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Their Hopes, Fears and Reality

Working with Children and Youth for the Future

Edited By Melinda Ann Dooly Owenby

Based on a research project supported by the European Foundation, this book explores how primary and secondary students in four different European countries view theirs and the world’s future. The results indicate that there is a gap between students’ perspectives about the future and a clear pedagogical base for helping students confront many issues that are significant to them. The importance of ensuring students become critically aware citizens and helping them develop the ability and skills necessary for facing the challenges of the future are patent. This book spells out specific ways in which the issues which emerged from the study can be approached from diverse fields (geography, language learning and arts and crafts). It also discusses some cross-disciplinary educational issues relevant to all teachers – general education and cross-disciplinary, as well as offering two proposals on how teachers can count on sufficient psychological support to face the challenges of teaching in an increasingly complex environment and promote cooperative behaviour in the classroom.


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Third World Solidarity and ‘My World’ Insolidarity: Working with the Wide Spectrum of Students’ Attitudes towards Others Claudia Vallejo & Montserrat Oller 37


Third World Solidarity and ‘My World’ Insolidarity: Working with the Wide Spectrum of Students’ Attitudes towards Others CLAUDIA VALLEJO & MONTSERRAT OLLER Student’s attitudes and perceptions about other cultures and what is usually perceived as ‘other’ was one of the main axes of the ESF project1. In fact, respect2 was one of the six concepts that framed the questionnaire (along with violence, poverty, unemployment, environ- ment and health) and the issue was explicitly proposed in questions regarding children’s and youth’s perceptions of whether there would be more or less respect for others in the future in both their neigh- bouring environments (towns and cities) and the world. However, the children and youth’s representations and concerns as well as their prejudices about ‘others’ emerged in much wider and varied ways throughout the different activities carried out during the two year study, and turned out to be, in the eyes of those involved in the project, one of the most interesting, challenging and urgent sub- jects to deal with. It emerged through the data that, for the students, the ‘other’ was understood as being related to topics such as respect, solidarity, altruism or was seen as linked to diverse questions such as immigration, poverty, third world circumstances, unemployment, violence and delinquency, cultures, languages, diversity or multi- culturalism. In all cases, issues related to their representations and ex- 1 This chapter is mainly based on the data and results that emerged from the experience carried out in Catalonia within the wider ESF project. 2...

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