ERG SES E 11, Educational Curriculums
Nowadays, due to the transformations taking place in the world, schools are facing the difficult task of reflecting their role in society. At an international level, some educational proposals concerning a world perspective of citizenship education (CE) exist. In this approach the CE taught starts from the local reality and is centered in the relationship between the global and local issues. This, for instance, is the approach followed by the Organization of the United Nations for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO, 2014). Teaching this approach in each subject and at an interdisciplinary level, teachers may require training that provides them a space for thinking about their role as teachers in order to co-create tools to put world CE in practice in their schools.
This paper focuses on a case study concerning world CE in the region of Ticino in Switzerland. The research emphasis will focus on the teachers’ perspective. Through their collaboration, guidelines for future teacher training in this field can be achieved.
Among the main objectives of this research is to identify the attitudes, possibilities and difficulties of teachers when they teach world CE, as well as understanding their training needs. Meeting the above objectives will result in an effective proposal for training teachers.
The postmodern sentence “think global, act local” can be one of the guidelines that world CEshould follow (Robertson, 1992). Although the word “citizenship” is a political concept, which makes the educational system prioritize topics related to civic education, especially by studying the main governmental issues and how to participate through democratic tools. World CE also focuses on topics that transcend politics such as the environment, the caring of oneself and others, gender issues, digital democracy, etc. Understanding and teaching those subjects at school by working on transversal competencies may help the new generation of students to acquire the right tools to participate proactively in drafting who they are and how they can contribute in the local-global society dynamics of the XXI century.
With the term glocalization Robertson wants to show the interdependence between the local and the global but also that the reception of the global depends on the local. This differs from the Giddens (1990) concept of globalization in which the emphasis is on the power of the global process and little space is given to the local situation.
Moreover, educating for glocal citizenship means teaching the different dynamics of globalization at a local and global level, and also includes transversal competencies such as collaboration, critical thinking, the use of digital environment, creativity, one’s own identity and so on (Perrenoud, 2004).
In this case study, it will be fundamental to discuss with teachers about UNESCO’s vision of world CE that takes into account the dimension of participation and compromise in the world system (Boni, 2011,p. 71).
The Department of Education of Ticino considers within its curriculum an approach resembling world CE, however, teacher training priority is given to History teachers and for civic education. Therefore, after having observed an international shift from civic education to CE and to see that in some countries such as Canada (Banks, 2001) and England (Huddleston, 2005), there exists teacher training in world EC it is appealing to research about it in Ticino, where there is a current lack of research. Moreover, through the approval on the 24 of September 2017 of the popular initiative “ Sì alla civica nelle scuole”- a political instrument of the Swiss semi-direct democracy- the priority has been given to teaching civic education rather than world CE.
This research is a case study (Stake, 1998) about how the proposal of CE by the Department of Education of Ticino – with its world approach - is understood and conducted by the teachers in order to best form guidelines for future teacher training in CE. The case study is chosen for its “critical character, meaning that the case allows to confirm, change, modify or amplify the knowledge concerning the object of the study” (Rodriguez et al. , 1996, p. 95). This is the reality for the region where despite the tendency for world CE, civic education has been imposed by a referendum against the will of the teachers. It can be said that it consists of an intrinsic case study (Yin, 1989),that wants to reach a better comprehension of a concrete case that disposes of a variety of technics of data collection and analysis (Cebreiro, & Fernández, 2004). A progressive design will be used with different levels of analysis (macro, middle and micro) in which a retro-alimentation of the information collected in each stage exists (Latorre et al., 1996). The case needs different methods of collecting data such as document analysis, an exploratory questionnaire, interviews to key informers and the teacher participation in group discussion. On the macro level, the document analysis will utilize the strategy of Valles (1999). Concerning the interviews, priority will be given to the dialogue (Bisquerra et al., 2004) and will be guided by specific topics. At a middle level of analysis, the exploratory questionnaire will be directed to all teachers of the 4e medie (last year of compulsory school), and will be drafted as an instrument allowing the collection of fast information, that together with the previous technics will allow a better plan of research at the school level (micro level). The last stage, characterized by the participation of 8 teachers in 6 meetings and pre and post interviews, will allow for a deeper look into their own perspectives, needs and difficulties in teaching world of CE. It will be useful to use an art-based research approach, which helps to promote dialogue, and is also useful in researching teacher identity (Leavy, 2009, p. 12).
Unlike the political initiatives concerning civic education in Ticino centered on teaching swissness (Ostinelli, 2016), this study allows the research into the fundamental elements of EC, stated by Janowitz (1983) as the role of education is to discourage patriotism while rather promoting a civic consciousness that recognizes the integration of each individual into the world community. Moreover, this allows the opportunity to hear teachers’ voices and to more deeply understand their role as world citizens. In fact, the main outcome of this research is to highlight the potential gap between what is written in the curriculum concerning EC versus the teachers’ knowledge, necessities, and attitudes concerning EC. Plus, teacher meetings will be a space for debating how to integrate world CE in their curriculum. Moreover, it will serve as a draft for how teachers can link world CE and the transversal competencies in their classrooms. This link has been studied by several authors such as Deakin Crick et al. (2005) that focus on the impact that CE has on learning transversal competencies. The goal of finding guidelines for a future teacher training will also contribute to helping teachers to have satisfying training experiences. In fact, the non-formal teacher training might constitute for teachers an important element for having formative gratifying experiences (Sadio, 2011). It allows them the development of personal and social characteristics; such as being themselves. On the other side, it is difficult for teachers to make deep curricular changes in their educational plan due to a lack of time, lack of material, and a certain resistance from the educational community (Sadio, 2011). As a last point, the art-based methods allow opportunities for teachers to make an interesting shift from “ teaching citizenship to learning democracy” (Biesta, & Lawy, p.74, 2006).
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