14 SES 12, Children as Members of a Community: Citizenship, Participation and Educational Development - Part I: The Community Inside the School and the Participation of Children
In this Symposium, we would like to debate the subject of children/young people as citizens and, particularly, as members of a community. Our focus is on how children/young people perceive themselves as members of one (or several) community(ies), and on how communitarian interactions (at an interpersonal and/or an organizational level) are viewed, by them, as fundamental for their own development, and for that of the community(ies) they belong to.
One of this Symposium's emphasis is on creativity and innovation, particularly in the debating of what kinds of communitarian interactions are viewed by children/young people as fundamental to foster creative competences and innovative skills among them and within the community(ies).
For the purpose of this Symposium, we invoke a broad understanding of what a "community" is, and also of what "participating" and "being a citizen/member of a community" translates as, in terms of children's everyday experiences, awarded by their roles as members of one (or several) family(ies), as students, as inhabitants of a certain geographical/administrative space, etc.
These different (sometimes complementary, sometimes antithetical) roles emerge both as products and as constructs of the different "stages" in which the child/young person acts: these stages are contexts of individual action and appropriation, but also of colective - and eventually communitarian action and appropriation.
The idea of the community (or communities) as dialectics is especially relevant here, being that what is at stake here - or, better said, what is sought - is not consensus, but rather participation. It is participation, in its plurality of forms, that warrants the emergence of initiatives that really correspond to the individuals' demands, and the concept of "common", more than smothering diversity, emerges with the purpose of configuring fuller and more complex ways of experiecing citizenship and the citizens' rights.
In this Symposium, seven papers will be presented, representing 6 national perspectives. It is divided in two parts: the first part, titled "The Community inside the School and the Participation of Children", will include three papers; the second part, titled "The Community of Children: Oppositional and Harmonic Narratives", will include four papers.
The first part of this Symposium will include papers by Javier Diez-Palomar (representing Spain), Reetta Niemi (representing Finland) and Rocío García Carrión (representing Spain). These papers offer insight about the School as a community in itself (with its inhabitants, its set of rules, its History, and its own projects), and as an organization which is, at the same time, part of a broader community (in which entities such as the families, the governmental institutions, the productive system, and other formal and informal organizations co-exist). These three papers present three different perspectives about the ways in which the children’s voices are (or aren’t) heard and about how they, as students, are called to participate in the decision-making process and in the development of the educational/pedagogical process, inside the classroom, inside the school and as part of a broader learning community.
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