Hate represents a growing threaten to democracy, human rights and European values in our present society. People across the EU continue to be targeted by racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance. In this context, the role of the Internet should not be underestimated. The web facilitates the circulation of hate speech against specific groups and represents fertile ground for radicalization. At the same time, social media are not only used to spread group-related hate, but also for offense targeting individuals. Both phenomena are based on hateful and aggressive behavior on the Internet, which is intended to specifically damage others. The countries involved in this project (DE, SE, IT) show in part similar tendencies, but also national peculiarities with regard to these phenomena. Against this background, formal education has thus the important task of educating students to common values, inclusion and tolerance besides conveying general and professional education.
Education remains the key to participating in society, especially for young people with disadvantages or coming from excluded contexts. However, studies show that civic education is considered a neglected area of education, marginalized in the system of vocational education and training. In VET schools there is too less time for this subject, often civic education is considered as a secondary, less-important subject, for which the assigned teachers often lack appropriate preparation for. In particular, in vocational education, youngsters in transition between school and VET or work represent a more difficult target group, requiring more attention as well as specific didactical and preparation of the pedagogical staff (Besand & Schmidt 2013). This sector of education faces an increasing number of disadvantaged young people. These youngsters are a vulnerable target group for discrimination, at the same time they are often neglected or ignored in the public discourse on issues of hatred, as there is a tendency to assume that they do not have the appropriate level of political participation. From direct experience of the organizations involved, it is possible to state that young people, but partly also teachers, show difficulties in recognizing forms of hatred at an early stage. Young people lack a sensitive and responsible use of the Internet. At the same time, teachers are often unfamiliar with the virtual world of their students. Furthermore, they often feel unprepared or overwhelmed in their role as educators.
Understanding civic value education as a cross-sectional task and responsibility of formal education, the projects objective is to empower teachers in their role of addressing civic education issue alongside vocational education by on the one side sensitizing them & providing them with necessary knowledge & on the other side by providing them appropriate training and tools.
The direct target group of pedagogical staff will include teachers, trainers and mentors involved in VET and measures. #respACT will start by updating a training model targeting youngsters developed by the Project Coordinator in the framework of a previous project on hate speech online, transferring it to the project countries and adapting it to the new target group of VET teachers. Secondly, new materials and innovative methodologies will be developed, in order to provide the target group with an all-round package of low-threshold tools, up-to-date and easy to use, which can be easily integrated in the daily work without previous specific knowledge.
The results will be:
#ACTonhatespeech – train-the-trainer course and workshop concept (curricula, relevant teaching materials, workshop concept and relevant materials)
#ACToncyberbullying – train-the-trainer course and workshop concept (curricula, relevant teaching materials, workshop concept and relevant materials)
#respACTescaperoom – pop-up escape room for civic education in VET (guide and tutorial and material list) The methodological approach as concern the pedagogical approach is based upon subject orientation, activity orientation, resource orientation and empowerment, interactive methods in teaching, adapting and piloting, target-group orientated, low-threshold and tailor-made tool.
The methodological approach as concerns the pedagogical staff is based upon a needs analysis. This will be updated at the start of the project in order to identify the focus for the LTTA and to identify the main challenges and thematic areas for the workshops with the VET participants. The train-the-trainer courses will be tailored to the target group as concerns content and training format.
The project will lead to the staff along with the whole organization of the partners being sensitized and activated to address the issues of hate speech and cyber bullying in VET. Concerning the impact on the society at large, the project contributes to a more respectful conduct among each other, a more positive climate and coexistence.