Therefore, first search with the team and pupils for a relevant subject: which subject(s) will bring into view the unequal development of this now global world?
‘The social subject should, next to keep going the interest and engagement of the pupils, be intrinsically rich enough to bring into view (an explanation of) the world in all its dimensions (social, political, historical, judicial, economical, ecological, cultural).’ (JWW, p.123)
There are many such subjects, but the selection can be helpen with two other criteria:
a) choose a subject that can easily be connected to a concrete social problem in school or the neighborhood, so that you will be able to build a practical context for use
b) choose a subject on the frontline of one of the three main social fractures of our present-day society :
- Open-closed society (diversity, refugees, crisis of democracy, …)
- Labour-capital (inequality, poverty, …)
- Green economy-just transition (greenhouse effect, urbanisation, commons, …)
Ideally all three fractures should be covered during the last four years of secondary education – so that the dimensions, scales and oppositions will be sufficiently addressed in what is a thematic approach.[2
So, one dus NOT first try and find a way through the labyrinths of the existing matrices for (world)citizenship education, but rather searches for a well chosen subject and/or problem to work on with many disciplines or courses according to the working definition, context of use and social fractures. The items describing skills in the many matrices will quasi automatically be induced by the method WELT uses to divide the work over the several courses (a moral step by step plan). And the items describing content will be covered thanks to the well chosen subject and sound analyses of the problem in all its dimensions – by which one moves from the local over the regional/national to the global and back.
For a learning line over the several years of secondary education we advise the following:
- first two years: subjects on the second fracture
- third and fourth years: on the first fracture
- last two years: on the third fracture
The third in the last two years may be somewhat surprising since many ecological topics are covered in the first two years of secondary education. The arguments are that they are more simple or beter connect to the world of those still very young kids or that they can be easily connected to possible solutions like recycling, starting a vegetable garden, be more economic, and other immediately applicable “things to do”. But this way one tends to reduce what is in essence a political economic problem to one for individual consumers to solve – one that often needs more abstract reasoning to comprehend and “solve” than other problems. Problems on the open/closed society have in their core the democratic order and structures of tolerance in the national state, and the problems on inequality are by far the most concrete and so useful to in the first years teach and learn what critical world-citizenship is about. Yet, when it comes to learning lines, there of course are no dogma’s and every school will consider the problems it faces or are most urgent.
In Part II of this manual we take ‘refugees and people without legal residence’ to illustrate the relevant subject.