The Portuguese local seminar “A step forward: Tools for Democratic Participation in Schools” was held on the 27 of January 2017 in Exhibition hall of the Regional Department of the Portuguese Institute for Sports and Youth (Instituto Português do Desporto e da Juventude – IPDJ) in Faro.
The event counted with around 70 participants, including students and teachers from Agrupamento de Escolas Pinheiro e Rosa and ECOS workers and volunteers, but also around 40 other participants, teachers and directors of 11 other school clusters, university teachers and researchers, members of regional and national SCO working with education, representatives from the Regional Department of the Portuguese Institute for Sports and Youth (IPDJ), the Regional Department of the Ministry of Education (DGEsTE-DRAlg), the Regional Departments of the Portuguese Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP), the Europe Direct Centre and the National Agency ERASMUS+ Education and Training. The regional Teachers’ Training Centre recognized the event as a short term teacher training activity and therefore school teachers attending it received training credits.
In this Local Seminar participants were invited to:
– Rethinking the School in the Promotion of Citizenship and Democratic Participation
– Identify, analyze and rethink existing spaces and mechanisms for the exercise of Citizenship and Democratic Participation in Schools by the different school actors;
– Get to know and experience the Reference Scale for Democratic Participation in Schools;
– Get to know the Action Plan for the Promotion of Democratic Participation in Pinheiro and Rosa Secondary School as well as understand its construction process;
– Reflect on the potential of the involvement of civil society organizations and alternative methodologies in the transformation of spaces of formal education and in the promotion of Citizenship; and
– Experiencing a non-formal education activity.
The event was opened by the Regional Director of the Portuguese Institute for Sports and Youth, Custódio Moreno and by the ECOS board member, welcoming participants and explaining the context, aims and objectives of the Seminar.
Following the opening session, the Director of Agrupamento de Escolas de Pinheiro e Rosa, Francisco Soares, presented his ideas on “Why betting on strengthening democracy in our schools? What is the importance of an integrated work with the local community?” and Augusta Alves, representing the Portuguese National Agency ERASMUS + Education and Training, presented “Citizenship and Democratic Participation – ERASMUS + Programme as a Catalyser”.
Participants were then invited to the experiential learning activity “Give a Step Forward”, an activity from the “COMPASS: Manual for Human Rights Education with Young People” by the Council of Europe, adapted to school reality and facilitated on the event by Joana Franco and Ana Morgado on behalf of ECOS, CRL. The activity consisted on a role-play during which participants could understand obstacles and constraints felt by different school actors in trying to participate in school decision-making, and together draw a diagnose map on how Participation is happening in schools.
After a coffee-break it was time for participants to give a step forward on School Participation by getting to know the Network of Participatory Citizenship School Project activities and results from a project story conducted by the project coordinator Joana Franco, enriched with personal statements André Lara Ramos, Gonçalo Jacob, João Janeiro, Luisa Lino, Maria Conceição Santos, Priscila Soares, and Tomás Rodrigues, teachers, students and volunteers involved in several project activities.
The Scale of Reference for Participatory Citizenship Schools was then distributed in paper version and presented to participants. Its co-autor Ana Morgado and its main mentor, the teacher and teachers’ trainer Isabel Duarte, conducted the presentation. Participants were able to present make questions and recommendations during the entire presentation.
Finally, participants were conducted to a World Caffe style presentation of the in draft version of the Action Plan for the Promotion of Participation in Pinheiro e Rosa Secondary School. The presentation was done in several round-tables and conducted by Pinheiro e Rosa students and project volunteers Cátia Orvalho, Inês Marcelino, João Janeiro, Sofia Solayman and Bruno Valente together with head teachers André Lara Ramos, were participants got to know the participatory process of the creation of the action plan and its main contents, as well as to leave ideas and suggestions for improvements.
See this event:
– In NDCS FB page