Last year the Council of Europe and EWC launched Signposts – The teacher training module. This year the work to promote the use of the module in teacher trainings is a priority. Several initiatives are underway, starting with EWC’s own project portfolio’s participants.
Recently, Angelos Valianatos, one of the authors of the module and long-term EWC expert, introduced Signposts to EWC project participants in a webinar.
Using relevant examples from media, such as the case of Ahmed Mohammad, Angelos showed how the module can be used. Mohammad was 14 year old American boy who was arrested when he brought a homemade clock to show it to his teacher, who mistakenly took it for a bomb. Through analysis and reflections of the stereotypes we might bring in our luggage, we might be able to confront them and become better, more inclusive educators.
“Regardless of the Religion Education system that Council of Europe member states might follow, issues related to all stakeholders’ religious beliefs occur. How can school communities confront misinformation, stereotypes and radicalisation that claims to deal with religion? Dealing with the religious dimension of intercultural education may offer sensitivity, methods and strategies on respecting human rights and promote democracy at school culture, Valianatos says.
In April the EWC’s Preparing Future Teachers in the Western Balkans will arrange a webinar to introduce the module to higher education institutions and universities in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, working on teacher education.
“The module addresses issues that are very present in the region and the proposed approach will help teachers to highlight problems associated with the “image of the others” in a region which is very mixed in the religious sense. Religious education is very much present in the region, but in some Western Balkan countries pupils do not have the possibility to learn about other religions than the most dominant one. The Signposts module might serve as ‘eye opener’ for many, says Bojana Dujkovic Blagojevic, EWC’s Regional project coordinator.
EWC is also exploring the possibilities to make a digital version of the module as part of the centre’s efforts to strengthen its work on online learning.