Teachers' Perspectives on Gong's Civic Education: Enhancing Our Understanding of Politics and Media
What does it mean to be a citizen of the European Union?
How do we actively participate in democratic societies?
Why is it important to be media literate and understand new trends in communication?
About 30 teachers from various regions of Croatia took part in 2023 civic literacy training, which entails three modules - political, EU, and media literacy. Gong organizes this education for teachers seeking to enhance their knowledge and share it with their colleagues and students.
Participants explored critical political terms and processes and the role of national institutions and decision-making mechanisms through various methods of non-formal education such as individual work, work in pairs, group work, presentation, and discussion.
In media literacy education, they examined the vital role of media in the contemporary political process, critically questioning messages presented to them in the press and on social networks.
As Croatia is a member of the European Union, the EU literacy module familiarizes teachers with European institutions and approaches aiming to involve citizens into decision-making processes at the EU level.
A history teacher from XIII. Gymnasium Zagreb Frane Marić participated in political and media education as he wanted to impart new knowledge to his students.
"I aim to connect historical concepts and bring them up to date in my lessons. Additionally, I want to enable students to see examples from both past and present, illustrating how politicians and various groups manipulate data or disseminate disinformation," he explained.
This education is also crucial for him as a parent, considering that his children spend a significant amount of time on the internet and may choose information non-selectively.
"I want to share this knowledge with my children because they will influence my pension and future. Thus, I want them to make political choices based on their own will, not simply because someone told them so", Marić emphasized.
Emira Miščančuk, a sociology professor at the Gymnasium ''Matija Mesić" in Slavonski Brod and the leader of the county expert council of politics, economics, and sociology teachers, actively participated in several of Gong's educational programs.
"As a leader of the county expert council, I can disseminate the new knowledge acquired from Gong's education to my colleagues and keep them informed about various trends in media literacy'', she said.
Her particular interest was the session on artificial intelligence and the challenges that new tools can pose to both the media and the education system.
"I strongly believe that teachers from STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) should play a more active role in civic education because it is crucial for them to understand not only what is technologically feasible, but also what is morally acceptable.
Diana Negovetić, a religion teacher at the First Croatian Gymnasium in Rijeka, participated in media education and underscored the importance of professional development for teachers.
"These programs provide an opportunity for reflection, allowing us to assess our current level of knowledge and to address certain issues more seriously," she noted.
Gong, along with its employees and associates, has been organizing civil education for over a decade.
In 2023, this program received support from the National Foundation for Civil Society Development and the European Union within the framework of Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values program (CERV).
If you wish to participate in Gong's education in the field of media, political, or EU literacy, you can apply at the link: https://forms.gle/t35d9ZCqoKxR25UX9