Multicultural secondary education
TWAS is currently participating in its first project focusing on high school education. The project – known as PERMIT (www.permitproject.eu) which stands for 'Promote Education and Reciprocal Understanding through Multicultural Integrated Teaching' – is being funded by the European Union and the government of Turkey, and includes partner organizations in three countries: Yıldız Technical University (Turkey), the University of Primorska (Slovenia) and the University of Venice Ca' Foscari (Italy). Each partner organization, including TWAS, has selected high school teachers to participate in the project. In the case of TWAS, four Turkish science teachers have been selected.
The aim of the project – which is overseen by a scientific committee that includes Çiğdem Kağıtçıbaşı (TWAS Fellow 2006) – is to assist teachers to develop lessons and modules that introduce multicultural principles into the students' regular classwork. Ece Avcı, a biology teacher from Koç Lisesi, Istanbul, selected by TWAS, for example, set her students the task of comparing the trends among young smokers in Turkey and the European Union and to devise anti-smoking posters based on the differences. Fikret Çiller, a physics teacher from Bahçeşehir Atatürk Lisesi, on the other hand, focused on renewable energy and had his students investigate national attitudes to conventional energy and renewable sources in different countries.
These were just two of the 'My Best Lessons' reported by the 24 participating teachers during a recent workshop held in Treviso near Venice (4-6 June 2009).
The PERMIT project will end with a conference in Istanbul in October 2009, where the participating teachers will be joined by other teachers they have trained in developing such 'exemplar material', as well as the members of the scientific committee and a number of the highschool students who have helped the teachers trial their innovative 'multicultural' lessons.