Post 7: Berlin-Brandenburg

In my final post for the summer, I started my examination of citizenship education in Berlin-Brandenburg, and, once again, I chose this Länder for no particular reason. Though I did attempt to collect and examine materials from all the categories which I described in the last post, I simply ran out of time to do so.  As such, I only had time to examine the High-level Government Directives, Official Curricular Materials, the textbooks for the “Social Studies” curriculum and look at the examinations for Political Education, History, and Geography, which are the typical classes which address the topic of European Civics education. While it is not a complete examination of all available materials for Berlin-Brandenburg, it was close in the time available. Conveniently, since this project is becoming an Honors Thesis in the Government Department, once the semester starts, I will finish my examination of Berlin-Brandenburg, along with the other Länder of Germany.

As usual, there are several governing documents in Berlin-Brandenburg which direct the education of children. While there are the standard laws, which empower the agencies and government officials, the State Institute for School and Media for Berlin-Brandenburg has published its own materials on the direction of political education in the Länder. Notably, it includes directing statements such as “at school, democracy education is implemented in all subjects” with the purpose of “Democratic education in the classroom and within the context of school culture takes place in the context of own and shared experiences. The skills are developed to participate responsibly in social and political opinion-forming and decision-making processes, to negotiate one’s own intentions, to tolerate different interests and to find democratic solutions in conflicts.”[1] Interesting, this page, which tells us the meaning behind and general application of Civics education, then links to the Kultusministerkonferenz’s standards, laws and decisions as the primary governing documents of the Citizenship education in Berlin-Brandenburg. Specifically for European education, the decision of KMK Demokratie als Ziel, Gegenstand und Praxis historisch-politischer Bildung und Erziehung in der Schule (Democracy as a goal, object and practice of historical-political education in schools) acknowledges that good citizenship education in Germany is critical for “Germany’s active role in the European Union, in the Council of Europe and in the world community of the United Nations. Here, too, Germany has become known in conventions and declarations on human rights and explicitly on children’s rights, gender equality and inclusion”, indicating that this education regards student understanding of these interactions with the European Union and Germany’s place within it as critical.[2] Further, it specifically references the decision of the KMK European Education in school (9/6/1978), and comments that

“The European and international context also provides impetus for strengthening democracy at school. For example, the Council of Europe’s Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education (EDC / HRE) program, which has been in place since 1997, focuses on lived democracy. It is also an object in the European Education Strategy 2020. In the Global Education Agenda 2030, the United Nations is one with the concept of Global Citizenship Education dedicated to own subgoal.” [3]

In these high-level government documents, we see that Berlin-Brandenburg’s citizenship education promotes a European component and focus in the education of its students, due in large part to acknowledging the place that Germany holds in the European Union and the world.

The Curricular documents for teachers acknowledges this reality as well, making explicit references to its students living in a more globalized world, stating “The knowledge about professional perspectives and the living conditions in the European area expand the future scope for action of the learners and prepare them for a self-determined life in the political, social and economic space in Europe.”[4] As is usual with German citizenship education, the content is divided across several different disciplines including geography, history and a dedicated course of Social Studies. Interestingly, rather than dividing the curricula across several different documents, each dedicated for the class it is entitled for, the curricula for Berlin-Brandenburg is concentrated in one document entitled as Bildung und Erziehung in den Jahrgangsstufen 1 – 10 (the Frame Curriculum for Grades 1-10) and Fachübergreifende Kompetenzentwicklung (Interdisciplinary Competence Development), along with specific curricula for each subject. This arrangement allows for the clearest view of the cross-curricular nature of citizenship education in Berlin-Brandenburg, as the document specifically mentions how materials and content ought to be divided, with

“3.8 Europe in the world 9/10

(Lessons in the social science subject group)

In geography lessons, selected economic and natural areas of Europe are examined with the aim of illustrating the diversity of the continent as well as its position in the world. Using the example of Europe, the construction of spaces can be exemplified.

The history lesson complements the internal perspective on Europe by comparing a European and a non-European society and culture at a fall-in game. The aim is to work out the differences of the comparison partners at different historical times. This can be done using the example of historical dimensions such as rule, economy or culture.

In this subject area, the focus of teaching in the subject of political education is the examination of the European integration process and the politics of the European Union. The students discuss case studies of European politics, the finality of the EU and democratic opportunities for participation. The aim is also to thematize the multifaceted everyday world imprints of social life and the emergence of a European identity in the classroom.

The lesson is part of the European education in the school. In addition, the students develop important competencies within the framework of the overarching themes of Democracy Education, Intercultural Education and Education for the Acceptance of Diversity and Sustainable Development / Learning in Global Contexts.”[5]

Identical remarks are made in the dedicated Political Education curriculum (Politische Bildung Jahrgangsstufen 7 – 10) (see image)

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The citizenship textbooks, once again, often had specially dedicated sections to the European Union, particularly at higher academic levels. Higher academic levels once again means academic years 7-10, with increasingly complex topics being discussed towards grades 9 and 10. The textbooks followed this pattern, often having identical textbooks for years 7-8 and 9-10, with a few of the approved textbooks being useful for years 7-10. The content available in these books covers most expected content areas, which can perhaps be best shown with an example Table of Contents:

“Europe in the world ………………………………………. ………………… 341

EU: European Idea and Identity …………………………………….. …… 342

Europe – a continent of diversity …………………………………….. ……… 342

Method: Exploration / Topic: Europe in everyday life ………………………… 344

The EU in everyday life ………………………………………. …………………………….. 346

EU concrete – example regulations ……………………………………. 348

The States of the European Union ……………………………………… …… 350

The path of the European Union ……………………………………… ……….. 352

Purpose of the EU: State or Confederation? ………………….. 353

The Treaty of Lisbon ………………………………………. …………………. 354

Europe 2020 ………………………………………… ……………………………….. 356

Method: Thinking Hats / Topic: Europe 2020 ………………………………. 357

The enlargement of the European Union ………………………………….. 358

Should Turkey become a member of the EU? ………………………………… 359

Europe – a chance for the youth ……………………………………. ………. 360

The important thing in brief ………………………………………. …………………… 362

EU: Institutions, Policies, Participation …………………………….. 363

Method: Group Puzzle / Theme: EU Institutions ……………………… 363

The European Parliament ……………………………………….. …………….. 364

The European Commission ……………………………………….. …………… 366

The Council of the European Union (Council of Ministers) ……………………………… 367

The European Court of Justice ……………………………………….. …………… 368

The European Council ……………………………………….. ………………………. 369

Cooperation between the EU institutions ……………………………………… ………. 370

How an EU law is created – example: Genetic Engineering Regulation 371

European Internal Market ………………………………………… …………….. 372

The EURO – Europe’s currency ……………………………………… …………… 373

Refugees – a problem for Europe …………………………………….. …… 374

Immigration and asylum law ……………………………………….. ……… 376

Foreign and Security Policy of the EU …………………………………….. ….. 377

Participation: European Citizens’ Initiative ………………… 378

Participation: Petition to the European Parliament ………. 380

Method: Paper / Topic: Participation opportunities in the EU …. 381

The important things in brief ………………………………………. ………………… 382”[7]

Once again, topics include descriptions and information on the Institutions of the EU, the member states, European Integration, and the future of the EU. Once again (surprisingly, from my point of view), the textbooks include sections on current, very political issues for the EU, and offers both sides to most of the problems. It also, towards the end, illustrates how an average citizen can become involved in the EU and European Policy, and how these abilities may not be adequate. One final point of interest is that, unlike Baden-Württemberg or North Rhine-Westphalia, there was a book geared towards primary school in the approved textbook list. While it made little direct reference to the EU and did not have a dedicated EU section, the EU was tangentially mentioned, through initiatives and actions that the EU takes, notably the defense of children. This personally illustrates to me that children in the Länder are aware of the EU and know about it in a very general sense from what they learn at school, but real discussions about the institutions and functions of the EU do not occur until late secondary school.

Capture2

[8]

Capture3

[9]

Finally, the Central Exams also shed a bit of light onto what the Government ultimately wants the students to know at the end of their education. References to Europe are split across 3 different examination subjects: Political Education, Geography, and History. Interestingly, this Länder has advanced versions of each of these exams, with different topics and focuses as compared to the standard exams. The Political Education Exams, both standard and advanced, refer to the EU, but only the advanced exam requires students to be familiar with

  • “Decision-making processes and problems in the European Union
  • Institutions of the EU
  • Models and theories for the integration of member states”[10]

While the standard exam only tests on the EU in the business section,

“1.2.2 Focus: Business

Economic theory concepts and their implementation in Germany and in the European Union

– • Offer concepts

– • Demand concepts

Measures and instruments of national and European actors to end the financial and sovereign debt crisis in the European Union”[11]

 

Similarly, the EU only appears on the Advanced History Central Examination:

“1.2.3 Focus: conflict and conflict resolution since 1945. Cold War

  • Causes, Course, End of the Cold War
  • Crises and conflicts of the Cold War (Berlin crisis, Cuban missile crisis, “Prague Spring”, Vietnam war, arms race)
  • Arms control and detente policy
  • Europe on the way to unity: Europe’s ideas and concepts before 1945 as well as

Motives, objectives and stages of the unification of Europe since 1945”[12]

but the EU appears tangentially on all levels of the Geography Central Examination. This strangely points to a testing phenomenon that did not occur in other Länder in Germany, that the EU is a topic that only substantively appears on more Advanced examinations in Berlin-Brandenburg and is not a typical topic for many students. This then leads to the question, are average students studying as much on the European Union, with the knowledge that it may not appear on the Examination? I somehow doubt it, but I haven’t any information to back that up.

 

 

[1] “Demokratiebildung.” Bildungsserver Berlin-Brandenburg. Accessed July 19, 2019. https://bildungsserver.berlin-brandenburg.de/rlp-online/b-fachuebergreifende-kompetenzentwicklung/demokratiebildung/.

[2] Germany. KultusMinisterKonferenz. Demokratie Als Ziel, Gegenstand Und Praxis Historisch-politischer Bildung Und Erziehung in Der Schule. 11.10.2018. Berlin: KultusMinisterKonferenz, 2018. https://www.kmk.org/fileadmin/Dateien/pdf/PresseUndAktuelles/2018/Beschluss_Demokratieerziehung.pdf.

[3] IBID

[4] Berlin-Brandenburg. Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport Land Brandenburg. State Institute for Schools and Media Berlin-Brandenburg. Teil A Bildung Und Erziehung in Den Jahrgangsstufen 1 – 10. Berlin: State Institute for Schools and Media Berlin-Brandenburg, 2018. Accessed July 19, 2019. https://bildungsserver.berlin-brandenburg.de/fileadmin/bbb/unterricht/rahmenlehrplaene/Rahmenlehrplanprojekt/amtliche_Fassung/Teil_A_2015_11_16web.pdf.

[5] Berlin-Brandenburg. Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport Land Brandenburg. State Institute for Schools and Media Berlin-Brandenburg. Teil C: Geografie: Jahrgangsstufen 7 – 10. Berlin: State Institute for Schools and Media Berlin-Brandenburg, 2018. Accessed July 19, 2019. https://bildungsserver.berlin-brandenburg.de/fileadmin/bbb/unterricht/rahmenlehrplaene/Rahmenlehrplanprojekt/amtliche_Fassung/Teil_C_Geografie_2015_11_10_WEB.pdf. P. 29.

[6]  Berlin-Brandenburg. Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport Land Brandenburg. State Institute for Schools and Media Berlin-Brandenburg. Teil C: Politische Bildung: Jahrgangsstufen 7 – 10. Berlin: State Institute for Schools and Media Berlin-Brandenburg, 2018. Accessed July 19, 2019. https://bildungsserver.berlin-brandenburg.de/fileadmin/bbb/unterricht/rahmenlehrplaene/Rahmenlehrplanprojekt/amtliche_Fassung/Teil_C_Politische_Bildung_2015_11_16_web.pdf. P. 31.

[7] Deiseroth, Dieter, and Heinz-Ulrich Wolf. Demokratie Heute – Politische Bildung. Braunschweig: Schroedel, Westermann, 2017. ISBN: 978-3-507-11151-6. P. 10.

[8] Herzig, Karin, and Wolfgang Mattes. Politik Erleben: Sozialkunde, Politische Bildung. Paderborn: Schöningh, Westermann, 2017. ISBN: 978-3-14-023836-6. P. 302-303.

[9] Herzig, Karin, and Wolfgang Mattes. Politik Erleben: Sozialkunde, Politische Bildung. Paderborn: Schöningh, Westermann, 2017. ISBN: 978-3-14-023836-6. P. 310.

[10]  Berlin-Brandenburg. Ministerium Für Bildung, Jugend Und Sport. Hinweise Zur Vorbereitung Auf Die Abiturprüfung 2021 Prüfungsschwerpunkte Politische Bildung.Accessed July 19, 2019. https://bildungsserver.berlin-brandenburg.de/fileadmin/bbb/unterricht/pruefungen/abitur_bb/RS_ZA_2021/PS_Politische_Bildung_LK_2021.pdf. P.2.

[11] Berlin-Brandenburg. Ministerium Für Bildung, Jugend Und Sport. Hinweise Zur Vorbereitung Auf Die Abiturprüfung 2020: Prüfungsschwerpunkte Politische Bildung.Accessed July 19, 2019. https://bildungsserver.berlin-brandenburg.de/fileadmin/bbb/unterricht/pruefungen/abitur_bb/RS_ZA_2020/PS_PB_2020.pdf. p.3.

[12] Berlin-Brandenburg. Ministerium Für Bildung, Jugend Und Sport. Hinweise Zur Vorbereitung Auf Die Abiturprüfung 2021: Prüfungsschwerpunkte Geschichte.Accessed July 19, 2019. https://bildungsserver.berlin-brandenburg.de/fileadmin/bbb/unterricht/pruefungen/abitur_bb/RS_ZA_2021/PS_Geschichte_LK_2021.pdf. P.2.