In this special episode of Innovation Stories, you will find an interview with Martina Camatta and a showcase of the potential for transformative learning that lies in Global Citizenship Education, involving art or, more precisely, films. Martina Camatta (International Cooperation Centre - Trento) participated in the ‘Transformative Learning Journey’ by Bridge 47 and as a result developed a toolkit for working with films in education.
How did the idea of combining Global Education and art come about?
It would not have been possible without my participation in a ‘journey’ made together with wonderful people who have decided to reflect together on what the root causes of inequalities are. We have tried to understand and redefine the concepts of global education, global learning, global citizenship education and their relation to the Sustainable Development Goals, both as people and within the context of our daily job. My experience as a trainer was mainly related to the field of formal education, in particular the integration of global competences within school curricula. The Transformative Learning Journey group was made of different souls and the artistic background of some of them was a real source of inspiration for me. On my way back from the last meeting in Belgrade, a thought kept returning to me: “I have to start exploring the link between popular culture and global issues”.
What were the main pedagogical stimuli that you acquired during the Transformative Learning Journey?
First of all, the deep reflection on the dominant models of thinking. These models are reproduced in educational systems in different facets of our culture and this process is more evident in globalized societies. Linked to this reflection, one of the parts that excited me the most was Global Education as Transformative Learning. Transformative learning as part of Global Education aims at a deeper structural change in cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioral terms. This implies a radical change of perspective towards an education system based on environmental and social justice. Global Education must be critical of the dominant culture and at the same time provide an alternative vision. Transformative learning offers a way to move away from dominant thinking and to build an education capable of future.
How did you bring the learnings into your practice?
I felt the need to improve what my organization already does in the field of GCE and I wanted to apply the Theory of Change approach to explain ‘how’ and ‘why’ the strategy of using films as a pedagogical tool should produce the hoped-for change. The application of the Theory of Change allows for new possibilities to be explored, valuing critical thinking, confrontation and challenging the dominant models and ‘narratives’. As GCE strongly builds on using international resources, films promise the potential to communicate different perspectives and ideas well/better to a diverse audience, with their ability to give vivid testimony from different realities. The films selected for my work aim to generate discussions on moral dilemmas, to create unique opportunities to stimulate intellectual and moral growth. Discussions on moral dilemmas are a proven pedagogical method used by educators to promote personality development and moral reasoning. It is a form of interactive peer pedagogy in which the teacher facilitates classroom discussion of an open moral dilemma designed to stimulate students’ interaction and dialogue on how to solve the problem presented in the scenario.
In addition, promoting media literacy skills through critical analysis and dialogue helps students to become critical consumers of information. Teaching with films is a powerful method that allows students to increase their interest in the contents of the films, promotes students’ use of critical thinking skills, and engage students in meaningful discussions. Using films to stimulate discussions on global issues related to Agenda 2030 is a unique and exciting opportunity for moral and intellectual growth to educate global citizens.
Wish to learn more about Martina’s toolkit? Read on!
Films for Education and Change: A century of history, starting in...
1921. Cinematography is defined as the seventh art by Ricciotto Canudo, who foresaw that cinematography would unite the extension of space and the dimension of time. This art has gone through many changes, improvements, new genres have been created.
But there’s more to it: cinema has an educative role. We can explore new worlds, understand new points of view, interpret things in different ways. Our identities could be shaped, or at least significantly influenced, by images and sounds harmoniously mixed together.
1952. Trento Film Festival was founded. It is the oldest international film festival dedicated to mountains, adventure and exploration. Over the years, the Festival has focused on several topics, including environmental, cultural, and current issues. Thanks to this ongoing effort to bring mountains, mountainous environments and their unique experiences closer to humans, the Festival was the perfect partner for the development of the toolkit.
2015. What a year! Not only the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the United Nations, in the same year UNESCO published ‘Global Citizenship Education: Topics and learning objectives,‘ which is “the first pedagogical guidance from UNESCO on global citizenship education”, “in response to the needs of Member States for overall guidance on integrating global citizenship education in their education systems.”
2019. Trento Film Festival and the International Cooperation Centre (ICC), both based in Trento, decided to join skills, brains and creativity to develop an innovative toolkit, to educate, to raise awareness and to communicate the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
The toolkit, Tra Cinema e Natura, educazione all’immagine per la formazione allo sviluppo sostenibile (Between cinema and nature, image based education for sustainable development), is dedicated to teachers motivated to promote global sustainable development skills through films, with related activities and didactical proposals. In fact, as it is very clear that education plays a central role in the 2030 Agenda, reaching out to schools with new ways to engage pupils about sustainable issues sounded just right.
The toolkit has 18 chapters: the first one is a general introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals, allowing students to understand the overall picture. The other 17 chapters are each dedicated to one of the Goals. Each chapter suggests a documentary or a short, animated movie to watch. Each film has a dedicated section with various information, including: a summary, an analysis, the genre, the Sustainable Development Goal, and the educational objective. After this, reflective follow-up activities are suggested. Throughout the chapters, these activities include questionnaires aiming at improving one’s own thinking on day-to-day behaviors and choices. This is done in order to make learners understand the importance of their thoughts and actions, and that their thoughts and actions are relevant not only at the local level, but also at the global one.
Italian is not the only language of the kit - some related activities can be done also in English and German (Content and Language Integrated Learning). It is also possible to watch the audio-visual products proposed in their original language, with Italian subtitles provided, to help students in their learning process of foreign languages.
The toolkit serves as a guide for teachers interested in spreading awareness on sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as providing suggestions that could be used in a discretionary way, based on the different contexts of their classrooms. The educational approach used is based on the theory of transformative learning. The theory aims at developing skills that allows individuals to reflect on their actions, taking into consideration their current, and future, social, cultural, economic and environmental impact - both from local and global perspectives. And speaking about ‘global’, a specific section is dedicated to ‘The Global Teacher’. It encourages a reflection of the teachers, both on a professional and on a personal level. This might sound odd, but the idea is that being a global teacher not only means teaching lessons to students or a list of competences, but comprehends also a set of values, motivations, and beliefs. This is where one beloved vegetable comes handy: the onion! The onion model1 aims at helping teachers in their reflection, to understand and acknowledge where they are in that moment and what objectives they would like to reach.
“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”
- Sustainable Development Goal 4
The audio-visual product chosen to give a better understanding of this SDG is a documentary, ‘Agri and the mountain,’ filmed in Turkey by Hasan Serin. It shows the story of Rojda, a young girl living in a remote mountainous village in Turkey. It’s winter, the soil is covered in snow. To reach the school she’s attending, Rojda has to walk - and the path to school is even more perilous in this weather. But nature is not the only obstacle she has to face - family and society are other barriers.
Here, the educational objective is to spread awareness on the right to education and its accessibility. The related activities help students to think about what obstacles Rojda has to go through to go to school and furthermore to think about small details of their own everyday path to the school’s building (i.e. distance from home, what do they see during their trip, how do they get there, if they go alone or someone is with them, what obstacles they have to face, if any). The comparison between Rojda’s routine and theirs should allow students to reflect deeply on the different situations existing all over the world, and what the right to education means.
Sustainability needs... global competencies!
The lessons of this toolkit aim at developing global competencies, as identified by OCSE PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) and by UNESCO.
Martina Camatta is graduated in Philosophy and Education Sciences, this is her 15th year as trainer on global issues and her 10th year at International Cooperation Centre. She loves working with teachers and students and she believes that education provides effective solutions to global problems, thanks to the empowerment that comes with education.