There are no pre-requisites for this course, but students must submit an application in order to be considered for admission. Selection will be based on the strength of students’ applications, and with an eye toward achieving a balance in the classroom between Dutch speakers and Dutch learners (as this is necessary for the volunteer teams). Applications are due by Friday, December 21. Download the form for further instructions.
As part of LUC’s Global Citizenship curriculum, the Community Project examines the broad question of what it means to live responsibly in a heterogeneous society beset by various forms of social inequality. Together, we engage this question in a very concrete way, right here in our own local community—using education as our lens.
As a “service-learning” course, the Community Project combines the academic study of education in a multicultural society with the hands-on experience working with pupils a local secondary school. It core purpose is to give LUC students an opportunity to apply scholarly knowledge and theoretical concepts about education in a practical, meaningful way that serves a real community need. It is a demanding course, but it is also a rewarding one. It will get you out of the LUC bubble and into the city of The Hague. And it will prompt you to think in new ways about the relationship between schools and society, and about the lived experiences of teachers and students in the city of The Hague.
Overall, this course will help you develop 1) content knowledge about the history and contemporary politics of education in the Netherlands, and 2) practical skills in tutoring.
Successful completion of the Community Project should enable students to:
speak in an informed way about the ways that religion, migration, class formation, and gender and sexuality have shaped both citizenship debates and education practices in the Netherlands;
reflect in a critical, self-aware manner upon their own beliefs related to education and citizenship, and empathetically engage with people who may hold different beliefs;
apply theoretical concepts about democratic education and critical pedagogy to lived experiences in secondary schools in The Hague;
develop a willingness and an ability to step out of their “comfort zone” in order to teach and learn from people from a wide range of backgrounds;
improve their written and oral argumentation skills.
Once available, timetables will be published here.
Mode of instruction
The Community Project will help you develop your skills in teaching and working with youth. It will also provide a broad, interdisciplinary introduction to the field of education studies. It is not, however, a teacher preparation programme in the strict sense. Nor does it offer an exhaustive exploration of all aspects of education systems (although students have considerable freedom in the topics they select for their final research papers).
Instead, the Community Project focuses squarely on the challenge of education in a multicultural society. We’ll ask a lot of big questions. What is the purpose of education, anyway? If we place value on equal opportunity and social mobility—and on the “conscious social reproduction of society,” to borrow the words of one liberal theorist—how can we achieve this? How have different thinkers answered this question? And how have the histories of religion, migration, and economic inequality shaped the way education has actually been carried out in the Netherlands? How do education policies vary across different countries—and to what effect? And how can teachers serve the needs of all children—no matter their ability, native language, ethnic background, family income, gender, sexual orientation, or the educational level or national origin of their parents?
In our search for answers, we will read works of philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology, and pedagogy. We will watch films and read journalism covering the topics of education, migration, and the “multiculturele samenleving.” And we will speak to practitioners in the field of education: teachers, school leaders, policy makers, teacher trainers.
But that is only the “academic” side of the course. Over the course of the semester, students will work 3-4 hours per week as tutors in a local school. Most will be working with adolescents from an immigrant background—many of whom have been in the Netherlands for less than one year. The purpose of this tutoring is to help pupils (ages ranging from 13 to 17) to develop their speaking skills in Dutch and English.
In practice, however, the activities LUC students designed to activate speech will also activate creativity, debate, and other tools of civic engagement. LUC students can expect to discuss a whole range of topics with their tutees: everything from art and music, to local and world politics, to academics and career ambitions, to gender roles. They can also expect to learn as much from their tutoring experiences as they do from course readings and discussions.
Active class participation. (15%)
Weekly, informal reflection papers of ~400-500 words each (submitted as a portfolio at the end of the course). (20%)
A short, formal essay of ~1500 words. (25%)
A longer, formal research essay of ~3500. (40%)
There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.
All readings will be made available via Blackboard.
This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact email@example.com.