Alignment with National and International Policy
Motivation and Theoretical Base
Apart from the dedicated twelve two-hour sessions with studentteachers (incorporating the GTA), we also explored where Development Education could be incorporated into the core curriculum so that the wider PME student cohort could be exposed in some ways to DE principles and practice. As time went by,we also developed internal partnerships in UCC and we still work closely with CIRTL, the Centre for Global Development,and the Civic Engagement team. Our work is aligned too with UCC’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022and Academic Strategy (2018 -2022). For instance,one such UCC goal is toembed“a global perspective in all of UCC’s activities”,whilethe University’s Civic Engagement Plan promotes “active community and regional engagement”.Our project is a particularly good example of a successful ‘connected curriculum’, a concept which currently informs UCC’s academic strategy. Not only does it have a global reach in terms of content and practical action-based projects, it also encourages civic and community engagement, sustainability, as well as inter-and trans-disciplinarity.
Each year students are involved in evaluating the project, mainly through focus group discussions and online surveys. Students advise on the future development of this work, and their ideas and suggestions are very much welcomed and serve to help with our design and implementation into the future. For instance, this year (2020 at the time of writing)students were asked to help in the development of a proposed five credit module which we would like to see incorporated as an elective module in the PME programme. We are currently developing this module in responseto very strong student feedback on this issue.Each year PME studentsare invited to participate in a series of classes on a range of themes and concepts such as social justice, global citizenship, power, sustainable development, financial and trade justice, human rights, equalityandforced migration. Students are enabled to introduce ideas of social, economic, environmental and political justice into their teaching practice, as well astheir research portfolios. Together-educators, PME students and pupilsin their classrooms-explore such complex issues and co-develop skills, knowledge, valuesand attitudes which can lead to action for positive social change. Development Global Citizenship Education (DGCE) also teaches students how to engage with innovative and democraticlearning methodologies which help them and their pupils develop critical, creative and collaborative approaches to solving local and global justice issues. There is a constant linking of the local and the globalin our work together. This is manifest in the aforementioned Global Teacher Award(GTA).To gain the GTA the students must carry out a practical (‘action’-based) project. Each year we take an innovative approach to project work and we also support students in this work through class visits, tutorials and individualand groupdiscussions. The nature of this project varies depending on the needs and interests of the students. In 2018, for instance,many of the studentteachers in our ‘IdEst’ projectwere Art teachers. Having introduced themto the core concepts of Development Global Citizenship Education in core lectures,and having engaged them in dialogical learning withguest lecturers from both the Galway One World Centre and Trocaire, we set outto work with the students to curate an exhibition at the Glucksman Art Gallery, UCC.Theexhibitionwas called ‘We Make the Road by Walking’–this has been captured in sound, radio and image at this website:
This art exhibitionis a journey through DGCE from the perspectives of Post-primary and Third level students and it showcases the creative work carried out by pupils in classrooms all across the Corkregion. To prepare for the exhibition we facilitated twoextra workshops with renowned professional curator Mr. John Rafftery and we also secured theprofessional expertise of Mr. Tadgh Crowley, senior curator with the Glucksman Gallery.In other years of ‘Id Est’ projects, we incorporatedDGCE into studentteachers’ ProfessionalResearch Papers; we facilitated students in assisting in, and running,a major DGCE conference at UCC (see http://representing-education.gertrudecotter.info/); and we enabled students to present and implement targeted DGCE lesson plans and incorporatethese into their ‘live’ teaching practice portfolios. All these projects are showcased on the ‘Id Est’ website: see www.idestucc.ie. One of our main challenges with such work has been to find space within the existing (very busy)core PME curriculum. To address this particular concern, our currentproject objective (2020-2021) is to pilot afull Development Global Citizenship Education module which wehave designed this year. Our hope is that a DGCE module will ultimately be developed and integrated as an optional/elective module in the PME. While we cannot guarantee this, our ‘Plan B’ is to develop a Certificate course for student teachers which they can take over two years (with 12 x two-hour classes in total and an assessment that requires the participants to plan, deliver and evaluate -from theoretical and practical perspectives -at least three DGCE lessons in their Post-primary school setting). We would like to acknowledge the incredible support we receive from our colleagues in Ubuntuwho represent most of the Third Level institutions in the country. Regular sharing of support,and dialogues around constant challenges and creative good practices, has added greatly to the success of our ‘IdEst’project. The Ubuntu Network is a constant source of support, as is the Journal Development Education Policy and Practicewherein we often present and disseminate ourwork to the wider scholarly community.