Marco Rieckmann

Emancipatory and transformative Global Citizenship Education in formal and informal settings: Empowering learners to change structures


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This paper examines the vignettes from the perspective of Global Citizenship Education (GCE), with a particular focus on emancipatory and transformative learning in formal and informal settings. Taking reflection on the learning experiences and processes described in the vignettes as a basis, it develops and discusses five theses. This discussion helps to clarify what GCE is, where it is successful, where it fails, and how it should develop. While this paper acknowledges the relevance of incidental learning for GCE – and thus the bottom-up, emic approach that is the focus of this special issue, analysis of the experiences presented in the vignettes shows that incidental learning is not a simple matter where GCE is concerned. It can also lead to outcomes that are not in the spirit of GCE, and may even run counter to it. Learning environments should be structured in such a way as to facilitate the development of global citizenship competencies, create a sense of belonging and solidarity, and enable students to reflect critically on power structures and contribute to the transformation of those structures. Teachers can contribute to this by deploying emancipatory, transformative pedagogies in the classroom but also by creating opportunities for incidental learning in line with GCE or by addressing the outcomes of incidental learning in the classroom and making it amenable to reflection. Teachers need appropriate (GCE) competencies to enable them both to deploy emancipatory, transformative pedagogies and to support incidental learning.