Former des enseignants européens
4. Conclusions and Perspectives

Integrating European Citizenship in Initial Teacher Training

Francisco Villamandos de la Torre and Elena Gómez Parra, Córdoba, translation by Elena Gómez Parra

Francisco Villamandos de la Torre , Elena Gómez Parra

The role of education is essential for the construction of Europe as a political, economical and social entity. The European Union has developed some strategic lines as well as issued norms and directives which are directed towards the convergence (in a short term) of the politics of all member states (see Ivo Petru). In the University context all convergences must be articulated under Bologna Process. This is the reference point around which European Universities are discussing their collaboration, not only in research, but nowadays also in teaching.

This is the context in which European Universities devoted to Teacher Training are faced to a challenge which, in the case of teachers is doubled: it does not seem logical to converge in teacher training for future teachers who will not converge later in their own working contexts. That is to say, teacher training must pay a special attention to the curricular competences that will be necessary to achieve a ‘European Teacher’ who will be able to feel him/herself European citizen, and who will also able to pass down such feeling of common citizenship to his/her future students.

This is precisely the meaning of ISTEPEC: to contribute and promote a meaningful growing of attention to the concept of ‘European Citizenship’ in non-University contexts through Teacher Training and In-Service formation. With that purpose, we have experimenting with the design, setting and evaluation of different formation modules, out of which relevant information has been obtained, to be now in a position to make more ambitious proposals.

The results obtained have been extremely explanatory in two aspects. On the one hand, the intrinsic interest of the proposals made by ISTEPEC regarding different topics such as: the formation of the concept ‘Common Citizenship’ among future teachers; the meaning of the concept of ‘Citizenship’ related to ‘European Citizenship’ (see Rob van Otterdijk); as well as the study of the different aspects of intercultural interaction (see Mª Elena Gómez).

On the other hand, we have also stated which are the main positive aspects as well as the main difficulties which must be solved for the general definition and setting. The main positive educational aspects reached (not only in the development of each module, but also in the general context of the experience) have already been described in the previous chapters of this book. Thus, the inference we get from the conjoined reflection on the conclusions is quite unanimous and it comprises the following aspects :

• The interest and the need to delve into this line.

• The need to coordinate all institutions that support this initiative.

• The need to solve the problems of mobility inherent to this type of proposals.

• The need to increase the number of European institutions devoted to Teacher Training (up to its generalization) that wishes to join these proposals.

The most significant results of this experience must come from a systemic approximation, not-centred in the concrete results of the activities. To sum up, they must come out from the whole process that has meant the development of this project.

An example of this (which could be considered as a general result, so we should call it a ‘meta-result’) is the proof that there exists a non-ending list of activities and modules which can contribute differently to the common goal of the development of European Citizenship (their different angles and considerations have been dealt with in detail throughout this publication); all of them somehow contributing to our common objective. Their quality can be analyzed in terms of the pedagogical interest, but its contribution to the concept of European Citizenship must be explained in the general context of this project. It should be also joined to other initiatives which can be previous, parallel or subsequent, but they must always be found in the same context.

Sharing such conclusions we had to foresee the articulation of a proposal which could join simplicity and power for a near future. In addition, we had to find feasible proposals which could be integrated in the context of such complexity (not only for the initial diversity, but also for the actual positioning regarding the implications of a democratic deepening which at the same time implies reaching to a more participative and less representative situation in ‘European Governance’ terms - see Comisión de las Comunidades Europeas: Gobernanza Europea and Un nuevo impulso para la juventud europea). Our proposal had to envisage the creation and setting of a global process in which different actions could be developed and which allowed an ‘emerging property’ that, as in the case of ISTEPEC, promoted the development of a favourable frame, a coherent process with the creation of EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP.

The solution came almost spontaneously : to exploit the planning of modules suggested by the EEES to organize some others devoted to the ‘European Citizenship’ in Teacher Training. Such modules, which must include different European cultural viewpoints, could have priority for the mobility and exchange of students. Their organization, according to parameters previously agreed by consensus, could also solve the problems arisen by mobility (regarding, for example, those derived from the recognition of subjects or those derived from the multilingual planning of teaching). At the same time, we must not forget to overcome the difficulties generated by the modules designed in minority languages and which are not so attractive for students.

Thus, our final proposal will be the application of an experimental project that gathers the general philosophy of the conclusions exposed above.

This proposal should become a project with the following objectives :

• Develop and test the setting of specific modules in the participating institutions.

• Promote mobility.

• Agree useful proposals for its generalization in Education Common Space.

Definitely, this is an ambitious project that collects the inner philosophy of ISTEPEC. But, above all, this action plan needs to go a step ahead in the way Europe requires, with real future proposals and with objective data got from ISTEPEC research along three working years, which include the different viewpoints about issues related to common European Educational grounds.

Bibliography

Comisión de las Comunidades Europeas. 2001. Libro blanco de la Comisión Europea. Un nuevo impulso para la juventud europea.

Comisión de las Comunidades Europeas. 2001. La Gobernanza Europea. Un libro blanco.

Gómez Parra, M.E. 2007. “Cultural Distance among Speakers of the Same Language”. Proceedings of the Conference “Enseigner l’Europe”, pp. 43-54.

Petru, I. 2007. “La citoyenneté Européenne : ses avantages et ses implications”. Proceedings of the Conference “Enseigner l’Europe”, pp. 136-143.

Van Otterdijk, R. 2007. “Teaching Citizenship”. Proceedings of the Conference “Enseigner l’Europe”, pp. 113-130.

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