Democracy and participation, Civic education

Tandemo - Battle of ideas

online debate tool for schools and communities

Creators

Who is behind this?

Monica Mocanu

Asociatia Mil Pasos Adelante

https://milpasos.ro/

Romania

Who is joining forces?

Fundatia Comunitara Valcea

https://fundatiacomunitaravalcea.ro/

Romania


Fundatia Comunitara Buzau

https://fundatiacomunitarabuzau.ro/

Romania


The project is located in Buzau and Valcea counties, where there are newly established community foundations and there are efforts directed towards community consultation and participation process.

Idea

Idea pitch

Tandemo proposes an online debate tool for raising awareness on sensitive subjects, creating dialogue and cooperation bridges in 6 schools from towns in South Romania.
Subjects are proposed and voted by the school community, users debate online on the internal platform, popular subjects become public "battles" between mixt teams (teachers&students), within the community. By co-creating the tool with the users, it becomes a consistent practice of argumentative speech and democratic behaviours.

Where will your project idea take place?

We aim to go in 6 different schools, in 6 small towns in Southern RO - Buzau and Valcea counties.

What is the local challenge?

The Ro educational system tends to give obedient alumni, prone to manipulation, lacking critical thinking and civic engagement, going for the quick-fixes. Small towns in the South are places where petty corruption and nepotism are embedded. The accent is on competition, rather than cooperation, as they try to access opportunities, to ensure bigger grades as a means to escape (to prestigious high schools or Uni abroad). Democratic behaviours and cooperation are not modeled in schools, 'cause schools focus on delivering instruction&on exams and teachers are not prepared to tackle this type of subjects themselves. As a society we need involvement in long transformative processes, real dialogue, resilience and cooperation to fight corruption. So, we propose debate and engaging the community.

How does your idea strengthen democracy and active citizenship at a local and community level?

The online debate model has 2 people opening (credible persons exposing the first arguments), the users vote and bring new ideas and arguments to the discussion. In the public events, the teams are mixt (students&teachers).
If democracy is a body and institutions are its organs, then debates and constructive dialogue between actors are the blood keeping it alive and healthy.
The majority of public debates are consultations by ministries - very formal. By using this tool & organising community events, we would make young people, teachers and parents talk about lenghty processes, help them see the value of debate and follow-up. By choosing relevant subjects (recycling, stray dogs, racism, blood donations, etc) we raise awareness, encourage participation and attract institutions and NGOs.

Who are you doing it for?

Our main beneficiaries are the students (a medium of 300 per school, age 12-18 and 20 teachers, approx 2000 direct beneficiaries). If we count their parents and siblings, the tool can be used by 4000 ppl for the internal debates and could reach other 2000 ppl with the events and public debates.
Indirect beneficiaries are the schools - mixt teams will show the benefits of participation and cooperation and transform the organisational culture. Parents and local companies and institutions can also benefit from a more engaged community on relevant subjects.
In some towns there are also debate clubs and we hope they will be drawn to use this tool in their school too.

How do you plan to get there?

1. Select the 6 schools and train 12 teachers as coordinators&moderators
2. Involve programmers, teachers&students in creating the MVP debate tool and its gamification part. Create pilot interactions, give feedback and improve the tool
3. Use the tool for debating internally (each school) in a system pro/against/neutral opinion on a subject voted by the school community, once/month. Opinions can be stated anonymously. The moderator supervises the civility of language. Train argumentative techniques, if needed
4. Organise public events with teams made by pupils&teachers, inviting parents, specialists, authorities, private companies, once/trimester
5. Evaluate the results with all the involved parties and replicate the model in other schools, with the help of trained students&teachers

What are the expected results?

- reaching 2000 students&teachers from 6 schools in small towns in RO and involve parents and the local community in debating on relevant topics
- create a tool that would help young people build solid arguments, using a fun and gamified approach to attract them; they could “battle in ideas” outside school too
- allowing timid voices to be heard; allowing students to express opinions on subjects where they are not typically consulted
- increase cooperation in the school community by creating a solid partnership between students, teachers and parents;
- creating 20 public “battles of ideas” and bringing opportunities for civil engagement in the community closer to schools
- training the community for accepting diverse opinions and for following the public consultations of institutions

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

"Citizens of free societies, democracies, do not preserve their freedom by pussyfooting around their fellow-citizen's opinions, even their most cherished beliefs. In free societies, you must have the free play of ideas. There must be argument, and it must be impassioned.", Salman Rushdie
Because debates at EU and local level are also formal and boring processes, kids are not keen to follow politics. Teachers are at the forefront of modelling democratic behaviours and attracting pupils towards EU values, so a tech tool that is dynamic, debates and events on topic that interest them could bring students closer to civic life.
The project promotes European values (solidarity, respect for human dignity and human rights). We address people with low civic involvement & high Euro scepticism.

What is your story?

Monica has been teaching a high school level for 25 yrs. She is preocupied by how the school offer is better now than 20 yrs ago, by how we train students for the future of work and for real life. She has initiated a tech application for teachers to have realtime feedback(teleskop.ro) and will soon launch a platform to connect schools with the dynamics of the community and real life(Tandemo). The debate tool is an extension of these two projects, encouraging even more collaboration and civic engagement.
Gabriela has always worked for creating and supporting communities. Through her work at the local CF she strives for re-creating the trust ties between different entities of the community. The debate tool would spark dialogue and create opportunities for actors to work together.

€ 48000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 55000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

- Technical development of the tool – 10000 EUR
- training the teachers as moderators - 3500 EUR
- awareness campaign (communication, promotional materials, mass media, website etc.) - 2500 EUR
- organising 19 events (1 launch and 3 open to public battle of ideas in each town) - 20000 EUR
- travel costs - 2000 EUR
- stationery and others 2000 EUR
- Personnel: 15000 EUR (2 part-time coordinators for one year; our contribution 7000)

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would like to know how feasible this idea seems to others and if there are similar initiatives in other regions. If there are lobbyists around, we need advice on how to advocate our model at the level of regional/national decision makers in order to reach more schools and public policies.

Team

tandemo

gabriela.solomon

Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

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