The Heart of the Citizenship Education and Revival of New Schools in Europe


  • Sandra Chistolini PhD, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy



reform, pedagogy, schools of method, values, education, great educators, memory, citizenship education, community schools


Our present time is characterised by many contradictions and the aspect of uncertainty indicates a sense of our deep loss of values. Education is the traditional space, in which generations create meanings and adults prefigure the future. Despite the idea of liquid modernity, which dominates our existence, we are convinced that we inherit meaningful testimonies of schools born in the spirit of the Reform from the pedagogic culture of the last two centuries. Schools, such as Dalton, Jena Plan, Decroly and Freinet, are still alive and bringing us a new message of citizenship education coherent with the impulse of their founders. Following our field study to investigate the reality of the Schools of Method in the areas of the Flanders and Brussels we were able to draw a solid concept of community. In the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we assume that the modern western culture reaches its task to convert the dispute into tolerance. Citizenship education wishes to overcome any separations and indicates the road to peace and harmony. It is not by chance that Reform Schools are now reaffirming the original impulse. They are transforming the contradictions of our postmodern society into the management of daily education. Headmasters and teachers are seriously opting for movement and variety of the curriculum against school stereotypes of the disciplines. Children become protagonists of the reformation, using the methodology of dialogue, development and discovery. Teachers and parents appear to be fundamental parts of the process, and learning democracy in school begins with the practice of a council of pupils: discussing, deciding, doing. The external world actively enters schools to shape life. History is composed of the biographies of senior citizens, mainly grandfathers, and languages are matter of pride for children from families with migrant backgrounds.


Benjamin, W. (1950). Berliner Kindheit um neunzehnhundert. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Benjamin, W. (1966). Angelus Novus: Ausgewählte Schriften 2. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Decroly, O. (1925). “La fonction de globalisation et l’enseignement”, Bulletin de la Société française de pédagogie.

Decroly, O. (1928). La pratique des tests mentaux. Paris: F. Alcan.

Ferracuti, M. (2008). Una “scintilla divina” dentro la postmodernità. Il Nodo. Scuole in rete, 33, April, 5-6.

Freinet, C. (1928). Plus de manuels scolaires: méthode vivante et rationnelle de travail scolaire par l'Imprimerie à l'école. Saint-Paul: Éditions de l'Imprimerie à l'école.

Freinet, C. (1967). Le journal scolaire. Cannes: Editions de l ' Ecole Moderne Francaise.

Hölderlin, F. (1915). Hymnen an die Ideale der Mennschheit. Leipzig: Insel.

Lyotard, J.-F. (1979). La condition postmoderne: rapport sur le savoir. Paris: Les editions de minuit.

Morel, N. (2013). A social investment strategy for the knowledge–based economy, Scuola democratica, 3: 631-650.

Pace, D. (2017). The Decoding the Disciplines Paradigm: Seven Steps to Increased Student Learning. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.

Parkhurst, H. (1922). Education on the Dalton plan. New York: E. P. Dutton & company.

Parkhurst, H. (1930). Beauty: an interpretation of art and the imaginative life. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.

Petersen, P. (1927). Der kleine Jena-plan. Weinheim: Beltz.

Petersen, P. (1931). Allgemeine Erziehungswissenschaft. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Warren, S. (2016) “Struggling for visibility in higher education: caught between neoliberalism ‘out there’ and ‘in here’-an autoethnographic account”, Journal of Education Policy, 32(2): 127-140 Online 1 November 2016




How to Cite

The Heart of the Citizenship Education and Revival of New Schools in Europe. (2023). European Journal of Education, 6(1), 45-51.