Mark Saey | Civiclab

2. Moral step-by-step plan

Organize the succession of courses or teamwork with a (moral) step- by-step plan

2.1. The (moral) step-by-step plan

Problem Ethical or religious course(s) / course with a strong civic component Raise involvement
Analysis (Social) scientific courses, History Create “distance” by means of understanding and critical thinking
Relevant Values, Alternatives Ethical or religious course(s) / course with a strong civic component (Inter) religious or ethical reflection – UDHR – alternative solutions
Other voices Any /all Democratic debate with external people
Position Pupils Individual and/or collective position(s)

Confronted with a moral problem one first tries to describe or analyse the situation. Then one considers possible alternative solutions and relevant fundamental values or methods involved. Next one considers the opinion of others and argues a position.

This we use to organize or divide into phases the work over the whole or most of the school year. The courses involved will each take at least one turn of two or three weeks, connecting either transversal or citizenship goals either the goals of their learning plan (course specific curriculum) to the WELT subject. Here we limit ourselves to the courses in the knowledge part. The doing part with the other courses is the subject of the next paragraph.

We now go over every step and explore their specific task – rationale for choosing specific “educations”.

2.1. Problem

The trajectory starts by confronting the pupils with a concrete problem that introduces the subject. This way one tries to raise involvement or commitment and stimulate integral learning:

‘The first phase already announces the problem-directed teaching method of the LWZ. More than just transmit knowledge a constructivist approach is capable of involving students in a subject and stimulate the integral learning process. Amazement and/or indignation about a present day social problem spark the attention necessary to do more than just gather facts. Problem-directed teaching forces students to forge understanding from facts which through application – and provided the learning process keeps the involvement going – will be integrated into their value-system. Making them aware of the structure and dynamic of their learning process bit by bit can teach them a critical attitude with which they may take the process into their own hands.’ (JWW, p.122)

Although not mandatory, this is best organized in a religious or ethical course, or a course with a strong civic component. This course will also be the playmaker since its learning plan or course specific curriculum tends to be more open and flexible, these teachers also are the most experienced with (world) citizenship topics, and also to solve possible problems with schedules and class groupings.

2.2. Analysis

In this phase we organize all (social) scientific courses that can be involved. Not all need to be. It also may depend on the subject, e.g. Physics and Chemistry will be more readily involved in a subject of the green economy-just transition fracture than in one of the other social fractures. But since the citizenship attitude of all teachers is a relevant factor, the more courses are involved the better. Mathematics (always good for statistics), History, Geography, pretty much all students have – although in some systems professional kids get these in a more integrated course. In some strands there also are economic, culture and behavioural science courses which all can help investigate the different dimensions of the subject. Each during a two to three weeks turn on average.

Also the language courses can take their place here, but experience shows that in general they are far more useful in the doing part (speeches, interviews, essays to improve on empathy, etc.) which we will describe shortly.

Although involvement needs to keep going – more a doing part thing – the general task of this phase is to induce students with the necessary “distance”. Distance to find the needed wisdom and temperance to guide emotions, which is what widening and deepening the understanding of the world can accomplish through the effort of scientific study and critical thinking. Thanks to WELT this old enlightenment or simply humanistic ideal is reactivated in the curriculum during this phase of trying to step by step understand the global society in which we all live.

2.3. Relevant values and alternatives

In this phase, taken on by the course(s) of the problem phase, the understanding of the world is given meaning and value through the lens of the chosen problem: what are the most relevant values, how are they written in rights, law, religion, and how should they help us decide between possible alternative solutions to our problems?

Here one will induce pupils to reflect on their value-systems and attitudes, human rights, possible outcomes of actions, with functional information and some of several possible conversation and debate didactics.

2.4. Other voices

In this phase, which since it concludes the work of the separate courses can be taken on by any or all, one confronts the conclusions or insights of the previous phase with the opinion of others.

These are not the experts or invited speakers, which by now one probably already has spoken, but rather the (local) political parties and organisations. In other words this is the phase where one gets more closely into ideology and returns to the issues investigating local party politics.

2.5. Position

In this last phase the pupils argue their own position concerning both the chosen subject/problem and their trajectory or learning process/engagement.

In several countries pupils make some sort of thesis to prove their research competency or an installation to prove their skills. By organizing these within or connecting them to the WELT trajectory one can reduce the workload and again make part of school policy more purposeful.