The project titled “Be Active, Be a Citizen” (BeAC) aims to develop training resources to help young people, aged from 15 to 24, living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods to acquire and put in practice critical thinking skills. Indeed, according to the Council of Europe, this target group face discrimination, prejudice and isolation that make it harder for them to be active citizens.
In order to achieve the above-mentioned objective, the project will train professionals, including youth workers, teachers, social workers, mental health professionals, VET providers, and volunteers working and supporting young people with fewer opportunities. The project will build the capacities of the professionals, so as they can support young people in acquiring and developing their critical thinking skills and to apply them in active citizenships practices on three specific domains, identified as priorities in the current historical context and part of the Eleven goals for the European youth strategy 2019-2027.
Environmental citizenship (i.e. young person’s responsibility to maintain ecological integrity and the right to exist in a healthy environment)
Democratic citizenship at the EU level (active participation by young persons’ in the system of rights and responsibilities of the EU)
Social citizenship (the behavior between individuals in a society) and the Coronavirus restrictions.
The methodology upon which the training resources will be based on two innovative pedagogical approaches:
The first one is philosophy for community (P4C). This practice is based on Matthew Lippman’s Philosophy for Children adapted to the use with adolescents and young adults. The method is based on the use of videos, pictures or stories as stimuli for conversation. Following that, participants start inquiring and, supported by a trained facilitator, they begin to discuss topics emerging from the stimuli, actively participating in a process of construction and de-construction of knowledge.
The second one is Artful Thinking (AT). An educational methodology originally developed by Harvard Project Zero. The purpose of the Artful Thinking Program is to use visual arts to develop thinking dispositions that support thoughtful learning. While AT was originally developed to be used in formal educational context, in the framework of the project it will be adapted for the use in the informal education setting.
The expected tangible result of the project is a set of complementary resources to support youth educators to develop critical thinking and active citizenship among disadvantaged adolescents and young adults.
The tools correspond to the following Project Results:
- PR1: The Be Active, be a Citizen – a workshop programme based on the philosophy for community (P4C) methodologies
- PR2: The Be Active, be a Citizen – Artful thinking workshops for adolescents and young adults
- PR3: The BeAC photo challenge – an outreach activity to promote active-citizenship
- PR4: Teaching critical thinking through philosophy and art: a training for youth workers
Thanks to the implementation of these resources, the project expects to achieve the following results during its lifetime:
- supporting the development of critical thinking skills among disadvantaged youth
- promoting pro-social behaviors among disadvantaged youth, including increased Environmental citizenship, Democratic citizenship at the EU level and Social citizenship
- support to social inclusion of youth coming from marginalised contexts
- support the upskilling of youth workers for the implementation of tailored active citizenship training programs.