Developing European Literacy and Citizenship Education

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ELICIT: Improving Education in Europe for schoolleaders, teachers and other educational partners

Framework

ELICIT is a Comenius project within the European Educational Programme “Life Long Learning”. European Literacy and Citizenship Education does not come within the area of responsibility of the National Agencies but is directly monitored by the European Commission. This consortium consists of 16 partners, from Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Hungary, The Netherlands, Rumania, Spain and Sweden. These partners are from 4 Teacher Training Institutes of 4 universities (Stockholm, Córdoba, Keckskemét and Rennes), from two high schools and several NGO’s. As an NGO AEDE-France took the initiative for this project and also monitored it. AEDE-France is the French section of the European Teacher Association (Association Européenne des Enseignants). President of AEDE-France is Marie-france Mailhos and she has coordinated the ELICIT project together with Professor Michel Harel of Limoges University.

Background

The theme “citoyenneté Européenne / European citizenship ” was also the central theme in the predecessor of the ELICIT-project, ISTEPEC (Enseigner Europe, en Europe, pour Europe www.istepec.eu). However, the starting points of ELICIT were more broadly defined than those of ISTEPEC. The future of Europe and the Europeans, our views of democratic values and the European social model are recurrent sub-themes. The project aims to stress Improving Education in Europe, meeting certain standards and accompanying teacher qualifications. We hereby refer to the CFEC (Common Framework for European Competences) and as regards languages, the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). These are tools to define the achievements of learners of foreign languages, ranging from being able to use basic sentences and expressions (A1) to being a “near native speaker” (C2). In the initial phase of the project contact was sought and made with Elos, an educational project originally developed in the Netherlands (http://www.eloseducation.info). But as regards its starting points and reference frameworks both the structure and the scope of the ELICIT-project are much “broader”. The newly developed framework is called Reference Framework of the European Citizen (RFEC)

Method of working

ELICIT specifically concentrated on the required qualifications of teachers when training pupils to be open to and develop a European-minded awareness during their educational career. These teacher qualifications should enable teachers to put educational “excellence” into practice. First of all this has to be achieved by stressing European values and the European dimension through better skills in the field of European and International Orientation and the command of foreign languages. On the other hand the project aims at giving pupils the opportunity to work on a European portfolio to be better equiped for the requirements of the 21st century. Entrepreneurship, creativity and the capacity to be innovative are key concepts in developing these competences.

Process

In contrast to “regular” Comenius projects, such as the well-known Comenius Multilateral School Partnerships, ELICIT lasted 3 instead of 2 years. Project meetings were held in Paris (May 2011), Bordeaux (November 2011), Córdoba (February 2012), Brussels (September 2012) and Sofia (April 2013). The consortium made steady progress in developing the content, which included the reference framework as well as a portfolio. But attention was also paid to the presentation and dissemination of the results, the design of the logo and construction of a website. The final meeting of the consortium took place in Keckskemét (Hungary) in September 2013, and final results were presented there. Important meetings for the dissemination of the intermediate project results were held at symposia in Bordeaux (November 2011) and Rennes (October 2012).

Aim

The main aim of ELICIT is to make the citizens of the European Union aware of the fact that “we all” share awareness of a common culture and have common values. How can we build a shared future with respect to culture, economics and our social environment, based on our shared history? ELICIT combines operational knowledge (literacy) about Europe with citizenship and wants to transfer this by means of education of pupils and teacher training courses. ELICIT’s objective was the development of 4 instruments:

  • I: Reference framework of competences required for teaching European Literacy and Citizenship Education
  • II: Portfolio of the European Citizen
  • III: Database of documents and other available resources
  • IV: Common European Mention for teacher Qualification
Results

The objectives of the ELICIT project are therefore fourfold. In the first place it offers teachers a Reference Framework to teach pupils the culture of European Citizenship. To that end a booklet of 10 pages has been developed, containing a list of competences, fields of knowledge and desired outcomes for pupils, students and ‘learners’.

To develop this “European Literacy” resources are available and made public by means of an international ELICIT-website. This Database contains all kind of tools for students as well as teachers.

In the third place a Portfolio has been developed for pupils at every level of education. Here they can check their knowledge of “Europe”, their command of different languages but also their awareness of intercultural matters and how they have put these into practice during projects. The portfolio gives a survey of European projects they took part in and functions as an evaluation instrument. It also helps them to check what progress they have made or what goals they have achieved. Do the learners have enough skills and competences to continue on their “European road of Development”? Because in many cases such a portfolio provides a means for admittance at University Colleges or meets the requirements for specialized education such as European Studies and Arts & Culture at Maastricht University (UM).

And finally, the project has produced a Common European Mention for Teacher Qualification. Based on its outcomes the Teacher Training Institutes of the universities of Stockholm, Córdoba, Keckskemét en Rennes have developed a minor for students in the academic year 2014-2015. Students can go abroad, to one of these institutes, for such a European based course of several months and return home with 30 study points according to the ECTS-system (European Credit Transfer System).

RG Nov 2013

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