Professor R. H. Fryer´s keynote address on learning citizenship for the 21st century was inspiring, both within in an eTwinning context and in a wider scope.
“The future is not only here for the taking – it is here for the making”
Professor Fryer talked about risk society – the fact that the world we live in today is unpredictable and if you will scary – and what this sort of world demands of its citizens and of teaching and learning. Fryer stressed that in an uncertain world citizenship is not only about coping with or responding to the situation. It is about active engagement and about shaping the world. Therefor the real issue for eTwinning according to Fryer, is how do we make students the authors of society they live in today.
”Diversity can lead to a higher level of cohesion”
Fryer also talked about social movements, the voices these movements have given groups that have not had a voice before ¬- and the diversity that this results in. Fryer stressed that peoples’ attitude to “other”, the way we look at “other”, is of importance. He talked about the notion that diversity actually can lead to cohesion; that coming in contact with other ways of thinking, other sets of priorities and other ways of doing things actually can lead to a higher level of social cohesion.
“Giving the pupils a sense of themselves in a social world”
What kind of teachers does this new world of risk need? Professor Fryer left this question for the conference audience to think about.
Concerning the role of the teacher, Fryer emphasized the teacher as someone who draws out the potential in others. He also stressed the importance of giving the pupils a sense of themselves in a social world.