Detailed Program of the Conference

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The current Conference time is: 17th Aug 2022, 12:47:55am CEST

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Overall view of the program
Parallel sessions - B.4.1 Educating To Civic Mindedness At School: Law 92/2019 And Beyond
Wednesday, 02/June/2021:
9:30am - 11:45am

Session Chair: Tatiana Arrigoni
Session Chair: Chiara Tamanini
Session Chair: Simone Virdia
Location: Room 3

Session Panels:
B.4. Educating to Civic Mindedness at School: Law 92/2019 And Beyond

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Hermann J. Abs

University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

This presentation explores the tools and strategic options for policymaking of two European intergovernmental organisations in the area of citizenship education. Policy analysis has developed various methods to understand existing policies and to generate new ones. The presentation will use two of these methods. One of them is the analysis of policy tools. Policy tools are defined as the instruments that governments can use to influence individual and institutional behaviour (cf. Capano & Howlett, 2020). Basic policy tools consist of collecting and directing information, providing financial subsidies, developing target-oriented government agencies and implementing legal norms. The presentation introduces citizenship education as a relatively new field of policymaking for international organisations in Europe and looks closer at the policy tools at hand for the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe (CoE). Both organisations are characterised by a specific understanding of citizenship education and a specific mix of policy tools.

On this background, the presentation employs a second method of policy analysis, consisting in the definition of dominant challenges for a policy field. The presentation describes challenges on three levels. First, on the global level, challenges exist for all societies (e.g. protecting the natural environment, ever-increasing societal digitalisation, and growing levels of social divisions). Second, on the political system level, characteristic challenges within Europe persist (e.g. political alienation, populism, and diminishing acceptance of government authority). Third, on the pedagogical level, normative, professional, and institutional challenges for citizenship education need to be taken into account (e.g. instruction as agenda setting).

Based on these two approaches the policy analysis, the presentation further investigates options for how the two international organisations might develop their policymaking in future years with a view to formulating recommendations to enable these organisations to make the best use of the policy tools and resources at their disposal (Abs, 2021). Overall, the presentation suggests that both the CoE and the EU are facing significant legal and resource restraints – to a greater extent where the CoE is concerned and to a somewhat lesser extent for the EU – that limit their capacity to shape and enforce citizenship education policymaking at national levels. Both institutions therefore rely heavily on informational and, to some extent, financial and organisational tools to influence national policymaking. The presentations concludes by presenting a set of goals for improving the impact of the informational and organizational policy tools at the disposal of both institutions.


Abs H. J. (2021) Options for Developing European Strategies on Citizenship Education. In: European Educational Research Journal. Online:

Capano, G. & Howlett, M. (2020). The Knowns and Unknowns of Policy Instrument Analysis: Policy Tools and the Current Research Agenda on Policy Mixes. In: SAGE Open 10/1. Online:


Silvia Kaser1, Anna Pfitscher2

1Pädagogische Abteilung Bozen, Italy; 2Deutsche Bildungsdirektion Bozen, Italy

Background: The question which skills our children and adolescents should acquire in order to grow to responsible and mature adults has gained in importance. Therefore, the introduction of the interdisciplinary area of learning civic education in the school year 2020/2021 is regarded as important and the educational objectives striven for are met with broad approval.

The implementation of civic education at South Tyrolean German schools was conducted on a participatory basis. A team consisting of headmasters and representatives of the Pedagogical Department chaired by the school inspectors Rosa Maria Niedermair and Barbara Pobitzer from the German Department of Education provided the necessary framework. Bettina Zurstrassen, professor for didactics for social sciences at the University of Bielefeld granted scientific support.

Civic education at South Tyrolean German schools comprises eight areas: personality and social awareness, cultural awareness, politics and law, economics and finance, sustainability, health, mobility and digitalization. The respective educational objectives defined in the guidelines for the German elementary, lower and upper secondary schools are the mandatory basis for the elaboration of the school curriculum at the single schools.

Objective and approach: For civic education to find its place in the curriculum and in teaching, the schools are given a time frame of two years to elaborate the respective curriculum. A well- coordinated process which allows discussing, planning, developing, testing, evaluating and enhancing ideas together is essential. The in-depth examination of the educational objectives and the elaboration of the curriculum require both human and time resources as well as support systems.

In addition to the compulsory figure of coordinator (teacher) for each class, the German Department of Education has adopted further measures to support teachers and schools. It recommends the figure of a coordinator who is responsible for the implementation of civic education at school level and acts as a contact person within school (headmaster, coordinators at class level, …) and outside it (external partners, Pedagogical Department, …). One staff member of the Pedagogical Department has specialised in the field. She offers advice regarding the systematic development of the curriculum, the implementation of the area of learning in competence- based teaching and organizes periodic meetings with the school coordinators to provide information and promote exchange. Furthermore, a digital handout was published in September 2020 as a manual for the elaboration of the school curriculum and for lesson planning. The online platform provides various possibilities, suggestions and support for the implementation: ideas for teaching, links, proposals by the Pedagogical Department, references, ideas for project partners, … It is being continuously updated and extended. Finally, teachers can choose from a wide range of further training offers.

Expected outcomes: The Department of Education hopes that due to the support offered the interdisciplinary area of learning civic education will on the one hand push forward school development as well as teaching and on the other make a major contribution to children and adolescents growing to mature and responsible adults.


Federica Ceriani, Fiammetta Bilancini, Gianna Cannì, Rodolfo Marchisio, Riccardo Marchis, Aldo Gianluigi Salassa

Istituto Piemontese per la Storia della Resistenza e della Società Contemporanea "Giorgio Agosti", Italy

The course was designed and organised to be held online in both synchronous and asynchronous modes, to adapt to the emergency conditions dictated by the pandemic. The aim of the promoters, i.e. Istoreto, IC Regio Parco, IIS Dalmasso, was to guarantee a vertical development of the experience and at the same time to develop the disciplinary transversality inherent in the law and in the Civic Education Guidelines. The participating schools sought the membership of teachers among the members of the departments and the coordinators of Civic Education in order to create a group of 43 trainees representative of the disciplines of their order and field of study.

The participants were followed by four Tutors to define the characterising aspects of their chosen Civic Education projects, based on the exercise of competences and the sharing of teaching methods and operational tools to be used in learning environments functional to the expected objectives. Particular attention was paid to students' participation and self-evaluation in these environments.

The project planned to deal with the three "founding nuclei" indicated in the guidelines: Constitution, Sustainable Development and Digital Citizenship in an earlier phase of the course. These are three strongly interconnected macro-areas which require integrated treatment. In our view, working actively on each of them means working on the others at the same time.

We have presented the planning, observation and assessment tools that would be used in the implementation of the paths chosen by the participating teachers.

The proposal envisaged that the 33 hours of C.E. per year would be spent on the implementation of a project common to the class council, with the participation of teachers from the various areas to create a shared citizenship education workshop, from planning to the definition and use of common criteria and forms of assessment. The results of the course will be documented at the end of the activities as it started in November 2020 and will end in May 2021.

The approach has aimed at enhancing some of the results of the ten-year experience of Citizenship and Constitution, from which it has emerged that citizenship education is not just about content, but is mainly about action. As a result, it is a special area for building competences which, as a whole, contribute, through circularity and complementarity, to the achievement of pupils' citizenship. This means that it involves not only the competences we would once have defined as "civic-social" or those relating to the ability to build autonomous life and work paths, but also those arising from a specific subject area.

The new discipline can be an opportunity to rethink the curriculum and the horizon of the disciplines themselves, considering not so much and not only what each of them can do for Civic Education, but rather how the objective of building the citizenship of the students, taken as central, changes the planning of the individual areas, sometimes still struggling with a certain self-referentiality of disciplinary paradigms.



Previous years


Cecilia Locatelli

Università degli Studi di Trento, Italia

With the enforcement of law 92/2019, educazione civica became a school subject mandatory for Italian Schools of every order and degree. For the first time, Italian Schools have been provided with a civic education whit a proper timetable and mark. That apart, there is another aspect of the new educazione civica that needs to be underlined: the strong relationship between Schools and society. Article 7 of the law clearly states that to sensibilize students to a responsible citizenship, School needs to strengthen the relationship with Families[1], while article 8[2] defines the importance of a connection among School and Community, starting from Institution and voluntary organizations. Thanks to these dispositions, educazione civica is introduced not only as a cross-sectoral subject but also as a subject that breaks school’s walls and goes out in society. Going deeper, if Schools have to give to the students the instruments, the knowledge and the abilities to be ready to live and succeed in the real world[3], it is clear that a “scholarship of engagement” between Schools and Local Communities is strongly needed.

Although the Italian legislator understood the key role of Society in civic education, it still needs to be taken one step further. For that, Schools need to adopt teaching methods able to create strong and long-lasting bonds with the surrounding communities. To do that, it is necessary to replace the classical “top-down” approach of the frontal lectures with a more transformative method. From this perspective, Service learning seems to be the most appropriate method to teach civics in a “social perspective” and to let students experience the connections among things and events that characterize the complexity of modern societies. Widely spread in the American education system, Service Learning is still not well-known here in Italy. Despite that, it has a strong potential to foster active citizenship, letting students spend their knowledge and abilities for their local communities[4], understanding the importance of experience and making them aware of how society works. But more important, with the purpose to create a strict connection between school and local communities, it is the only method that guarantee an effective teaching and a “reciprocal learning”[5], in which both School and Communities learn from the experiences made together.


Z. Bauman (2012), Conversazioni sull’educazione, Erikson, Trento. P. 31

Butin D.W. (2003), Of what use is it? Multiple Conceptualizations of Service Learning within education. Teachers College record, 105(9):1674-1692

Sigmon R.L. (1979)., Service-learning: Three principle, synergist. National Centre for service learning, ACTION, 8 (1) p. 9-11.

Z. Bauman (2012), Conversazioni sull’educazione, Erikson, Trento. P. 31

[1] L. 20 agosto 2019, n. 92, Introduzione dell’insegnamento scolastico dell’educazione civica, art. 7

[2] L. 20 agosto 2019, n. 92, Introduzione dell’insegnamento scolastico dell’educazione civica, art. 8

[3] Z. Bauman (2012), Conversazioni sull’educazione, Erikson, Trento. P. 31

[4] Butin D.W. (2003), Of what use is it? Multiple Conceptualizations of Service Learning within education. Teachers College record, 105(9):1674-1692

[5] Sigmon R.L. (1979)., Service-learning: Three principle, synergist. National Centre for service learning, ACTION, 8 (1) p. 9-11.


Valeria Fabretti1, Davide Azzolini2

1Bruno Kessler Foundation - Centre for Religious Studies; 2Bruno Kessler Foundation - IRVAPP

The global call for a shared vision of the future of education - from the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to the recent UNESCO Futures of Education program - demands a reflection on the ability of school systems to form citizens who are able to navigate an interconnected but deeply divided and unequal world, to combine local and global in composite forms of belonging and to exercise the affirmation of their individuality in the recognition of multiple otherness. This is even more evident in a world transformed by the Covid-19 pandemic, in which education is called upon to contribute substantially to the goal of building a future that is sustainable also from the point of view of social relationships and the collective dimension. Starting from these considerations, the paper discusses the topic of young people's attitudes and competences with respect to their relationships with cultural diversity. More precisely, the paper seeks to identify some crucial objectives for the future of intercultural and global education, such as those of perspective-taking, respect and openness to other cultures. In this framework, the paper discusses the possible role that civic education recently reintroduced in Italian schools after the entry into force of Law 92/2019, can have in achieving these goals.

In order to develop indications supported by empirical evidence, the paper proposes an analysis of PISA 2018 data, which for the first time investigates adolescents’ global competences. Specifically, the paper analyzes the levels of global competences in a representative sample of the population of Italian 15-year-old students and compares them with adolescents in other European countries with respect to three dimensions: the ability to understand other perspectives (perspective taking); interest in learning about other cultures; respect for people from other cultures. While being aware of the possible bias of the measurement tools used in PISA, the analysis shows that in Italy adolescents possess the lowest levels of perspective-taking competences of all the other European countries participating in the survey. Moreover, the average levels of interest in learning about other cultures and respect for people from other cultures are also among the lowest in Europe. These critical points are less evident for girls, especially if of immigrant origin and belonging to families with high levels of cultural resources. School factors that are statistically associated with the three global competences considered include the teaching styles, school climate, and the availability of opportunities to meet people from other cultures. In spite of the limited number of hours dedicated to this teaching, the reintroduction of civic education constitutes a valuable ground for the development of contents and educational tools targeted to global citizenship.


Monika Oberle, Sven Ivens

University of Göttingen, Germany

Political decisions of the European Union (EU) strongly shape the lives of its citizens, also the lives of young people growing up in its member states. Furthermore, EU citizens can engage in politics and influence political decision-making not only on the local, regional and national level, but also on the European level of the EU`s multilevel system. Thus, the EU should be a core element of civic education, especially at school, where it has the potential to reach all of the young generation. Central aims of teaching about the EU include the promotion of political knowledge, abilities to make political judgements and to participate politically as well as motivations, such as political interest and self-efficacy (e.g., model of political competency by Detjen et al. 2012, see Weisseno 2016). In this presentation, we argue that while international mobility measures undoubtedly are a valuable tool of European citizenship education, there also is a need for educational approaches that specifically foster cognitive learning about the EU, including its polity, politics and policies. However, such approaches cannot be limited to lectures and textbook work, but should also make use of more learner-centred, action-oriented and game-based measures such as political simulation games (cf., Brunazzo & Settembri 2012). Several empirical studies (cf., Ivens & Oberle 2020; Oberle et al. 2020; Oberle et al. 2018) conducted by the Chair of Political Science/Civic Education at Goettingen University, Germany, highlight the potential of simulation games to foster European citizenship competencies and to overcome specific problems of teaching and learning about the EU, such as its deterrent hyper-complexity, the perceived distance between the EU and its citizens as well as a lack of interest and prejudices on the part of the learners. In these studies, which combine systematic quantitative and qualitative research approaches, we have analysed both face-to-face and digital simulation games and have looked not only at secondary school, but also at primary school settings. Based on an overview of the main results of these recent empirical studies, conclusions will be drawn regarding potentials and pitfalls of the implementation of simulation games in civic education about the EU, also with regard to international school cooperation by means of digital and hybrid EU simulation games.

Brunazzo, M., & Settembri, P. (2012). Experiencing the European Union. Learning how EU negotiations work through simulation games. Soveria Mannelli: Rubettino.

Ivens, S., & Oberle, M. (2020). Does Scientific Evaluation Matter? Improving Digital Simulation Games by Design-Based Research. Social Sciences 9(9).

Oberle, M., Ivens, S., & Leunig, J. (2018). EU-Planspiele in der Grundschule - Ergebnisse einer Interventionsstudie. In H. Schöne & K. Detterbeck (Eds.), Europabildung in der Grundschule (pp. 101-117), Frankfurt/M.: Wochenschau.

Oberle, M., Leunig, J., & Ivens, S. (2020). What do students learn from political simulation games? A mixed-method approach exploring the relation between conceptual and attitudinal changes. European Political Science.

Weisseno, G. (2016). Political Didactics and Political Education in Germany. In K. J. Kennedy & A. Brunold (Eds.), Regional Contexts and Citizenship Education in Asia and Europe (pp. 53-65). London: Routledge.

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