Participants engaging in the Transnational DEMOCRAT Workshop focused on democratic education

Advancing Democratic Education: Key Takeaways from the 2-Day Transnational DEMOCRAT Workshop in Dublin

Participants engaging in the Transnational DEMOCRAT Workshop focused on democratic education

Overview of the Transnational DEMOCRAT Workshop

The recent Transnational DEMOCRAT Workshop, hosted at Dublin City University (DCU) from June 6-7, 2024, aimed to enhance democratic education across Europe by bringing together educators, researchers, and policymakers to discuss and refine strategies for promoting democracy through education. This workshop, funded by the European Union’s HORIZON-CSA HORIZON Coordination and Support Actions under Grant Agreement No. 101095106, showcased innovative approaches and fostered collaborative efforts to enhance democratic competencies in educational settings.

Day 1 Recap: Thursday, June 6

Innovative Sessions on Democratic Education

The first day was packed with sessions focused on advancing democratic education through various innovative approaches. The event commenced with a warm welcome address by Professor Charlotte Holland, Deputy Dean of DCU’s Institute of Education. Following this, the Irish team laid out the day’s agenda, ensuring participants were well-prepared for the collaborative sessions ahead.

The morning was structured into three parallel group sessions, each focusing on different aspects of democratic education:

Group 1: Teacher Training and Environmental Education

  • Teacher Training: Emma Kostiainen, Saara Tujula, and Matti Rautiainen from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, discussed innovative methods in teacher training.
  • No Democracy Without…: Piotr Walda presented on the fundamental elements necessary for democracy.
  • Environmental Delegates: Joan Martorell Masó from UB & Notus in Spain emphasized the role of environmental education in fostering democratic values.
  • Education that Supports Democracy: A video presentation by Tallinn University, Estonia, showcased diverse perspectives on integrating democratic principles in education.

Group 2: Literacy and Human Rights in Education

  • Read Right – Read Rights: Claudia Soler Laborda from UB & Notus in Spain highlighted literacy as a cornerstone of democratic engagement.
  • Human Rights and Democracy: Olga Klotz presented on the intersection of human rights education and democratic participation.
  • And the Story is…: Graham Carroll and the Irish team discussed narrative techniques in teaching democracy.
  • Project-Based Learning Example from Estonia: Maarja Hallik from Tallinn University shared a practical example of project-based learning that supports democratic education.

Group 3: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Democracy

  • Interdisciplinary Project KAOS: Gemma Saladrigues Roselló from UB & Notus in Spain explored interdisciplinary approaches to democracy education.
  • School Participatory Budgeting: Anna Dela discussed how participatory budgeting in schools can teach democratic processes.
  • Empathy in Action: Derek Cleary and the Irish team presented on the importance of empathy in democratic education.
  • Opinion Line: Maarit Jõemägi from Tallinn University introduced a platform for student opinions and democratic engagement.
Participants engaging in the Transnational DEMOCRAT Workshop focused on democratic education

Afternoon Activities: Enhancing Democratic Education Projects

The afternoon was dedicated to refining projects that promote democratic education. After a refreshing coffee break, participants reconvened in their parallel groups to fine-tune their projects. This session allowed for deeper discussions and refinement of ideas, ensuring that each project was well-developed and ready for presentation.

Project Showcases and Feedback

Participants presented their projects aimed at fostering democratic education. Post-lunch, each group’s lead or spokesperson presented their refined projects to the entire workshop. These presentations were divided into two sessions, with feedback from rapporteurs enhancing the collaborative process.

  • First Session: The first six projects were presented and discussed.
  • Second Session: The remaining projects were shared, followed by a feedback session.

Keynote Insights on Democratic Education

Keynote speakers emphasized the importance of integrating democratic education in schools. The day concluded with insightful discussions led by Dr. Aidan Clifford, who related the projects to the Council of Europe’s Framework of Democratic Competences. This was followed by a talk from Professor Amelia Lopes, an international advisor to the DEMOCRAT project, who shared her expertise on civic education and educational reform in Portugal.

DCU All Hallows Campus Purcel House, a key location for the Transnational DEMOCRAT Workshop on democratic education

Evening Networking and Social Events

Participants had the opportunity to unwind and network further during a voluntary dinner at a local restaurant, followed by social drinks at a nearby pub.

Future Outlook

The Transnational DEMOCRAT Workshop in Dublin provided a rich platform for exchange and collaboration. It underscored the importance of integrating democratic principles into education and showcased a variety of innovative approaches from across Europe. As the projects continue to evolve, they hold the promise of fostering more democratic, inclusive, and engaged communities.

DCU's All Hallows Campus Chapel hosting the Transnational DEMOCRAT Workshop on democratic education

More about DEMOCRAT

Advancing Democratic Education: Insights from the powerful 2-day Transnational DEMOCRAT Workshop in Dublin

Empowering Democracy: Bright Insights from the Tallinn Conference on Democratic Citizenship Education


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