10 April 2019 • Gideon Wille
Masterclass clarifies global citizenship
Staff members from supporting services were able to enrol in a Global Citizenship masterclass. This was a great hit! All three classes filled up very quickly. Jessica Visser from Student Service: “All of us had different ideas about global citizenship, but at the end of the masterclass we did come to a common framework.”
“We began small, with the participants themselves, their background and their views of global citizenship,” explains Stijn Dhert, teacher trainer at KU Leuven and the leader of this workshop. “Then we researched which ideas about global citizenship the participants had in common. We checked these ideas against the education vision of THUAS and an international framework: the sustainable development goals (SDG).” These SDGs were developed by the United Nations and form a good guideline for global citizenship. Especially goal 4 (global access to quality education) offers opportunities for expanding into the other SDGs.
For most participants global citizenship is a very vague concept and they are not sure what to do with it. Dhert: “But when we talk about what global citizenship means to each person, we discover that the participants certainly have some ideas about it. At the beginning of a workshop I heard a participant say: I am not a global citizen because I don’t go abroad. Two hours later the same participant said: I am revising my opinion, I am a global citizen, but in a different way than I originally thought.”
Armed with their new knowledge of global citizenship, in the afternoon the participants head out into the school in small groups to further finetune their image. Their assignment is to make a short (visual) report. This resulted in numerous videos in which students give their opinion about global citizenship and a huge number of photographs, ranging from students playing table tennis to shots of gender neutral toilets. Dhert concludes the workshop with a broad description, based on the participants’ contributions about global citizenship.
The participants had an overwhelmingly positive response to the workshop. Jesica Visser: “The essence, what global citizenship is, can be difficult. It is too diverse and too broad to fit in a neat definition. But – and I love this – even if we didn’t exactly define it, we did come to a joint framework. I identified more with one point than another, but the overall picture makes sense to me.”
Angela Smit, HRM advisor: “There was a lot of energy in the meeting. We put a diverse group of people together and within a relatively short amount of time we developed a shared vision on global citizenship. That was truly impressive. What did I gain from the workshop? You have to begin with yourself. I am going to tell my colleagues all about how fun and interesting this workshop was. I have a few people in mind who, because of their position, could benefit from knowing more about global citizenship.”
Also for lecturers?
Unlike this one-day workshop, the learning course on global citizenship (especially created for lecturers) was not as successful. It was hard for lecturers to fit the five-day course into their schedule. That is why Simten Goren, responsible for the workshop and the course, is considering organising the same workshop for lecturers.
Global citizenship is a broad concept, but together Masterclass students were able to create a definition that fit.