HEC is part of the EU-funded Start the Change project. In collaboration with partners from Croatia, Slovenia and Italy, we worked with teachers and school students to develop an active citizenship model that enables young people to take informed action to enable safer communities.
We supported these young people to grow into critical thinkers with an awareness of global issues, developing their capacity to make informed decisions and take positive action.
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 not only provided a platform for young people to have a voice in this wider debate, but supported 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 promoted 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 conducted 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 created 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: The project developed an active citizenship model that enanbled young people to take informed action to develop safe spaces, have agency at a community level and promote peace. It supported the young people that participated in the project to develop into critical thinkers with an awareness of global issues, developing their capacity to make informed decisions and take action.
We worked with 5 schools across London:
East London Arts and Music – ‘Think before you Speak’ – Controversial Podcasts!
Barking Abbey School – Art through the Global Goals
St. Luke’s C.E. Primary School – Interfaith Understanding
Virginia Primary School – Identity and Global Citizenship
Sir John Cass Red Coat School – Gender Equality
As part of the final event for Start the Change, we held a discussion on the question “Can Global Learning Help Prevent Extremism?” at London’s City Hall in July. The event brought together those working in education and global learning to share their experience on projects and initiatives focussed around preventing extremism, British values and critical thinking. Most importantly, we were also joined by students from East London Arts and Music and Virginia Primary School who shared their ideas with us about the role of global citizenship, youth activism and pupil voice in dealing with these issues.
Part of the event was the official launch of a research report from our Start the Change project, commissioned by Think Global, titled “Shifting the Agenda on Education and Extremism” and a short film on the impact of global learning in the classroom. The findings from this report, alongside experiences from students and teachers on this project gave us an opportunity to reflect on how the global learning network can contribute and better work together for positive change.