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Science Education

"Science does not seek to prove anything: “scientific proof ” is one of the great myths of our age. Rather, science tries to home in on an ever-more accurate picture of nature by proposing new ideas about it and eliminating false ones. Science is a process, a process that will continue to modify and refine our ideas about the world for as long as human beings will exist on Earth. "Ian Tattersall, head of the Division of Anthropology of the American Museum of Natural History in New York and professor of Anthropology at Columbia University.

The choice of developing scientific projects rests on the background of Controvento’s educators and on a pedagogical reflection. Science education has the potential to play a crucial role, taking shape as one of the methodological tools that make possible an active and critical approach to the analysis of reality and the building of knowledge. In addition, because of its close relationship with the issues debated by civil society, it is the keystone in the management of one of the most relevant of the modern crises: the environmental crisis.

Controvento’s science education projects develop an experimental and trans-disciplinary approach, targeting children, teenagers or young people.

 During the workshops, which can be either one off or structured into an educational path, the role of Controvento’s educators is primarily to facilitate and mediate. They, while offering a qualified point of view, are mainly creators of contexts in which participants learn through experience and discussion. Educators therefore encourage participation of the students, upon whom they place trust with the aim of supporting participation and autonomy and facilitate the building of a knowledge that is verified, debated and shared.

Science education projects can take the form of educational workshops on experimental sciences (projects "Apprentice Scientists", "Better to ask good questions than to maintain bad convictions", "School in nature"), workshops of ideas (projects "I Citizen in Transition", "Science in a Suitcase" and "The Sense of Doing Science") and meetings with researchers (projects "At school in a Genetics Lab", "Young European within the Building of the Knowledge-based Society" and "The Adventure of Science").

Controvento also organizes training courses dedicated to the experimental sciences education aimed at teachers, educators and science animators.





Citizenship education

Since 2008, Controvento has carried out, both at a European and a local level, numerous tests in the frame of education for sustainable development and youth civic participation. This has enabled its educators to identify and collect, in a systematic way, some of the training needs perceived by young people. What emerged is a picture in which a strong sense of loneliness percolates the world of youth in a time that deals with global challenges such as the current environmental, economic and social crises, to which the adult world is still often disoriented. To this perception of isolation and neglect, a strong feeling of helplessness is associated. This is shown by the difficulty to both read the present and to interpret retrospectively past events. Students complain of a shortage of tools for interpreting the actuality and a lack of autonomy and critical spirit, essential conditions to be able to process information, to form an opinion and act, transforming the reality: "we live in this world, but we do not have the tools neither to understand nor change it.". The young people who were surveyed ask adults to provide them, from the very beginning of their education, methodological tools for "learning to learn" and not only disciplinary, but also civic and social skills "to make current events comprehensible, to be able to take possession of our rights and our duties and to act. "

In this scenario, citizenship education has the potential to promote in younger generations critical thinking on the needs of society and on their role within it, their potential and their ideas for improving the community they belong to.

The Controvento’s citizenship education projects are carried out at a local or international level. The local project "My Neighborhood", "Biodiversity Keeper Schools" and the regional projects “We are Born to Walk", "Civic Cities", "Let's Change Gear", which Controvento performs in collaboration with the Municipality of Cesena, address children. On the other hand, the participatory processes "I Young Citizen in Europe", "Resilience cities" and other civic engagement projects, allowing young people to join relevant international events, involve young people. Among them, over the years, Controvento gave young people the opportunity to take part in:

  • 2nd World Science and Democracy Forum in Dakar
  • 6th World Water Forum in Marseille
  • EuroPie, the Youth Festi-Forum of Alternatives in Toulouse
  • 1st European Forum of Committed Youth in Poitiers
  • MedCOP 21 in Marseille
  • COP 21 in Paris
  • Summer University of International Solidarity and Social Movement in Besançon
  • Conference of Youth 12 and COP 22 in Marrakech
  • IUCN World Conference in Marseille

From 2017 to 2019, Controvento was engaged, together with the Department of Psychology - Cesena UOS of the University of Bologna, in the project "Being Human, Living Together", which was supported by the European Union's Erasmus+ Programme.




International projects

Each year, Controvento, with the support of EU Programmes and local institutions, offers hundreds of young people the opportunity to participate in learning experiences at an international level.

In 2008, it was the Italian coordinator of the participatory process "Young European Within the Building of the Knowledge-Based Society". Commissioned by the EU French Presidency, the project involved for seven months 300 young people from 24 European countries with the aim of developing recommendations addressed to the European Commission on how to build the European Knowledge Society. In 2011, it coordinated the participatory project "I Citizen in Transition: Foresight Exercises for Young Citizens and Local Administrators". From 2013 to 2016, it coordinated the projects "I Young Citizen in Europe" and "I Young Citizen in Europe 2: If I work, I learn, If I learn, I work", funded by the Youth in Action Programme (Action 4.6 Partnerships) of the European Union. From 2016 to 2017 it coordinated in Italy the Erasmus+ KA2 project "Youth committed with climate" and from 2017 to 2019 the Erasmus+ KA3 project "Being Human, Living Together".

In recent months, Controvento has trained around a hundred young people, who participated in:

  • MedCop 21 (Euro-Mediterranean KA1 project "Jeunes Engagés Autour du Climat")
  • COP 21 (Erasmus+ KA2 project "Youth Committed to Climate")
  • Summer University of International Solidarity (Erasmus+ project "Youth Committed to Climate")
  • COY 12 (Erasmus+ KA1 project " Jeunes Méditerranéens et Climat")
  • COP 22 (Erasmus+ KA1 project " Jeunes Méditerranéens et Climat")
  • IUCN World Congress Erasmus+ (KA1 project "Jeunes engagés pour la biodiversité")

In the frame of the European projects conducted, and often as the result of participatory processes, Controvento has supported informal groups of young people towards the building of international networks of committed young people: in 2011 the network EYES, Empowering Youth in a European Society, in 2015 the Euro-Mediterranean network JIEC, Jeunes Engagement et Initiatives pour le Climat and in 2019-2021 the Euro-Mediterranean network "Jeunes engagés pour la biodiversité". The accompaniment consists of training, fund raising and support in organizing Youth European events.

Moreover, since 2005, Controvento welcomes and trains young European educators active in the youth field. In 2016, two teams of young French science animators completed their training alongside Controvento educators thanks to the Erasmus+ project "Inspirations Européennes 2".

The common feature of all the projects mentioned above is their complexity. To be carried out, they required the creation of partnerships involving, not only Controvento and other non-formal education actors, but also universities, research centres and public administrations. These partnerships allow to integrate experiences, complementary skills and knowledge making possible to test new areas of work and improve the quality of the projects addressed to youth.

Today, Controvento is actively engaged in building international networks that promote the partnerships between non-formal educational organizations, universities and research institutions with the aim of experimenting new forms of collaboration and improve the quality of projects targeting young people.