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European Commission Grant

Introduction

IMC Weekendschool and ToekomstATELIERdelAvenir (TADA) are two nonprofit organizations, pursuing inclusion by improving the prospects of disadvantaged teenagers with the help of actors in society. Dutch

Foundation IMC Weekendschool (since ‘98) and Belgian TADA (since ’12) develop and implement educational programmes. By now, IMC & TADA’s weekend schools are empowering over 4,634 teens and their families. Both are legally and financially independent, but there is intense cooperation.

Our programs empower teens to fully participate as motivated, critical, and tolerant citizens and give them the skills to make our society more inclusive by encouraging dialogue and mutual understanding with other target groups. Intense, structural parascolar coaching aims to increase resilience, future perspectives and rights awareness.

Through a 3-year trajectory, professionals (volunteers) introduce teens to a wide range of topics, including journalism, politics and law but also train them in presentation, research, debate and conflict resolution, all in a safe, stimulating environment. Attention is paid to topics such as identity, democracy, fake news, racism, xenophobia and the importance of dialogue.

In total, almost 55,000 guest teachers have connected with disadvantaged teens over their passion. These intercultural and intergenerational encounters increase awareness about the impact of negative stereotypes, create a better mutual understanding and improve the dialogue amongst people who wouldn’t normally meet, thereby also countering the current rise of anti-Muslim racism in Europe.

 

Collaboration

The grant given by the EU has enabled us to strengthen our educational programs on racism and intolerance by intensifying our cooperation and knowledge exchange. The trans-national collaboration between IMC & TADA for 21-22 is aimed at sharing knowledge with other European actors on working with Muslim youth and activating citizens.

In the collaboration we have learned that sharing knowledge is of vital importance. We have adapted best practises from one onother such as programs that we could encoperate, data collection, new ideas on trainings and activities and strategic plans. Hereby we our best practise that we would like to share with all European organisations with simular goals.

 

Best Practise

Ever since the foundation of the IMC Weekendschool Foundation, citizenship has been central to the concept. This is reflected in the structure of the curriculum and the choice of guest teachers, but also in the way students are approached. For three years, they are challenged to discover the world and themselves, to become acquainted with various fields and to make choices for the future based on their own talents and interests. However, that path to the ideal job and place in society does not take place in a vacuum, but in a complex society with clashing values and unwritten rules. Being an involved and responsible citizen is not something you learn from books, but by constantly working on it. What does this look like in weekend school practice? How do we work on connecting different groups in society, combating discrimination and promoting active and critical citizenship?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Encounter 

IMC Weekend School is characterised by encounter. For three years, students get to meet a different, inspiring guest teacher every week. But the heterogeneous composition of the classes and the social

approach of the education also lead to encounters and connections in Dutch society. In this way, the IMC Weekend School not only works on the individual identity development of the pupils, but also actively promotes cohesion in society. The IMC Weekendschool’s enthusiastic guest teachers take pupils totally into the world of their subject. During the lessons, much attention is paid to the person behind the profession; who is the guest teacher, what choices has he or she made and what road has he or she travelled? These personal conversations take place in an informal and safe setting, and are the first step for young people to build their own network. In addition, these encounters between pupils and guest lecturers dismantle prejudices on both sides. After all, someone who initially looks boring to pupils can turn out to be the most inspiring guest teacher. And vice versa, guest teachers are often amazed by the motivation, curiosity and hospitality of these pupils from ‘difficult neighbourhoods’. Such a Sunday is an enrichment for all involved, with a lot of fun being had and horizons being broadened.

 

Working on competences

The weekend school exists because school and home are not always enough to prepare young people for their role in society. At IMC Weekendschool eight competences are central, which are implicitly and explicitly brought to the fore in the lessons and which are practised regularly. These are skills which help pupils to become self-confident citizens who actively participate in society and politics. They are the skills you need to be a neighbour, a friend, a volunteer and, above all, a citizen. Throughout the lessons and linked to the lesson content, these competences are practised. Pupils are encouraged to express their opinions within a safe setting. In discussions and debates about social issues, pupils work on competences such as ’talking to each other’ and ‘being aware of yourself and others’, practising listening to each other and postponing judgment.  Pupils have to work with each other often and in various formations to work on the competence ‘cooperation’ and practice ‘exercising influence’ by expressing their opinion and coming up with ideas.

 

Curriculum

The weekend school curriculum introduces pupils to issues of identity and participation. Many locations choose to pay specific attention to citizenship issues in the curriculum through subjects such as Dutch Studies, Politics, Philosophy (especially Ethics), Law and Social Sciences. Other subjects in the curriculum deal with social issues, such as Entrepreneurship, how can we do business in a social and sustainable way, Care and Welfare, how can we stand up for the vulnerable in society, and Journalism, how do we, as citizens, look critically at the news on offer? The subjects of the weekend school allow students to look at society in a constructive and critical way, participating in activities that can change the world and making an independent contribution to society. The young people are also taught various conversation techniques. With each other and with the guest teachers they learn to question each other and the content, and they enter into dialogue and debate.

 

 

 

Pedagogical climate

Many of our pupils suffer from negative stereotyping because of their background,

which can affect their self-image and self-confidence. With our education we want to break through this by offering a safe and stimulating environment in which pupils can get to know themselves better and can experiment with their role in society. We work on a safe and inclusive climate by being aware of our own privileges and prejudices and how this can (unconsciously) affect our dealings with young people. We are alert to the language we use and point this out to guest teachers as well, for example by not using the words ‘disadvantaged neighbourhood or situation’, ‘poor children’. We pay attention to the content, what kind of images we show and strive for a diverse range of guest teachers so that all students can regularly identify with the person in front of the class. During the lessons, any form of racism or discrimination is dealt with immediately. Clear agreements are made with the pupils about how we treat each other. Students, guest teachers and colleagues are addressed when remarks are inappropriate or contribute to any form of discrimination. We work on a stimulating environment by complimenting pupils from the growth mindset, giving them confidence and communicating high expectations to the pupils. Encouraging them but also giving them the support they need. Finally, we challenge them to come up with ideas and initiatives themselves so that their sense of control and autonomy is increased.

 

Dutch as a citizenship subject

From the 2018-2019 school year, there is a new subject on the curriculum of the IMC Weekend Schools: Dutch Studies. In this subject, pupils explore what it means to be Dutch. Pupils reflect on their own identity, talk to each other and other Dutch people about Dutch society and think about how they want to make the Netherlands more beautiful and inclusive, for newcomers and also for everyone who lives here. During the course, pupils work towards a concrete end product, a guidebook, advice for politicians or an exhibition. Gradually, pupils become acquainted with professions that deal with culture, identity and our society.  Dutch Studies gives pupils the opportunity to work on two challenging competences: being aware of yourself and others, and exerting influence. By comparing and analysing cultures, pupils gain more awareness and understanding of their own and other cultures. Pupils also practice exercising influence. They have to make reasoned choices for the information they are going to convey during the subject Dutch History, and they add new ideas and stories to the existing canon of the Netherlands. In this way, they see that culture is not static, but that they can influence it.

Childpress video 

Please take a moment for this beautiful report by ChildPress.org about our students  from Amsterdam South-East and their plan’s for a better Holland. Presenting their plans as the ending of their ‘Dutch studies’ course. In this course the students visited the hart of the Dutch democracy The House of Representatives in The Hague. After a tour the students offer their plans to several politici like Fonda Sahla, Ingrid Michon-Derkzen, Jeanette Chedda and Raki Ap.

 

Do you want to know more?

Please feel free to contact us: info@weekendschool.nl 

 

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