All posts in the ‘europe’ Category
- November 4th, 2013
- Comments: none Tags: Tags: european citizenship, european elections, european parliament
: Categories citizenship, europe, social studies
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the United Kingdom joining the European Union (in 1973, the European Economic Community). Last week the European Parliament office in Edinburgh ran a conference to celebrate the anniversary and encourage discussion about the impacts of UK membership and the hard decisions on EU issues which lie ahead. The European Parliament office in London published academic papers about the relationship between the UK and the EU.
#EP2014 – The next direct elections to the European Parliament take place on Thursday 22nd May 2014, and the Parliament has launched campaign materials to encourage greater interest in its activities and influence, using the strapline “Act. React. Impact”. At the last elections, only 34 percent of the electorate voted, so its biggest challenge is to get a bigger turnout and a higher percentage of the people participating in the decisions about which individuals will represent their interests in the next Parliament. Campaign materials include video clips on YouTube.
In Scotland, two competitions for young people and schools are encouraging greater engagement with EU issues and the elections. Education has a key role in preparing young Scots to be active citizens in an increasingly diverse European Union.
The Scottish European Educational Trust is running its ‘Our Europe’ video contest again, asking secondary students to plan and make a short film about what it means to be a young European citizen. Full details on their website.
- October 1st, 2013
- Comments: none Tags: Tags: film-making
: Categories creativity, europe, ICT, international, languages, social studies, technologies
The European Parliament, the European Commission and the EU have a great deal of influence on the lives of people living within the member states of the Union, but awareness of this is often limited or inaccurate. In this competition, teams of 4 students from S3 to S6 are asked to create a storyboard and produce a short podcast giving their suggestions for the content of a short film to raise awareness of the impact of the European Parliament on the lives of young people. Entries for this first stage must be received at SEET by 10th December.
Judges will pick six high-performing teams, who will then be invited to a media workshop run by project partners Radio Lingua. Each short-listed team will be awarded an iPad and given support to create their films. This is the ‘European Year of Citizens 2013′ and the students must consider how to describe what it means to be a young European citizen. One part of each film must be in a European language which is not the mother tongue of any team member. Each member of the top winning team will receive an iPad mini.
This is a great opportunity for our students to learn new skills and language, and to demonstrate their creativity in interpreting the competition brief and communicating a powerful message.
The Our Europe competition website has all the details.
- October 1st, 2013
- Comments: none Tags: Tags: film
: Categories africa, creativity, europe, expressive arts, international, social studies
Film is a very useful tool for teachers planning activity on global citizenship topics, both in terms of viewing and production. Commercial movies from all over the world present different perspectives on topics such as slavery, child labour, natural resources, and sport. Pupils can research the problems underlying big issues, and gain an understanding that complex problems do not have simple soultions but can be reduced by the actions of individuals, organisations and governments. Dramas and documentary films can prompt new discussions and avenues for further action.
This week the ‘Take One Action’ film festival is showing a number of films at Edinburgh and Glasgow venues. Made in developing countries, each of these films helps an audience to consider issues such as the environment, food, refugees, education for girls, and HIV/AIDS. The full programme details are available on their website.
Edinburgh’s Filmhouse will also be hosting its ‘Africa in Motion’ film festival in October and November, with a range of movies made in South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, Chad, etc. Two films are offered as special schools events – ‘Aya of Yop City’ is an animated film about young people in the Ivory Coast, and ‘Zambezia’ is an animated story about a bird’s life. Contact the cinema for further details of adult and schools showings.
The first National Youth Film Festival also includes a selection of films from around the world among the many movies offered to young audiences in this UK-wide festival. For example, ‘I am Kalam’ from India, ‘Le Petit Nicolas’ from France, and ‘More than Honey’ from Switzerland/Austria. The website listings include links to education resources if these exist.
- June 21st, 2013
- Comments: none Tags: Tags: european parliament, european union
: Categories creativity, europe, ICT, international, languages, social studies, technologies
Over the last few months, the Scottish European Educational Trust (SEET) has run a film competition for students at secondary schools. The ‘Our Europe’ competition invited teams of students to create a short film to raise awareness of the positive impact of the European Parliament on the lives of young people in the European Union. The competition website gives details and will host the winning entry soon.
This offered young people an opportunity to increase their knowledge and understanding of Europe and its institutions, develop their ICT skills, utlise their skills with modern languages and demonstrate their creative thinking. SEET worked with partner Radio Lingua to develop the concept for the competition and support the young people in their creative work. The project was supported by the European Parliament and Scottish Government.
Last week the two finalist teams, from Douglas Academy and Bearsden Academy, presented their videos to a judging panel in Brussels as part of a study visit to the city. Bearsden Academy were the overall winners; congratulations to all the schools and teams that took part.
The winning students are pictured below, with staff from SEET and the judges.
- May 21st, 2013
- Comments: none Tags: Tags: battlefield visits, first world war, world war one
: Categories CPD, europe, international, secondary schools, social studies
As part of a programme of national commemorative activity to mark the centenary anniversaries of key events in World War One, and the war’s impacts on the lives of people in Scotland, the Scottish Government has announced funding for a scheme to subsidise secondary school group visits to the battlefields of western Europe.
The First Minister made this announcement on a visit to Turriff Academy in Aberdeenshire, which has a group of third year students leaving soon to complete a battlefield tour. World War One had a major impact in communities such as Turriff, with many local men killed and wounded in the various campaigns on land and at sea.
Educational visits usually cover the battlefields, military cemeteries, memorials and interpretation centres in areas of France such as the Somme. Many thousands of Scottish soldiers were killed and injured on the Western Front during the war, and student groups can research the personal stories of some of those soldiers and reflect on the sacrifices the soldiers made. The visits enhance the learning of students about the history of this period and increase their understanding of the war, its causes and consequences.
The subsidy scheme will be administered by Historic Scotland, with details available from their website.
- May 16th, 2013
- Comments: none Tags: : Categories europe, international, languages, primary schools, social studies
The Euroquiz competition for Scottish primary schools has just completed its annual cycle. Congratulations to the team from Cradlehall Primary school in Inverness, the 2013 winners. A Highland Council news story reports on their success. Well done to all the teams that took part in the finals, and to all the schools that participated in the contest in the earlier stages.
Euroquiz is a competition which encourages the development of knowledge about Europe and the European Union among young people in primary education across Scotland. After winning the heat in their own local authority area, the top teams go forward to compete in the national finals, which this year took place in the Scottish Parliament debating chamber. The whole final event was broadcast on the Parliament’s TV channel, so that pupils back in their home schools could watch their team-mates in action, and the video is available for viewing.
Note: Image © Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body – 2013. Licensed under the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v1.0.
- May 16th, 2013
- Comments: none Tags: Tags: first world war, world war one
: Categories commonwealth, europe, international, social studies
World War One was the first global conflict, with military action in Europe but also in other continents and oceans. Millions of citizens were actively participating in some aspect of the military effort on one side or another, and millions more were affected in their home and society. The war started in 1914, and in the period 2014-2019 many nations will mark the anniversaries of key events, and also the impacts in their own country. Learning opportunities will form a key part of commemorations.
The UK and Scottish Governments have already announced work to commemorate WW1 anniversaries and impacts, through agencies such as the Imperial War Museum, and the next five years are likely to feature many new projects and resources. The Commemorations Panel set up by Scottish Government has started its work, and many teachers are already planning activities which will increase learning. Education Scotland will be involved in work with schools, local authorities, heritage and cultural organisations, and with other interested contributors. We already have an online resource to support Higher History, on the ‘Impact of the Great War’.
Students will often get involved in learning about some aspect of WW1, not just its history at international and national level but in other subjects too; and also researching the changes that took place in their own local community. For example a study of the War Memorial in their village or town, the names of the individuals inscribed on it, the stories behind those names and battles, and the post-war changes in the area.
Today the Heritage Lottery Fund launched its first dedicated funding programme to help communities mark the WW1 centenaries. Titled ‘Then and Now’, this funding offers small grants for communities and groups, including young people, to research their heritage, deepen their understanding, and share their knowledge. This scheme will complement other work already underway with lottery funding. The HLF website ‘Then and Now’ pages give details about the scheme and examples of the kinds of heritage investigation work it will support.
The Education Scotland website will be featuring a new area focused on WW1, and will highlight key resources, opportunities, events and assets that can increase learning in curricular and informal settings.
- May 9th, 2013
- Comments: none Tags: Tags: europe day, european union
: Categories CPD, europe, international, social studies
For teachers, there are opportunities in so many subject areas to use a European dimension to enhance curriculum activity. The most frequent examples are in social studies, modern languages, science, and health and well-being, but connections can be found in every area if the teacher is keen. Students appreciate learning about real-world contexts, and enjoy the chance to think about what it actually means to be a young citizen of Europe.
For older citizens of Europe, the study visits and professional development opportunities through the Comenius and Transversal strands of the Lifelong Learning Programme have improved the worklife and practice of many education professionals in Scotland. Comenius International School Partnerships have connected Scottish schools and students with their EU counterparts for thoughtful and innovative collaborative projects. And the eTwinning programme has enabled hundreds of Scottish schools to collaborate with partners in countries such as Finland and run exciting work which our pupils enjoy.
Next week the annual ‘EuroQuiz’ competition for primary schools will hold its Finals Round in the Scottish Parliament chamber, a great way for pupils to find out more about the democratic process in Scotland and in Europe.
For many teachers (including the author), Europe Day is also a chance to celebrate the friendships made over the years with teachers in Romania, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Spain and so on, friendships which lead to further projects and school links.
There are many resources for teachers to help them embed a European dimension in their teaching, such as these examples made available from the European Parliament and the European Commission. Analysis and discussion of Media coverage is also much used by teachers; for example, this recent piece in the Guardian.
The EU keeps on changing, and the recent economic problems across most member states have stimulated wide-scale discussion about the future of the Union. But still more countries apply to join, as this BBC story “EU enlargement: the next eight” summarises.
Celebrations for Europe Day 2013 in Scotland are now nearly over. Let’s look ahead to future years and further celebrations.
- April 10th, 2013
- Comments: none Tags: Tags: hate speech
: Categories citizenship, europe, ICT, international, languages, religious and moral education, social studies
In recent years the continuing development of the Internet, especially in the areas of mobile access and Social media applications, has enabled positive examples of free speech and ‘people’s voice’ but also many examples of Hate Speech. This form of Human Rights abuse “covers all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, antisemitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance” (Council of Europe definition). One current example might be Romaphobia and the abuse of Roma people.
Now the Council of Europe has launched an online portal for its ‘No Hate Speech movement’, as part of its programme of work with young people in support of democratic citizenship and Human Rights. This European youth campaign aims to combat racism and discrimination “by equipping young people and youth organisations with the competences necessary to recognise and react against such human rights violations”. The project is achieving this through training cohorts of young activists, raising awareness, lobbying policy-makers, etc. The campaign website includes presentation slides for local use as a stimulus for discussion and participation, accompanied by use of social media and YouTube channels to disseminate material and encourage action.
Teachers and others working with young people may find this campaign useful for students and young people learning about cyber-bullying and behaviour online, and also for citizenship issues such as equality and diversity. Adult learners could equally explore these issues from a community concern perspective.
- February 27th, 2013
- Comments: none Tags: Tags: european union
: Categories creativity, europe, expressive arts, international, social studies, technologies
At this time of year many Scottish primary schools will have pupil teams involved in local heats for the annual EuroQuiz competition organised by the Scottish European Educational Trust. Teachers make use of a great variety of print and online resources as they prepare their classes for the contest. The European Parliament has provided funding support for Euroquiz in 2013.
Now the European Commission has produced a new resource called “The Mystery of the Golden Stars“, available in print form and for download from their website in PDF form. The resource aims to introduce upper primary pupils to some aspects of the European Union in a cross-curricular, fun and informative way. It has two components: a story book for each pupil, and an activity guide for the teacher. Any school wanting to order print copies can do so through the online form.
For teachers, there is also “EU explained“, a very useful guide produced by the Hansard Society. This teaching resource has more of a focus on the democratic and political aspects of the EU and its decision-making, to give students a great awareness of how to influence the decisions that affect their lives.
Finally, the ‘Our Europe’ video competition for secondary pupils. This contest asked pupil teams to create a short film to raise awareness of the impacts of the EU on young people’s lives. Pupils researched the issues as preparation for the creative period, and learnt a lot about the European Union in the process. The winning entries will be available online later in the year.