

Brexit: The Conservative Party drives the UK and Europe to a perilous road

Here are 4 tips for governing by design in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

European Commission recommends common EU approach to the security of 5G networks

Mother of all mergers between Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram: EU Data Privacy restrictions against Facebook’s imperialistic plans

Deal agreed to protect consumers against misleading and unfair practices

UN agencies call for action to bolster rights of Europe’s stateless children

India is building a high-tech sustainable city from scratch

EU crisis aggravates structural differences, threatens cohesion

3 ways to accelerate the energy transition

Powering through the pandemic

These fishing pioneers are making it easier to eat sustainable seafood

Venezuela: Parliament recognises Guaidó, urges EU to follow suit

Switzerland: prepare for population ageing to maintain high living standards

This is what a smart city should do for its people

May a parody constitute a copyright infringement? European Court of Justice to give the answer

GSMA announces first speakers for Mobile 360 Series-Middle East and North Africa

Happens now in Brussels: Green Week sets the EU and global climate policy agenda

How the North Korea-U.S. detente is a leveling of the playing field

This AI outperformed 20 corporate lawyers at legal work

Threat to biodiversity risks a flood of economic ruin

Universal Health Care: can it exist only in utopic society?

How to stop plastic pollution at source

UN chief welcomes announcement by Emir of Qatar to allocate $50 million to support Syrian refugees, displaced persons

Netherlands: Budget MEPs back €1.2m in job-search aid for 450 redundant workers

Parliament endorses landmark EU-Japan free trade agreement

One small flight for a drone, one ‘big leap’ for global health

High internet taxes are restricting access and slowing economic growth

3 ways to rebuild trust in how we regulate technology

Why the next 4 months are crucial to the future of the ocean

Quarantine: A mental health guide for every mood

More Stings?

Advertising

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s