5th January 2001 at 00:00
SPEAK OUT ON EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP. Institute for Citizenship 62 Marylebone High St reet, London W1U 5HZ. Tel: 020 7935 4777

Free teacher's guide.

With citizenship statutory at key stages 3 and 4, thinking is shifting towards the subject's future at ages 16 to 19. For the time being, the focus is on the element of community involvement, but here is a new resource from the Institute for Citizenship targeted at 15 to 18-year-olds which is firmly anchored in political literacy.

As Speak Out is about European citizenship, the EU and nine associated topical issues, it will also be of use to KS4 teachers, many of whom regard Europe as a hard issue to "sell" to pupils.

Aimed principally at developing personal advocacy, the teacher's guide contains a background which informs debate and raises the level of critical thinking. The opening section, Diversity in Europe, has also proved to be the area of greatest participation on the accompanying website. This unit is blessed with insights about the nature of European diversity, (for example, you can be black, Belgian, Muslim and European). It has definitions and pertinent questions on the nature of culture, and provides a method for students to measure the degree of local diversity.

Among the best of the other units are those on ree movement, (likely to prove highly relevant to young migrant workers), human rights, sport, sustainable development, (superbly resourced, but could have been better co-ordinated) and the single European currency. This latter unit demonstrates the resource's single greatest problem - that of inviting judgments and decisions from the inexperienced.

Which is where the website comes in, as young people test their opinions against fellow Europeans (English is the only language used). Here is an arena in which students can develop their arguments and take stock of others' views. Each of the nine units has its own subsection on the website and by logging, on students can follow the thread of any discussion.

Sport is eventually expected to prove the most subscribed area, although diversity currently leads the popularity stakes.

No teacher of English, humanities or ICT should turn down such a free and comprehensive resource, much of it photocopiable. In English, for example, there is abundant material for GCSE speaking and listening which can be a significant contribution to citizenship.

On a personal level, teachers might study the photocopiable sheet on turnout for European elections, if only to provide some insight into where David Blunkett and citizenship are coming from.

Alan Combes

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