Help us to Start The Change!

20 February 2017

Unfurling fern sprouts by Thomas James Caldwell on Flickr.com used under a Creative Commons Licence

In collaboration with partners from Croatia, Slovenia and Italy, Think Global is working with teachers and school students to understand young people’s views on extremism and their ideas for developing and promoting a more cohesive society.

The Start the Change project works with secondary schools across Europe (including 10 here in the UK) to carry out focussed research with students, provide teachers with professional development and produce classroom resource focussed on exploring themes of identity and the current challenges that young people face. This is a great opportunity to focus on the views of young people in this challenging debate, and use the findings to support teachers in creating safe spaces for discussing the often difficult and sometimes controversial topics around radicalisation, diversity and tolerance.

Why is Start the Change important?

Teachers have always known the power of youth as a force for positive action in society. However, young people’s sense of agency in their community is often linked to their understandings of identity and belonging. As educators, it is important that we understand the challenges that young people face and encourage them to explore the complex themes and debates that take place in both their local and global communities.

Start the Change will not only provide a platform for young people to have a voice in this wider debate, but will support teachers to work with young people to create safe spaces in schools for discussion and nurture the active citizenship of students.

What will the project aim to achieve?

Start The Change aims to promote understanding and ownership of democratic values and fundamental rights through the core project elements of research, resource production, teacher training and the promotion of a model of active citizenship for young people.

Research:

The project will conduct research into the understanding and concerns of young people in relation to extremism, allowing project partners to collate and synthesise these findings to inform practitioners and policy makers at a European and national level.

Teacher training and resources:

Based on the research findings, the project will create educational resources and professional development programmes for teachers to support them in creating safe spaces for discussion, handling conflicts, dealing with diversity and encouraging their students to actively participate in social and civic life.

Active Citizenship:

Ultimately, the project will develop an active citizenship model that will enable young people to take informed action to develop safe spaces, have agency at a community level and promote peace. It will support the young people participating in the project to develop into critical thinkers with an awareness of global issues, developing their capacity to make informed decisions and take action.

Project update, May 2017

We have now launched this project, working with a hub of schools in London and North East England to support students to explore complex global issues around the themes of extremism and identity. The research phase of the project is underway, collecting the thoughts and ideas of young people in relation to these issues.

We have teamed up with DEC HEC Global Learning Centre in London and Durham County Council’s Children and Young People’s Services, to support teachers and schools to develop skills and confidence to manage discussion of complex issues in school, and explore ways of taking collective action.

The next phase of the project, from Sept 2017, will provide training for teachers and support young people to develop their own active citizenship projects.

If you would like more information about the project, please contact Kate Jones (email: kate.jones@think-global.org.uk).

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