European Learning Environment Formats for Citizenship and Democracy (ELEF)

Political radicalisation is increasingly challenging the democratic values of European societies. As a response, the European Education Ministers signed the Paris Declaration “Education and Radicalisation” in 2015, enforcing that a key objective of education is “to help young people [...] to become active, responsible, open-minded members of society” (European Union Education Ministers 2015: 2). A main goal of education, hence, is to strengthen social inclusion and the values of democracy, freedom and equality.

In this context, the interdisciplinary Centre for Labour and Civic Education (Zentrum für Arbeit und Politik, zap) is carrying out the project European Learning Environment Formats for Citizenship and Democracy (ELEF). The aim is to reach out to different target groups through innovative teaching and learning formats that foster civic education and democracy building. Concretely, the project implements, further develops and evaluates different democratic learning environments (DLE) that promote democratic values, fundamental rights, intercultural understanding and active citizenship. Thereby, a democratic learning environment is characterised by (i) endorsing democracy-specific topics and contents (e. g. participation in society, social inclusion, non-discrimination), (ii) learning and teaching processes that observe and foster democratic and participatory principles and (iii) democracy-specific educational policy goals.

ELEF will implement and up-scale three different learning formats that build on activities and learning approaches zap has been piloting in the past years (Street Education, Democracy Coaches, Demokratiewerkstatt). Based on this experience, the three learning formats will be further developed in cooperation with European partners from Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Spain. In this way similar and different experiences can be exchanged to elaborate good practice examples. The kick-off meeting for the project was held at the Bremen Landesinstitut für Schule (LIS) on 19 to 20 January 2017.

ELEF is supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.