Mark Saey | Civiclab


TRP not only became the most cited good example in Wereldwonderwijs, the educational book by the government program for world citizenship Kleur Bekennen. It would also announce a new paradigm, to transform world citizenship education from something externally added to school into the goal of the overall curriculum, as a means to improve the purposiveness of school policy and integral and general learning. This paradigm is needed if world citizenship education is to spread on a large enough scale to adapt education to the transition of our long since global society.

Moreover, WELT does not introduce an entirely new learning practice. Quite the contrary, it is based on the already long time successful practice of the “Integrated test” in the technical, art- and vocational tracks of the Flemish secondary system (see JWW, pp.104-111, for a more detailed explanation). It only added the items of the transversal/citizenship matrixes with a more general pedagogy, so that not only these tracks could be upgraded but also the general tracks could implement the practice – this way contributing to educational equality in unequal educational systems. To that end TRP was set up in a general track, with the following results for citizenship.

TRP was done with an average class, according to social position, behavior, performance level and value orientation:

At the start (social position) ¼ belonged to a well-off family, the majority belonged to the lower middle class, (performance level) 11/20 changed training in school, 4 lagged a year behind, the average mark was around 62%, (behavior) the previous school year no less than three special teachers’ meetings were held to help control the class, (value orientation) 16/20 disliked the city, 14/20 agreed with the proposition that “everyone is at least a bit racist”, only 6/20 agreed with “all people share the same world”, 9/20 felt mostly Flemish instead of both Flemish and world citizen, 18/20 were “not at all – just a bit” interested in politics, 2/20 thought they might ever join a political party, 5/20 signed a petition.

A summary of the results:

‘On their last test all students (except two of which one simply got the name wrong) chose the social model which meant they now reasoned in the spirit of human rights and had distanced themselves enough from xenophobia and racism. The prejudice and arguments in favor of fortress policy had no hold over them anymore. Organizing and attending a political debate at the end of their project seemed far from strange to them, what meant that their feelings of powerlessness and cynicism were reduced. Two not unimportant organizations awarded us with a prize. The principal, circle of friends of the school, parents and partners: all gave us pretty high marks for the adventure. With the film, the TV coverage, the website and our photos, we now had quite some material to promote the idea of WELT and illustrate the emancipatory strength of education. Taken together with the fact that this initially difficult class posed no more disciplinary problem anymore, these results showed how motivated the students were. Given the amount and sometimes very theoretical and difficult content, the in between impressions and the more objective tests showed that the students had made quite some progress. Also there were some indications the trajectory improved the transfer value of the knowledge they had learned elsewhere, and with his last assignment Ruben proved the students understood their learning process was meant to enrich their lives. They learned to look at their world with global referents and knew how to place their higher estimation of political participation in the context of world citizenship.’ (JWW, p.293-294)

More research, with other (more quantitive) methods than this (qualitative) participatory intervention study, is now (2019-2021) being done on the WELT “Youth City Hall” project and other WELT projects being undertaken in the city of Antwerp.

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