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“FOSTERING CITIZENSHIP COMPETENCES THROUGH MORAL DILEMMAS WORKSHOPS IN THE EFL CLASSROOM”

PAOLA AZUCENA ROJAS MURIEL

UNIVERSIDAD PEDAGÓGICA Y TECNOLÓGICA DE COLOMBIA FACULTAD DE EDUCACIÓN M.A. PROGRAM IN LANGUAGE TEACHING TUNJA

2008

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“FOSTERING CITIZENSHIP COMPETENCES THROUGH MORAL DILEMMAS WORKSHOPS IN THE EFL CLASSROOM”

BY

PAOLA AZUCENA ROJAS MURIEL

11122918

A study presented as a requirement to obtain the M.A. degree in Language Teaching. (With major in TEFL Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

DIRECTOR MARGARITA RUIZ ROCCA Magister en Investigación y Tecnología Educativa.

UNIVERSIDAD PEDAGÓGICA Y TECNOLÓGICA DE COLOMBIA FACULTAD DE EDUCACIÓN M.A. PROGRAM IN LANGUAGE TEACHING TUNJA

2008

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Tunja, febrero de 2007

NOTE OF ACCEPTANCE

Director

__________________________

Professor. Margarita Ruiz Rocca, M.A

Juror

___________________________

Professor.

Juror.

___________________________

Professor.

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AKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Agradecimiento dedicaciones

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INTRODUCTION

CONTENTS

Page

  • 1. THE STUDY ……………………………………………………………. 3

  • 1.1 THE PROBLEM

……………………………………………

..

3

  • 1.2 RATIONALE

……………………………………………………

..

7

  • 1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND OBJECTIVES

……………

..

10

  • 1.3.1 Main question

……………………………………. 11

  • 1.3.1.1 Related question ……………………………. 11

  • 1.3.2 Main objective ……………………………………. 11

    • 1.3.2.1 Specific objective …………………………….

11

2. LITERATURE REVIEW …………………………………………… 12

  • 2.1 RESEARCH ON CITIZENSHIP COMPETENCES ……. 12

  • 2.2 RESEARCH ABSTRACTS REVIEW …………………… 14

  • 2.3 MORAL DEVELOPMENT …………………………………… 17

  • 2.4 MORAL DILEMMAS …………………………………………… 24

    • 2.4.1 Konstanz method ……………………………………. 28

  • 2.5 CITIZENSHIP COMPETENCE ……………………………. 32

    • 2.5.1 Competence …………………………………………… 32

    • 2.5.2 Citizenship …………………………………………

...

33

  • 2.5.3 Citizenship Competence …………………………… 37

  • 3. RESEARCH DESIGN

…………………………………………………

...

42

  • 3.1 TYPE OF STUDY

…………………………………………

...

42

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  • 3.2 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY ……………………………

..

45

  • 3.2.1 Ethical considerations ……………………………

..

46

  • 3.3 SETTING AND POPULATION ……………………………

..

47

  • 3.3.1 Population

……………………………………………

..

48

  • 3.3.2 Participants ……………………………………………. 49

  • 3.4 INSTRUMENTS TO COLLECT DATA

……………………

..

51

  • 3.4.1 Surveys

……………………………………………. 52

  • 3.4.2 Semi structured interviews

……………………

..

54

  • 3.4.3 Reflective logs ……………………………………

..

55

  • 4. INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN

……………………………………………

..

59

  • 4.1 WORKSHOP DESIGN ……………………………………………

..

60

  • 4.2 DESCRIPTION OF THE PEDAGOGICAL PROCESS

……

...

61

  • 5. DATA ANALYSIS

……………………………………

..

……………

...

68

  • 5.1 FINDINGS

……………………………………………………

..

69

  • 5.1.1 Hatching out the egg people created around me…. 69

5.1.1.1 Evolving: from thinking to action

……… 83

  • 5.2 OUTLIERS

……………………………………………………

...

87

  • 6. CONCLUSIONS ……………………………………………………………

..

91

  • 7. PEDAGOGICAL IMPLICATIONS ……………………………………

...

96

  • 8. FURTHER RESEARCH

……………………………………………

...

97

  • 9. LIMITATIONS

……………………………………………………………

..

99

10. REFERENCES …………………………………………………………… 100 ..

ANNEXES

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Chart Nº 1 Abstracts Review

List of charts

Chart Nº 2. Kohlberg‟s Stages of Moral Development

Chart Nº 3. Summary of the Research Design.

Chart No 4. Moral Dilemmas Workshops

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  • 1. Permissions.

  • 2. Diagnosis data.

  • 3. Survey.

List of Annexes

  • 4. Workshops and reflections.

  • 5. Interviews.

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List of Figures

  • 1. Figure Nº 1. Moral development competence process through the moral dilemmas discussions.

  • 2. Figure Nº 2. Phases of the Konstanz Method Dilemmas Discussion in the workshops.

  • 3. Figure Nº 3 Core category “Hatching out the eggshell others made around

me”.

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FOSTERING CITIZENSHIP COMPETENCES THROUGH MORAL DILEMMAS WORKSHOPS IN THE EFL CLASSROOM.

Paola Rojas Muriel. M.A Candidate in Language Teaching.

Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia.

“Citizenship is not a course, but a learner way of living”

ABSTRACT

Richard Peters

This basic or generic qualitative research focuses on identify eleventh grader’s citizenship competences through moral dilemmas discussion workshops in a public school where students present some aggressive characteristics on their behavior when acting in their living together. The use of this pedagogical strategy lets students reflect on themselves and connect their daily experiences with their

learning process in an EFL classroom. This study also aims at promoting teachers’ awareness on their

function as agents of social change, and stimulating students’ active participation in their social responsibilities as citizens through reasoning, reflection and moral development where students’ needs,

experiences and context are the core of the teaching and learning processes. Data was provided by means of surveys, interviews and students’ reflective logs. Findings show two main concerns: 1) An EFL classroom might provide reflective spaces to foster moral development and citizenship competences to enable students’ capacities of solving problems looking for the community benefit 2) Moral dilemmas discussions workshops are a strategy through which students start the understanding and internalizing processes of their social responsibilities as citizens allowing them evolve from thinking to action. Thus learning and teaching language become meaningful processes within and outside the classroom.

Key Words: Moral Dilemmas, moral development, citizenship competence, social responsibility, social competences.

RESUMEN

Esta básica o generativa investigación cualitativa esta enfocada en identificar competencias ciudadanas en estudiantes de grado 11 a través de la discusión de dilemas morales en un colegio publico en donde los estudiantes presentan características agresivas en su comportamiento durante su convivencia. El uso de esta estrategia pedagogica permite a los estudiantes reflexionar y conectar their daily experiences con el proceso de aprendizaje en el salon de inglés como lengua extranjera. Este estudio tambien apunta a promover conciencia en los profesores en su funcion como agentes de cambio social y a estimular en los estudiantes su participación activa en las responsabilidades sociales como ciudadanos a través del razonamiento, la reflexión y el desarrollo moral donde las necesidades, experiencias y los contextos de los estudiantes son el centro del proceso de la enseñanza aprendizaje. Los datos fueron proveidos por medio de encuestas, entrevistas y carpetas reflexivas. Los resultados mostraron dos importantes intereses: 1) Un salon de clases de ingles como lengua extranjera podria proveer espacios de reflexion para promover desarroolo moral y competencias ciudadanas para estimular las capacidades de los estudiantes al resolver problemas buscando el beneficio de la comunidad. 2) Los talleres de discusiones de dilemas morales son una estrategia a través de los cuales los estudiantes empiezan procesos de comprensión e interiorización de sus responsabilidades como ciudadanos, permitiendoles evolucionar desde el pensamiento a la accion. Asi, aprender y ensenar una lengua se convierte en un proceso significativo dentro y fuera del colegio.

KEY WORDS: Competencias ciudadanas, dilemas morales, desarrollo moral, responabilidades sociales.

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INTRODUCTION

They may forget what you said, they may forget what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Anonymous

Teachers are considered agents of change, who are expected to educate

students in an integral way promoting social, cultural and moral values in our society

(Clavijo, 2001). When I obtained my job in Cerinza School, the idea “agent of change”

was in my head. My objective as a teacher was and continues being the generation of

transformative processes and the change of attitudes in my students, taking into account

their social context and, of course, the responsibilities they have as active members of

their communities.

The purpose of this research is to provide EFL students with opportunities to

foster their citizenship competences and writing skills, in order to promote moral

development when they live together in and outside the school, and to encourage them

in the improvement of their writing. Last purpose was carried out through the

development of six moral dilemmas discussions workshops, which let students make

connections among their needs, their own realities and their school as well as let them

become active participants in their contexts.

Citizenship competences consist of knowledge as well as cognitive, emotional

and communicative abilities, which make possible that a citizen acts constructively in a

democratic society. Right now, our country has in its menu violence and war as its main

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dishes; Cerinza region is not the exception. In this region, students seem to accept

situations about aggressiveness and violence as normal events. This is why the practice

of moral dilemmas discussion in the EFL classroom is an option for promoting moral and

social competences in order for students to change their attitudes and behavior in a

community where progress is hardly promoted.

The moral dilemmas discussions workshops let me explore about students‟ moral

development while I built connections among my teaching practices and my students

needs in the EFL classroom. Then teacher as a researcher planned six workshops

based in students‟ interests, context and

______.

In the same way, students‟ production

while developing the workshops becomes in an interest of exploration particularly in their

writing skills. The moral dilemmas discussions workshops were designed to involve

students‟ reflection and decision making through the connection made between their

realities and situations presented in daily life to foster their moral development and

through this the fostering of their citizenship competences as well as their writing skill.

Halliday (1982) expresses that language perform an important function in a social

being, Language is the main channel through a member learn to act as a member of a

society and to adopt their culture, way of thinking, beliefs and values. Then, language

becomes the vehicle for constructing their life. This study focuses on writing skill as the

vehicle of transmission in students life. Completer ojo

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Based on aforementioned concerns and the context where my teaching practice

is developed, the strategy of moral dilemmas discussions become in a way about

offering to my students a reflective space in an EFL classroom, where they can reflect

and express themselves taking into account their contexts and where they get

encourage to develop as constructive members of their society. Besides, this reflective

space turns out to be a motivating way to improve students‟ language skills in the

foreign language, particularly the writing one, through the interest of expressing their

ideas and participating in plenaries. Consequently, EFL students have the opportunity to

use language as a social mean for understanding their world and improving their acting

and living in the school.

The present document includes in chapter one the description of the problem, the

rationale that emphasizes the importance of this study, the research questions that

emerged from the problem and the objectives. Chapter two displays the constructs

which were the basis for this study. Chapter three contains the research design, the

description of the setting and population, the validity and reliability considerations and

procedures for data gathering. Chapter four describes the pedagogical intervention

implemented for this study. Chapter five presents the data analysis and the findings

which illustrate the core category and its subcategory that came into view from the data

and the conclusions. In the last part of this document, I addressed the importance of the

findings in the pedagogical field and introduce some ideas for further research.

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  • 1. THE STUDY

The classroom is one of the best laboratories to start inquiring about the teaching

and learning processes and the daily phenomena that might emerge during this study. It

was by exploring this laboratory that the current research materialized, took the form of a

problem, became worthy to be studied and solved. This chapter describes the origin for

the current research interest, poses the problem and discusses the importance of

devoting time, work and energy to study citizenship competences in an EFL classroom.

The questions and objectives that led the study are finally presented.

1.1 THE PROBLEM

What I have experienced in this classroom is a hostile environment where

knowledge is not constructed in terms of tolerance. Students replace their school duties

by their own wishes. To develop English class in such environment might become

difficult due to students‟ attitudes towards English; they reflect rejection, frustration and

most of the times students‟ lack of interest about learning English could be perceived.

To be a teacher at a public school has been probably one of my hardest

experiences during my teaching practice but at the same time it has been the greatest

opportunity to become a researcher. This environment provoked a process of reasoning

and reflection about the concepts I held on teacher, student, language teaching and

learning. I conceived a classroom as a place where a unidirectional relationship took

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place. There the teacher was the authority while students silently were destined to obey.

Clavijo helped me to reinforce my position, when she asserts to say that: “When

language teachers assume the last role, they become instructional actors in the

classroom scarifying students that are not provided with opportunities to pose problems

related with the conflicts they live beyond the school” (2001:36). In this way, Teaching

was a simple interchange of some commodities called information about a language, an

easy task to be accomplished in my classroom. Learning was, in a certain sense, a

response to the teacher‟s expectations. As a result, education became a process of

accumulating concepts, ideas and rules useful for answering good tests and for

repeating the information given.

The concept of being a receiver the student and a giver the teacher; and

therefore, the owner of knowledge, drove my decisions and my way of teaching. I was in

a classroom and my function was teaching, but this particular classroom was something

else; here the power of the teacher became weak, and English, just as a subject, lost its

value to be taught. Then, what to do? how to teach English? Who are my students?

These questions were the starting point for this research.

Reasoning moved me to think about the environment of the classroom. Students‟

aggressive behaviors, their idea of power determined by shouts and mistreatment and

the conviction that the community should compensate learners for being studying, were

three aspects under which the relationship inside the classroom took place. Context!

That was the first answer that comes into sight. Classroom is a community formed by

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social beings; as Freire says, it is the place where students and teachers bring their own

problems, their realities. English as a language should be the vehicle under which

dialoguing could be started and human relationships could occur to live in peace and to

belong to a social group. Therefore the real context should be considered at the time of

teaching. Well, this specific classroom did not need just grammar rules; it needed social

competences.

When touching the students as social beings, it is possible to comprehend their

rejection towards English learning. Students‟ ambitions are framed in having food and a

place to live, in order to obtain that, (as the students said) men only need to work as day

laborers taking care of cattle and sowing the ground, and women to marry someone who

provides them a place to live. In these terms, education does not provide students with

the necessary tools to read their worlds and to construct their own realities. Learning a

couple of rules and expressions in English would not help these students to be aware of

their function as members of a society. This way, motivation for learning a foreign

language was not enough, the last reason joined with the students‟ low self esteem on

their capacity for practicing a new language (memorizing new vocabulary, constructing

sentences and expressing their own ideas) let me face this problem and reason about

the self. The interaction into the classroom was how this research started.

The social phenomenon experienced in the classroom shows the necessity of

implementing a new teaching and language approach. Based on Vigotsky, Aguirre

(2004:10) argues that: “…social activity influences cognition through its instrument, its

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language, and its social institutions”. Rather than providing students with knowledge

about language, there is an urgency, in this particular setting, of allowing reasoning

among students to enable them to construct and reconstruct their worlds. This was the

exit point of my reflection, which got focused on the fostering of citizenship competences

through the moral dilemmas discussions as an alternative for improving the hostile

environment perceived in the English classroom and consequently encouraging

students‟ self esteem in their skills particularly the writing one. I was a teacher interested

in looking at the teaching process in terms of the instructional way, but I did not care

about the human being there was behind my students who learned a foreign language.

Then I understood that it was urgent to implement a strategy that permitted to my

students the development as a human being by developingusing their writing skill. In this

way, the fostering of citizenship competences became a valuable strategy to improve

the aggressive environment in my classroom.

1.2 RATIONALE

The concern of this study comes from my desire to understand my student‟s

behaviors and how English as a subject could support that interest, taking into account

students‟ needs and of course their contexts by means of the connections they can

make between their own realities and school. The original idea emerged from my

experience as a M.A candidate and as a language teacher. Then, based on the initiative

that education involves the development of people with responsibilities focused on their

communities, who, as members of a group, participate in the decisions that engage

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solutions to the problems emerged in their context, learning a language should not be

conceived as an isolated subject, but as an opportunity to encourage students‟ reflection

and to promote students‟ critical thinking and decision making; language becomes a

means for developing the individual as a person. Piaget cited in Salmon (2001), states

that students are not an empty vessel to be filled up with knowledge; they are human

beings who belong to a community.

Implementing the discussion of moral dilemmas to explore students‟ citizenship

competences in an English class might be worthy because it responds to:

1. Students‟ integral development that according to the General Law of Education in

Colombia is one of the main goals of it. (M.E.N. 1994. Art. 14). Students must be

formed within an integral system of social aspects, cultural background, ethics and

moral values in our society (Pineda, 2001). Thus, education has to do with the

development of individuals based on social responsibilities as members of a holistic

and integral education. With these polices, M.E.N. seek to encourage a

transformation of negative behaviors and attitudes of the Educational community into

positive ones, generating reflection and awareness about living in peace with others.

Thus, this study points to the idea about the developing of students‟ social

responsibilities which support them to change attitudes which favor the learning

process of the foreign language, in this particular context the writing skill.

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The planning of discussions of moral dilemmas workshops drew also a dynamic

relationship that should exists among the goal, the contents, the methodologies and the

strategies planned in the syllabus of English. Therefore, the learning of the foreign

language might become meaningful for students because it also fosters values and the

critical reading of the world.

2. Students‟ needs of becoming active participants of their own identity as social

beings. Through language, students might read their lives and participate in the

construction of their own reality. In doing so, moral development workshops upon

moral dilemmas discussions could offer students the opportunity to reflect upon their

world experiences while constructing or using knowledge effectively. Clavijo

(2001:32) claims for “…a redefinition of language as a way to create a more

participatory structure of curriculum”. So students might take their experiences from

inside of the classroom to the outside of it. This is why, the conception of language in

this study deals with the consideration that it goes beyond the mere act of

transferring knowledge and instructional guidelines. It deals with the consideration

that language is a vehicle for social communication.

The EFL curriculum entails the interaction of a group of people where each

person brings his/her own reality, „…a world in miniature, of the real world outside‟ Dubin

& Olshtain, (1986). In this interaction, the practice and the fostering of values is a

constant that should not be ignored, but engaged within the teaching learning

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experiences. This engagement could be possible through the development of reflection

and critical thinking since this could connect students‟ real needs.

  • 3. The human dimension of education. Dewey, quoted by Clavijo (2001), explains in great detail the impact of the school curriculum on the children‟s life. It is not just to develop a mental process, as Kohlberg (1971) expresses: It has to do with the influence that the students‟ context has on their moral development; “bringing about” the importance of its critical thinking and its relation with the dynamic process of language learning.

  • 4. It is well- known that Colombia is a country with a very high level of violence, and with issues like corruption and discrimination. Fostering citizenship competences in the EFL facilitates individuals the construction of their own citizenship. Students should learn how to read critically their realities, so that they will be able to make the best decisions for themselves and for the sake of their communities. The strategy of moral dilemmas could be a good one for developing this capacity. This could end up in students becoming productive individuals of the society.

This study attempts to foster citizenship competences in students by means of

reflecting and thinking critically upon the discussion of moral dilemmas taking into

account that despite knowing what moral values are all about, students at school do not

behave accordingly. This issue might be related to the fact that students in the

classroom are limited to the repetition of concepts and not to the practice in spaces

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where they can analyze the real and meaningful situations they have to face everyday,

consequently, English learning process is affected.

After having presented reasons about why fostering citizenship competences

through the development of moral dilemmas discussions, in the next section I will

present the research questions which lead this study.

5.3 . RESEARCH QUESTION AND OBJECTIVES

This part of the chapter presents specific information about the research question

that guided this study, as well as the objectives. Three approaches are addressed along

the questions. The first is a social approach by means of citizenship competence; the

second is a psychological one through moral development and the last one is a

pedagogical approach by way of moral dilemmas discussion as an innovative

intervention in this research to favoring the English learning process, in this case writing

skill.

1.3.1. Main question

The line of inquiry was always citizenship competences. The main question

refined during the process is:

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What do moral dilemmas workshops reveal about eleventh graders‟ citizenship

competences and their writing skill development at Colegio Nacionalizado de Cerinza?

1.3.1.1. Related question

What is the role of moral dilemmas discussions in the fostering of students‟ writing skill,

citizenship competences?

How does students‟ English oral and written production emerge from Reading Circles focused on moral

dilemmas discussions?

1.3.2. Main objective

To foster citizenship competences and writing skill through moral dilemmas

workshops, in order to promote moral development in eleventh graders when they live

together at Colegio Nacionalizado de Cerinza.

  • 1.3.2.1 Specific objective

To determine students‟ performance when exerting their Citizenship Competences while

discussing moral dilemmas.

To explore?

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2. LITERATURE REVIEW

“Citizenship is not a course, but a learner way of living”

Richard Peters

This chapter develops three parts related to the theoretical framework, the first

one presents moral development process, moral dilemmas discussions, and the base

method to develop the moral dilemmas discussions as part of the pedagogical strategy I

implemented to foster writing skills and citizenship competences . The second one refers

to do with a look over research and concepts on citizenship competences to give the

fundamentals of this study, and the last one refers to a critical perspective to contribute

to the development of students‟ English writing skills in the classroom. All together

become the foundations that support this research. The discussion about moral

development, its intervention in fostering citizenship competences and the role of moral

dilemmas discussions as a pedagogical strategy consider the concepts given by

Kohlberg (1971), Gómez (2005), Ruíz and Chaux (2005) and Lind (2003).

2.2 MORAL DEVELOPMENT

In order to become agents of change, teachers must take into account that

students are social beings who belong to a community and, consequently, are

responsible for their own society. Teachers then are also responsible for provoking

students‟ awareness of what means to be an active member of their society. Nowadays,

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most educational institutions have integrated in their vision the development of human

beings able to act properly within their social environment. And it is assumed that values

are the core for acting in a pertinent way. As values are addressed to behaviour exerted

in the daily life, it is necessary to comprehend that talking about values and their

practice has to do with moral development as a way to take advantage of students‟

knowledge of values.

M.E.N. states that it is also possible to develop morality in human beings; this is a

fundamental aspect in citizenship development. Moral development is understood as the

cognitive and emotional progress, which lets each individual make autonomous

decisions and do actions which reflect a major concern for the others and for the own

well.(2004:8).

Values are the core for the moral development even though, as Jaramillo says

(2004), it is difficult to talk about human beings and their values, it is necessary to keep

in mind that values guide our decisions making. Tierno (1996) expresses the idea of

that the total development of an individual in a particular society depends on the values

that people have. Then, it could be said that the positive development in any society

results from the effect of the values possessed by its members.

With the development of moral dilemmas discussions based on values, students

could break the paradigm of values not being developed in other places different from

home. Jaramillo (2004) in Al Tablero newspaper main page argues that many people

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think that citizenship, attitudes and relations with others are not measurable. It is

believed that nobody can penetrate the values field because they belong to each

individual; it belongs to the family and its members decide the values they like.

Therefore, if the school decides to evaluate them, a valued position would be imposed.

But, on the contrary, if anybody talks about values exerted to act, they become part of

the hidden curriculum. Each human relation implies values necessarily. The important

thing here is to show our way of relating to others, analyzing them and working in a

cooperative way.

Lemin‟s concept (1994) of values states that they “… are determined by the

beliefs we hold, and the idea someone or a community consider important. Values are

the foundation of our decision- making. We express our values in the way we think and

act”. In the classroom, students act when making decisions; therefore, it becomes a

space to interact to be critical and cooperative thinkers. The beliefs they bring from their

family formation are evident when they put into practice social values. At school students

might become more able to sustain those values. Nevertheless, it has been evidenced

by students‟ behavior that values are being replaced by anti-values, those values that

present facts that affect the community as benefits, unfortunately, are transforming this

world in a place where respect for life has been lost and intolerance has paved the road

to violence. Working with a pedagogy based on values at school is to educate humans

to appreciate the real price of things.

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While students develop discussions, and they take values as the base of their

thoughts, ideas and decisions in the classroom, they learn and put into practice rules for

developing discussions in a proper way, namely a discussion where situations as letting

others speak, accepting otherspoint of view and learning to listen to others could

become a way to make students internalize citizenship competences.

It is by fostering moral development in students that teachers can be effective

leaders in the formation of social beings able to make decisions favouring autonomy

and the living in peace with others. In agreement with the educational guideline of the

M.E.N, the curriculum of the educational institutions aims at fostering moral attitudes

and values which derive in moral judgment competence. It is important to consider here

the definition of moral judgment competence provided by Kohlberg referred as: "the

capacity to make decisions and judgments which are moral (i.e., based on internal

principles) and to act in accordance with such judgments (Kohlberg cited in Lind

2004:13). This capacity result from a process initiated in families and is reinforced

during schooling, which reaches a mature moral development state according to

Kohlberg (ibid.)

“…must do justice both a) to the moral principles to which one is committed, and b) to the very situation in which one experiences a moral

dilemma...

A moral judgment thus must both be highly consistent (in

regard to one's own moral principles), and differentiated (in regard to the

particular situation).

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LEVELS

STAGES

DEFINITIONS

Level 1.

Stage 1

The earliest stage of moral development is especially common in young children, but adults are capable of expressing this type of reasoning. At this stage, children see rules as fixed and absolute. Obeying the rules is

Obedience

and

important because it is a means to avoid punishment

Preconventional

Punishment

   

Morality

Stage 2

At this stage, children account for individual points of view and judge actions based on how they serve individual needs. In the Heinz dilemma, children

Individualism

argued that the best course of action was whichever best-served Heinz‟s needs. Reciprocity is possible, but only if it serves one's own interests

and Exchange

Level 2.

Stage 3

Often referred to as the "good boy-good girl" orientation, this stage is focused on living up to social expectations and roles. There is an emphasis

Interpersonal

on conformity, being "nice," and consideration of how choices influence relationships.

Conventional

Relationships

Morality

Stage 4

At this stage of moral development, people begin to consider society as a whole when making judgments. The focus is on maintaining law and order

Maintaining

by following the rules, doing one‟s duty, and respecting authority.

Social Order

Level 3.

Stage 5

At this stage, people begin to account for the differing values, opinions, and beliefs of other people. Rules of law are important for maintaining a society,

Social

Contract

but members of the society should agree upon these standards

and

Individual

Rights

Postconventional

Stage 6

Kohlberg‟s final level of moral reasoning is based upon universal ethical principles and abstract reasoning. At this stage, people follow these

Morality

Universal

internalized principles of justice, even if they conflict with laws and rules.

Principles

Chart Nº 2. Kohlberg‟s Stages of Moral Development

Moral development, as argued by Kohlberg, is given within six stages (see Chart

Nº 1). Each individual moves through these six stages when his/her capacity to apply

rational moral principles is progressively enhanced up to the highest stage of moral

development. Then, the attainment of moral autonomy is reached. In my classroom for

example, when students realize the presence of others he/she comprehends that his/her

opinions are not the only ones, it is evidenced that when discussing a moral dilemma, it

gives space to reflect about the others‟ ideas as more feasible than his/her own. At this

stage, the individual acknowledges the significance of universal ethical principles as a

basis for calculating a response, and s/he is informed by a sense of justice in any

29

situation, a student then learns to take into account others and could be possible they

can see themselves as the character of those situations. Thus, students learn from living

experiences in their contexts, and so, the learning process could be conceived as a

social activity.

Gómez (2005: 54), who supports the meaning of learning in this study, explains

that from a social perspective it is possible by means of an active participation in the

interpretative practices of the community, which has to do with an observation outside

the individual (context), followed by an inside observation (identity) to end with an

outside observation again. However, from a psychological perspective, learning takes

place inside the individual. The social perspective assumes learning from inside to the

outside of the individual, making learning a social practice where the individual is

responsible of the construction of his society. Focusing this general view of learning on

language, Halliday (1928) argues that it is the main channel through which the life

models are transmitted, le copio a maria… buscarlo en el mail de elizabeth

Hablar del aprendizaje de la lengua extranjera y por ende edel writing

Through the discussion of moral dilemmas students might take what they have

inside, their beliefs, ideas and decisions, confront them with their outside (their practices,

reading of values that society has underlined as essential) for making the decisions they

think are the most feasible. In this way, students construct meanings, create an identity

and implement practices to favor their communities. Then, the learning writing process

30

for this study is assumed, not only as a grammatical structure, but as a social practice

too.

Regarding Kohlberg‟s theory about moral development competence, Gómez

(2005:91) psychologist and sociologist, based on the political psychology research by

Gellatin and Adelson, 1960; Cornell, 1971; Ijzendoorn, 1980 cited by Seoane, 1988,

argues that Kohlberg‟s approach about the mental process, presents some incoherent

relation between the stages proposed and the social cognition theory. While Kohlberg‟s

theory aims that reasoning based on stages is conditioned to age, it is to say that an

individual could not reach the next stage at least the individual has reached in a logical

sequence the appropriate age. While Kohlberg concludes that “Hay un paralelísmo entre

el estadio lógico del individuo y su estadio moral” 1 .

Gómez argues that the context and the social development play an important role

in the moral development no matter the age; it means that this same individual could

reach the next stage if the social context offers him a situation that forces him to make a

decision, namely, “el que haya un razonamiento moral avanzado dependerá de que

haya un razonamiento lógico avanzado” (ibid.), in this way the social context is the

mechanism which help to advance the individual to the next stage. Finally, even the

stage determines the moral development in the cognitive processes, it is the social

context that make the moral development competence advanced.

1 Lawrence Kohlberg. (n.d. 72) Estadios Morales y Moralización. El Enfoque Cognitivo

Evolutivo.

31

For this study, the stages of moral development proposed by Kohlberg and the

social contexts by Gómez are taking into account as the foundations in the development

of reasoning for the moral development competence. This competence is then the result

from the moral dilemmas discussion which mixes both the cognitive-development and

the socio-cultural paradigms of moral development.

Considering the classroom as a dynamic community where human relations are

revealed, involving values that lead the proper behaviours to sustain this community, the

best known way to foster moral and democratic competencies is to provide proper

learning opportunities. Thus, this kind of learning can encourage students‟ self

confidence so they express freely their moral ideals and arguments and they also

respect others and their right to provide opinions. Such a learning opportunity is

provided by the teaching strategy of moral dilemma discussion, first suggested by Blatt

(1969) and his mentor Kohlberg (Blatt & Kohlberg, 1975), and later improved by Lind

(2005).

2.4. MORAL DILEMMAS

According to McPartland (2001:121) the cognitive-development approach in

moral education has been a dominant paradigm for the last 30 years. He claims that

moral dilemmas discussions are taken as a means for enhancing the capacity for moral

reasoning in young people. Wilson, cited in McPartland, argues that the use of such

dilemmas to promote moral reasoning in young people goes to the core of moral

32

education and to the nature and quality of moral reasoning shown by students when

responding to such dilemmas. McPartland agrees with Kohlberg‟s theory about moral

development based on moral stages and with Gómez about the importance of the social

context for fostering moral development saying that “The use of moral dilemmas in the

classroom, however, has to be considered in the context of two of the most important

approaches to the subject of moral education: the cognitive-development approach and

the socio-cultural approach.” when implementing moral dilemmas discussions strategy in

a Geography class.

With the strategy of moral dilemmas discussion, the teacher puts the student into

a semi-real dilemma situation and confronts him/her with a controversial discussion.

Discussions create emotions and social reactions which activate and develop students‟

moral and democratic competences. The confrontation with counter-arguments has

proved to be a very powerful stimulation for moral-cognitive development. In this sense,

EFL students might be able to listen to others` opinions, taking a position, and defending

their points of view in a democratic way. For example: a) to give (feasible) reasons for

defending their opinion on a moral issue or choice, b) to listen to opposing reasoning,

evaluate it and appreciate it; c) to deal with conflicts between group pressure and one‟s

own conscience, or d) to take the perspective of the actors in the dilemma story (the

decision maker and the people affected by him or her). This process facilitates the

application of students‟ moral reasoning skills, conflicts and issues which they face in

their daily lives.

33

A moral dilemma taken as a short story about a character who faces up a difficult

situation and who has to make a decision about the best and feasible option (Chaux, et

al, 2004:42) means to predict and reflect on the consequences of the decision as well as

on the consequences of an alternative decision. It would nurture students‟ ability to

make reasoned arguments and invite students to express their concern for human

rights. It implies that students have to evaluate them and select the best decision

according to their beliefs and needs. Here, there are not wrong or correct answers. This

view represents dilemma discussions as a pedagogical strategy where teacher

persuades students to produce conscious reflections while discussing, then a relation

among the activity and students‟ own beliefs and realities is established.

By means of moral dilemmas discussions; teacher who promotes interaction

among students to find some resolution to the dilemma, can create a learning

environment real enough to generate moral emotions and social pressure. By alternating

cycles of challenge and support, this method assures that the stimulation of moral

emotions and social tensions, it never points at where learning becomes impossible.

Kohlberg encouraged the use of moral dilemmas in the classroom, both as a means of

diagnosing the level of moral awareness in which a young person is functioning, and

also as a means of promoting a capacity for moral reasoning in young people, arguing

that by doing so, progress towards moral autonomy would be accelerated. The

dilemmas involve meaningful situations which could be present in students‟ daily life.

34

writing

For the purpose of this study, the process of moral development competence

through students‟ moral dilemmas discussions is shown in Figure No.1 where the

students‟ thinking and reflecting process are given within the discussion of moral

dilemmas inside the EFL classroom. This process is framed within the Cognitive-

evolutionary approach. This dynamic process (first set of circles) allows students to

reach a new level of morality: the decision making which originates the moral

development competence (second set of circles). Both the dynamic process and the

moral development competence are influenced by the social environment where

CONTEXT AND ENVIRONMENT students belong to. Escribir la parte del writing CONTEXT AND SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT STUDENTS’
CONTEXT AND ENVIRONMENT
students belong to. Escribir la parte del writing
CONTEXT AND SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT
STUDENTS’
PROCESS OF
MAKING
THINKING
DECISIONS
AND
REFLECTING
CONTEXT AND SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT
CONTEXT AND SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT

35

Figure Nº 1. Moral development competence process through the moral dilemmas discussions

The discussions of moral dilemmas in the EFL classroom provide students with

the opportunity to apply their values to social issues, which are experienced at school

and in their daily lives. A moral dilemma discussion materializes the critical thinking and

becomes a strategy which permits students to work together in a cooperative way to

define problems, generate solutions, and reflect upon the effectiveness of the solution

selected. Questioning students about the possible solution to the dilemma and its

relation with their own lives promotes analysis and interaction among students. In this

way students are provided with opportunities to develop and foster critical thinking and

moral reasoning, which end up in the moral development in students.

2.4.1 Konstanz method

To support the idea about developing moral dilemmas discussion in the

EFL classroom for promoting citizenship competences is necessary to talk about the

method used and its benefits. The Konstanz Method presents some facts that benefit

the development of moral competence; one of this is the interaction that it permits to

students. This method which is conform by seven phases, offer one that implies the

discussion of arguments. This phase let students to think, analyze and reflect about their

own arguments and so their own decisions. In order to develop the moral dilemmas

strategy for fostering the Citizenship Competences and taking into account the

36

methodologies for using it (Chaux, E & et al, 2004:45), the Konstanz Method was

considered to be the most appropriate.

To carry out the discussions before mentioned, it is mandatory to create a

classroom environment; it is provided by the cycle that the seven phases of this method

offer as well as the organization. This method employs a semi-real dilemma as a task,

which cause confrontation among students, because put into sight people ideas about

their beliefs, in this way it cause controversy, provoking emotions which role is to

encourage the moral judgement.

This Konstanz Method for moral dilemma discussion (KMMDD) comes from thirty

years ago; according to Lind (2005), it was the invention of Blatt and Kohlberg, which

emerged from a critical review of the authors method and empirical evaluation studies

(e.g., Berkowitz, 1981; Berkowitz et al., 1980; Oser & Althof, 1994; Schläfli et al., 1985;

Walker, 1983). Lind (ibid) also express that: “To make the effects of this method more

effective and to make this method better teachable and applicable in classroom

teaching, we have experimented with various changes of the dilemma discussion and

thoroughly studied their effects and the effects of other intervention experiments. It

makes me felt encourage because this research can support the idea of improving this

method, since this is developed in an EFL classroom.

Besides, this method has been used in many intervention studies related to

teacher education programs in many countries (Lind, 2002), and in comparisons to

37

many other methods of moral education, this method is well-founded in the philosophy

of education and in psychological and educational research.

Based on Lind (ibid), the following assumptions are the base for developing this

method:

Moral and democratic behavior is largely dependent on a person ability to apply his

or her moral ideals in a conflict situation, that is, on his or her competence to make

moral judgments and to enter a moral discourse with opponents.

These moral competencies can (and need to) be fostered through out the life-span,

that is, from early age through childhood, youth and adulthood, in family, schools,

university and at the workplace.

Moral competence and other desired outcomes are best fostered through providing

an learning environment in which the individual is challenged by a moral task and in

which s/he feels safe to freely express his/her moral ideals and arguments and in

which s/he also respects others‟ right of their own opinion.

According to one great difficulty with any teaching method is that each student

has his/her own way of learning. We found that the KMDD is well grouped to deal with

this problem because it contains a good balance between phases of support and

challenge, as I said at the beginning. It also helps the teacher to keep the learning

climate in an optimal range by speeding up or slowing down the phases. This method

has been already used in large groups of 100 people and more.

38

Based on Lind, (2003) democracy is an important topic, with the Konstanz

Method, democracy points to a demanding idea about how people want to live together.

In this research the method implies a phase where democracy is observed, Lind said:

we have exchanged the rule by a king or a dictator through the rule by moral principles

to guide our action, and to solve any conflict by means of rational, nonviolent discourse

rather than by violence and power. In this study, when students developed the

discussion phase, they took into account rules like: do not interrupt when someone else

is speaking, listen carefully to what others have to say, let other people speak, do not

hog the discussion, think before you speak, …, in order to avoid fights or aggressions. If

the wish is about changing attitudes, students should be competent in judging without

forgetting their principles, principles which are delicate in our students‟ generation.

Moral-democratic competences can not be acquired by instruction or by old ways

of teaching "from above", but must be learned by children, adolescents and adults "from

bottom up", very effectively, for example, through the solution of "educative moral

dilemmas" under the guidance of well-trained teachers. The teachers and their way of

teaching must be a role model for the children. Only through this model the children will

get to know what democratic behaviour really means, and how to live and work together

democratically.

The final

goal

of

a moral dilemma

discussion

is

to develop basic moral-

democratic competences. In particular moral and democratic competences like the

39

ability to act upon commonly shared moral ideals or principles, even in situations when

one is under pressure to accept because of the majority's opinion, prejudice, abusive

authorities, or just laziness and low mood, and it perfectly fix with the method explained.

Next section includes a review one of the constructs that sustain this study, the

concepts of competence and citizenship are given in order to determine the definition of

citizenship competence.

2.5. CITIZENSHIP COMPETENCE

To comprehend the really means of citizenship competence, which is the core

construct of this study, it is necessary to review their background on research and to

analyze concepts as citizenship and competence, in order to understand the construct

as a whole. Next, a revision of concepts gives the meaning about what citizenship

competences implies to this study.

2.1 RESEARCH ON CITIZENSHIP COMPETENCES

Following two complete research articles related to citizenship competences are

analyzed and their main concerns are addressed.

A study guided by Peters, R. (1999) examined the relevance in the students‟

needs about developing citizenship skills. This study evidenced how to design activities

40

with the objective of developing citizenship skills. As he argues: “Citizenship skills can

only be acquired and honed by actually participating in activities, both in school and the

community, that require personal commitment, reasoned thought, and action”. (1999:

13). My students from Cerinza (and some teachers) assume that the development of

citizenship competences is responsibility of subjects as Religion, Ethics and Social

Science. Nevertheless Peters expresses in his study that the development of citizenship

skills has to be the responsibility of teachers from all subjects and he claims that “There

is a need for teacher teams… to design activities and experiences that will insure

student participation in the citizenship building process” (ibid). Peters said that the

development of this kind of activities provides to students a view that connects the

individual to their community, and a concern in their quality of life. Therefore, and

English teacher and consequently and English classroom should share this social

responsibility.

In 2001, Bowman and Potts considered important to enhance students‟ social

skills based on the increasing of the violence at school. They argue the lack of

development of social skills in the school curriculum and the limitation for parents and

teachers to teach about these skills; thus, students are not able to decide what is right

and what is wrong. The author also presents the application of techniques for

developing these kinds of skills. This innovation offers an impact in the students‟

behaviour and the teachers‟ commitment to increase social responsibilities in their

students.

41

The previous studies have emphasized the importance of developing citizenship

competences in students, and evidenced responsibility of teachers to do that. In the last

times, this topic has taken importance in research because of the increasing of unusual

behaviours and attitudes in youth, which impacts in a negative way a community.

Likewise, the citizenship competences are taken from all fields as a concern to qualify

teenagers‟ lifestyle. The study of citizenship competences, then, has a wide scope

inside education; it is because the social development of youth is in the teachers‟ hands.

If teachers‟ programmes are implemented based on last concern, the description and

the analysis of developing citizenship competences should lead to the comprehension of

students‟ behaviours in the classroom.

Next paragraphs present ten research abstracts coming from a selection of 318

abstract from ERIC.

2.2 RESEARCH ABSTRACTS REVIEW

In order to emphasize the foundations and background for this research study, it

was necessary to look for research developed about citizenship competences and moral

dilemmas. For this, ERIC 2 web page was the source for the worthy information.

Besides, this search helped the researcher to know about what had been done about

these topics. Chart Nº 1 presents ten research abstracts articles on citizenship

2 Education Resources Information Center at: http://eric.ed.gov/

42

competences that were found in ERIC data base to which the researcher had access.

Here, authors, title of the research article, and objectives of each abstract can be

identified.

RESEARCH ABSTRACTS REVIEW

TITLE

AUTHOR

OBJECTIVES

Educating for Adulthood or for Citizenship: Social

To evaluate the efforts of schools in enhancing the social competence of their students.

Competence as an Educational Goal

European Journal of Education, v42 n2 p281-298 Jun 2007

To analyze what type of instruments are currently available and what problems have been identified in measuring educational

results in the field of social competence.

To enhance social competence of students in

Geert; Volman, Monique European Journal of Teacher Education, v29 n2 p181-202 May

secondary education.

2006

To focus on holistic adolescent outcomes and school outcomes that increase both adolescent

being.

Theory Into Practice, v46 n2 p97- 104 2007

psychosocial well-being and societal well-

Nd.

To promote positive character and citizenship values, literacy skills, and social skills in K- 12 students.

To appeal to other professionals for an

Childhood Education, v82 n5 p296

increased emphasis of social studies in K-5

Ann 2006

education.

ten Dam, Geert; Volman, Monique Learning and Instruction, v14 n4

To enhance critical thinking as a crucial aspect of the competence citizens need to participate

p359-379 Aug 2004

in society.

To examine authors‟ own global teaching

Theory and Research in Social

practice in exposing participants to pressing

Education, v32 n1 p56-74 Win

global issues.

2004

To help program designers, policymakers, and parents promote positive adolescent

2002-11-00

development.

To examine what works to promote well-being

among America's adolescents.

To contribute to an active citizenship through

adult

the acquisition of knowledge and skills.

     

Chart Nº 1 Abstracts Review

43

Based on the last chart, it could be concluded that the first studies are focused on

students from primary and secondary school, nevertheless the last ones centre their

attention to adult people and teachers, but all the studies present as objective the

contribution to the development of citizenship competences in several parts of the world,

particularly in the United States. According to dates, it could be said that this research

interest is recent, especially in contexts where violence is evidenced in the daily acting

of youth.

Some of these studies are concentrating on presenting techniques and strategies

as the debate, the design of instructional plans focused in humans rights, the role-play

and the dialogue for the development of citizenship competences, these techniques and

strategies were developed in different middle schools and two of them are developed in

a contrastive way in two schools at same time and they report, as findings, that analysis

and reflection are tools to help students to understand their context and their way of

living.

Related to teachers and school curriculum, it was observed that there is a missing

of interests to support the development of social competences. Teachers do not assume

this objective as a responsibility from their performance. They just concern about the

development of the syllabus based on knowledge of the sciences, but It does not permit

students can deal with problems presented in their contexts (family, school, and friends).

These are situations that students hardly can manage.

44

The present research enriches this new field of investigation particularly in

Colombia setting. The last studies encourage the idea of teachers‟ awareness about the

responsibility of developing social skills inside the classroom. Thus, teaching and

learning processes become meaningful to students if they impact students‟ lives.

Pedagogical implication

After having a review of some studies about the development of citizenship

competences, next, concepts, theories and a review of that information will be presented

to the reader.

2.5.1 Competence

Citizenship should be defined by actions taking place in the classroom, school, wide, and in the context of the community at - large

Gómez

(2005:21),

based

on

a

workgroup

from

Universidad

Nacional

de

Colombia, proposes that a competence is to know and to know how. He argues that:

“… la acción intelectual (y, por ende, la competencia) no se puede concebir como un mero desempeño… Se hace necesario entonces pensar en un

significado más amplio y más profundo de competencia que no sólo interrelacione e integre los dos sentidos expuestos sino que incorpore la experiencia total en el

mundo de los seres humanos.”

The meaning people actually used about competence has to do with the

ability to do what is needed; it refers use a skill; and to be competent deals with to have

45

the ability or skill to do something. When students face up a moral dilemma, they feel

strong emotions which make them act instinctively, but with the practice of moral

dilemmas discussion, they can develop capacities and abilities for reasoning and acting

in an proper way, then people could search a competence about controlling their

behaviors through the control of their emotions.

M.E.N. (2004:7) in agreement to Gómez and expresses by Jaramillo states that

competence is the group knowledge, attitudes and cognitive, affective, social and

communicative skills related among them in order to facilitate a flexible and logic

performance in an activity developed in new and challenge contexts. She also argues

that competence deals with people can use their capacities, in a feasible way, in order to

face problems presented in daily live. 3 Based on the last, this concept copes with the

intention of this research about giving students the opportunity to prepare for their future

lives, which will be full of problematic situations and where students will be able to face

them up.

2.5.2 Citizenship

Ministry of Education expresses its desire to develop people for citizenship.

Nevertheless, are language teachers prepared for that? Students perceive that these

topics concern to social sciences, then, how citizenship competences being a

mandatory transversal project to develop in school is assumed by students in that way.

46

This fear is an awareness to teachers think about how from their subject could support

this claim proposed by the M.E.N.

Ruiz and Chaux (2005: 9) cited that: “La ciudadanía es la condición política que

nos permite participar en la definición de nuestro propio destino, es algo que bien se

acata o bien se ejerce”. If teachers work on the development of this kind of

competences, students would understand their position as members of a community,

which implies to respect rules of coexistence or of living together, they might feel

motivated to participate activately and freely in their school society, in the dynamics of

their particular society and eventually in the society as a whole.

The citizenship in a juridical sense implies that the individual has to hold “rights”,

while in a political sense; the citizenship is understood as the “practice” of rights. When

students develop moral dilemmas discussions, they could internalize the sense to make

decisions based on reflection and target to the benefit of everyone. Thus, students exert

rights when take into account the others. They are practicing their citizenship. Then, they

become active members in their community, and they exert citizenship in an active

sense (2005:12). So, students develop the sense of belonging and developing their own

identity as members of their school and of the society in general.

In this sense, it could be said that the aforementioned accomplishment would be

the result of the students‟ reflection, discussion and writing about moral dilemmas.

Gómez (2005:19) stated: “la competencia implica un componente de reflexividad que

47

prefigure, antecede, recrea, interpreta u orienta la acción”. When students are able to

put themselves in other‟s shoes, it is the moment when the reflection becomes evident.

By means of this, Gómez expresses that students are putting into practice the

knowledge they posses.

However, citizenship does not necessarily means only to have a name. It has to

do with the individual‟s behavior. When the individual puts himself in his/her siblings‟

situations, s/he can identify mistakes in his/her own decisions and, as a result, take the

most convenient decisions.

Ruíz and Chaux (2005:20) express that identification, differentiation and

decentralization processes are cognitive. The actions where an individual identify

him/herself with someone or something else, and then this individual behave as if

his/her decisions take into account the others‟ point of view and needs, it indicates the

existence of cognitive processes. In this way, it could be said that every competence has

a cognitive dimension and a social meaning.

As time goes by, beliefs and ideas change or may take another dimension, as

well as everything that surrounds us. Nevertheless, it has been difficult to break the

paradigms people have about beliefs they have inherited. When families think about

parents or grandparents‟ school contexts, they do not assume that everything has

changed because of the technological environment in which people is developed right

48

now. They are not able to understand the new contexts where their children are

redefining their beliefs, concepts and ideas. It is demanding that families it. As a result,

this process facilitates parents to guide and to explain concepts and ideas in a better

and more logical way to their children. As Chaux (2005) expresses “Las nuevas

relaciones entre sujeto, cultura y entorno exigen redefinir los criterios morales para

juzgar la acción de las personas y las concepciones pedagógicas para sustentar sus

competencias”.

In summary, through the development of moral dilemmas discussions, students

develop a process where they exert the knowledge they have about citizenship

competencies in their contexts.

Ruiz and Chaux (2005: 6) state that studies based on the Colombian Constitution

are the theoretical, philosophical and political framework for the development of

citizenship at school. They argues that it has to do with not just the teaching what

citizenship is, but the foundations of conditions to exert it, and so the building of the

sense of our Constitution. This is the pedagogical meaning that it demands from school.

Artículo 41º. En todas las instituciones de educación, oficiales o privadas, serán obligatorios el estudio de la Constitución y la Instrucción Cívica. Así mismo se fomentarán prácticas democráticas para el aprendizaje delos principios y valores de la participación ciudadana. El Estado divulgara la Constitución. Constitución política de Colombia 1991.

49

Last concern demonstrated that the development of citizenship asked by the

Constitution goes beyond, it deals with the practice of democratic principles and a

pacific living together in the plurality, which make part of the daily live in the institutions.

Then, school becomes a space for putting into vigorous action the development of

students‟ abilities to build a society based on the respect of people‟s rights as part of a

real life outside school.

2.5.3 Citizenship competence

M.E.N. (2004:3) in its “Educative Revolution” expresses as an important concern

the development of competences, where the exerting of rights and duties become in the

core of good citizen. Then they state that to form citizenship competences from all areas

deals with the creation of participative spaces, where logic rules generate a healthy

living together and confidence on others, it also generate citizens able to analyze and

support in collective processes, citizens who prefer agreements more than gun to

resolve conflicts. M.E.N. assumes that, in this moment, it is necessary to educate for

citizenship, both in families and in schools because these contexts are spaces where

children live together with others most of the time.

Thus, M.E.N. defines citizenship competences as the group of cognitive, emotional,

and communicative abilities, which related among them make possible that a citizen

could act in a constructive way in a democratic society. Based on the definition of

50

competence as to know how to do, the citizenship competences are about offer to boys

and girls with necessary tools to be able to relate themselves with others in a

comprehensive and joust way, and to solve daily problems. The citizenship

competences permit to everybody to contribute in a pacific living together, to participate

responsibly and constructively in democratic processes and to respect and value the

plurality and differences ion all their local, regional, national and international contexts. 4

The last definition becomes the core of this study because this investigation is

oriented towards the development of citizenship as a way to create processes which

support a change in behaviors of students interested in becoming part of their

society.

In the same way, the development of this citizenship competences help to

develop studentsskills, which facilitate them to contribute to their communities or

societies. The following are some of the benefits of promoting citizenship

competences at school:

Students from all this Country are able to think by themselves, to make the

best decisions I order to solve their own dilemmas, to find the fair way to deal

with their wishes and goals when interacting with others. In this way, students

develop abilities that let them examine themselves, recognize they behaviours

2006

51

and acting, to understand why is fair to act in that way; to express their

opinions with confidence and respect, to support debates, to fulfil their

commitments, to propose, and to understand and respect the rules.

These students learn to be citizens, who deal in a better way the problematic

situations which are offered by their contexts when they interact and they learn to

overcome these conflict situations without any violence. Building their community

on debates, obtaining confidence, where the negotiation made become in the

opportunities to grow up without affecting the others‟ needs.

With these abilities, the youth will be able to transform their school, parents and

family lives, building a new pacific, democratic and respectful of the differences

society as in their local context as in the international one.

Chaux and et al (2004:10) express that education has the fundamental role of

transform next facts: the way we act in society, our relation with the others and how we

participate to obtain changes. Last concern requires boys, girls and young and next

generations receive and education which permit them exert the citizenship in a

constructive way.

According to M.E.N (2004:12), the Citizenship Competence standards are based

on three groups: 1. Living together and in peace; 2. Participation in diverse contexts

being democratically responsible, and 3. Plurality, identity and respect for people

differences. In this research, the idea about making students face up moral dilemmas

52

and discuss them, permit students internalize

what

really means last

groups of

citizenship competences.

Moreover, this proposal is focused particularly on emotional competences.

According to Ruíz and Chaux (2005:21) “…al referirnos a las competencias

emocionales, como parte de las competencias ciudadanas, esas emociones y

sentimientos se enlazan o deben enlazarse con un sentido moral y político de la acción

individual”. In this sense, emotion is one of the foundations to develop citizenship

competences. Jaramillo (2004) also states that: through the discussion of a moral

dilemma the emotions involved must be analyzed, as when solving problems as when

listening different opinions. Most of the times in discussions, people get mad and

generate emotions in themselves and in the others. This situation limits the

understanding of the problem and the way we act. One important aspect about emotions

is that they are in the middle of the reflection and the action. Last idea let see a

commitment among school and the society about the interests to exert citizenship

competence be a citizen action, not jus a discourse.

Then, moral dilemmas discussions have not just to do with reflection about acting

but also with action. Namely, this strategy permit students control their emotions to go

from the reflection to the action. Habermas, cited in Ruíz and Chaux, states that:

“Sin duda alguna, es una gran simplificación considerar que los juicios morales son una medida de la competencia y las acciones morales una medida de la realización”. Ruíz and Chaux affirm that: “Si las competencias sólo tienen valor en función del tipo de acción que se realiza, entonces la diferencia entre competencia y realización parecería innecesaria. Sin embargo, la competencia implica un componente de reflexividad que prefigure, antecede, recrea, interpreta u orienta la acción.(2005:19).

53

Citizenship development has to do with rules; it is not just to follow what the rule

states, but to understand what the rule implies. So, it is necessary to be aware of the

importance of guiding pedagogical processes towards the development of certain sense

of responsibility, here students understand the dimension to accomplish agreements

and to assume the consequences of their actions as members of society. The citizen

development want to change the perception people have about the meaning of “rule”. It

has to do with follow it in a voluntary way and also participate improving it. When the rule

has been interiorized, it promotes the autonomy and the solidarity, becoming in the

moral factor hen the other is recognized and the relations are built based on mutual and

reciprocal respect.

Developing

citizenship

competences

at

school

means:

“…

poner

pedagógicamente en relación la búsqueda de la autonomía individual con el valor

político de la solidaridad”. (Chaux & Ruíz 2005:14). It could be said that when

citizenship competences are promoted in class, students could help students to make

feasible decisions which could permit them to improve their quality of life, thus, they

could behave in an appropriate way and could develop their autonomy when reacting

about the feeling they have while they intervene in the solution of problems presented in

their communities.

WHY WRITING

54

Based on Patiño (2007), I found three aspects related about what this study

points to; cooperative work, connections among students’ experiences and the

role of students’ contexts as motivation for writing.

This makes sure that students see that writing really is a cooperative task, a relationship between

writer and reader. According to Hamp-Lyons and Heasley (1987, 2-3) writing is commonly seen as a three

stage process: pre-writing, writing and rewriting.

According to Nunan (1991, 201), “schema theory is based on the notion that past experiences

lead to the creation of mental frameworks that helps us make sense of new experiences”. This means

that previous experiences will be related to new experiences, which may include the knowledge of

situations, procedures for understanding and analyzing information. The role of the teacher is paramount

to activate and build up new schemata, so it is necessary to provide students with appropriate reading

material, selecting readings relevant for their needs, preferences and context.

  • A. THE DEVELOPMENT OF WRITING IN THE EFL CLASSROOM

Writing is a complex process, and competent writing is frequently accepted as being the last

language skill to be acquired because it is considered as one of the final product in the communicative

process. The atmosphere of the writing classroom should be warm and supportive; it helps if the teacher

shows willingness to write too, and offer their attempts for class discussion along with those of the

students. Many of the tasks suggest working with a partner or in groups; these tasks are seen as very

important work.

Nunan states that learning to write coherently, and in a way which is appropriate for one‟s

purpose and audience, is something which many people never manage in their first language, despite

55

the fact that a substantial part of the educational process is devoted to the development of such skills.

The process is every bit as difficult in a second language.

Halliday (1985), cited by Nunan (1991, 84) suggests that writing has evolved in societies as a

result of cultural changes creating communicative needs which cannot be really met by the spoken

language. In this sense writing is seen as a need in everyday life, which supplies our need of

communication over years and generations. Nunan (1991, 86) states that there is a perennial tension in

most aspects of language learning and teaching between language as process and writing as product. A

product oriented approach focuses on the final result of the learning process, what the learner is expected

to be able to do fluent and competent using language. Process approaches focus more on the various

classroom activities which are believed to promote the development of skilled language use.

2.3 WRITING IMPROVEMENT

Traditionally in EFL classrooms, reading and writing language skills have been

processes devoted and limited to decoding codes and symbols. These skills have been

focused on developing activities within a product oriented approach. Therefore,

language has been conceived as a process of just learning a set of grammar rules.

However, language should be considered a means that enables students to connect

those codes and symbols with their daily experiences. Thus, students through language

can perceive their reality, make it abstract in mind and create concepts of that reality to

finally express it through the grammar systems. Consequently, the teaching and learning

processes might favour students‟ reflection and expression of their reality. At this point,

writing, as a means of expression, becomes a meaningful activity in the classroom. It is

a process that demands from students to focus on both content and form to successfully

communicate.

56

Writing is a complex process that goes beyond of transcribing language into

written symbols; it is a thinking process exclusive to each individual that needs an

intellectual effort. It implies the construction of ideas, the expression of feelings, the

sharing of experiences and the interpretation of the world around. However, It has been

observed that the writing process developed in the classroom is limited to complete

activities extracted from books making students to repeat others‟ ideas. Students

generally write what the authors of the activity want to be written. Then, this skill is

conceived as product oriented rather than a process oriented skill. To this respect Brown

(1994) expresses that: “we [teachers] became better attuned to the advantage given to

learners when they were seen as creators of language, when they were allowed to focus

on content and message, and when their own individual intrinsic motives were put at the

center of learning.” (P: 320).

Halliday (1985), cited by Nunan (1991, 84) suggests that writing has evolved in societies as a result of

cultural changes creating communicative needs which cannot be really met by the spoken language. In this sense

writing is seen as a need in everyday life, which supplies our need of communication over years and generations.

Nunan (1991, 86) states that there is a perennial tension in most aspects of language learning and teaching between

language as process and writing as product. A product oriented approach focuses on the final result of the learning

process, what the learner is expected to be able to do fluent and competent using language. Process approaches focus

more on the various classroom activities which are believed to promote the development of skilled language use.

Lenneberg (1967) cited by Brown argues that it is necessary to have a suitable

environment in order to learn to write: “We learn to swim if there is a

body of water

57

available and usually only if someone teaches us. We learn to write if we are members

of a literate society and usually only if someone teaches us.” (1994:319). In the

classroom, which is „a literate community‟, students‟ interests, needs and contexts

become that „body of water‟; the expressions of them in a coherent way mean to learn to

write, „to swim‟; and teachers are the ones who „teach‟ and lead the process of writing.

Brown talks about three issues related to teach how to write: 1. Process versus product,

2. Contrastive Rhetoric and 3. Authenticity.

First, the process approach as Brown says “…is an attempt to take advantage of

the written code to give students a chance to think as they write” (P: 321). It is to say

that when students write, a thinking process takes place, where the organization of

coherent ideas reflects thoughts to finally be expressed into words. Brown also states

that students can think and write simultaneously. And, that there should be a balance

between process and product.

Second, the issue specified by Brown as „rhetoric‟ has to do with students‟ native

language schematas that influence writing in the foreign language. It is necessary to

take into account Morris (1973), who refers to rhetoric as “The study of the elements

used in literature and public speaking, such as content structure, cadence and style. The

art of oratory especially the persuasive use of language to influence the thoughts and

actions of listeners.”

In regards to authenticity, it is important to consider the communication as the

main goal of teaching to write. Activities like fill in the blanks following models or writing

58

isolated ideas could not let the communication at all. As Brown affirms that (1994:324)

In school, writing is a way of life.” it is appropriate to think about what students really

want to express so, the process of writing in students becomes authentic.

Then Brown (1994:330) gives an idea about “real writing” which becomes another

way of seeing the students‟ written work as authentic. Raimes (1991), cited by Brown,

expresses that real writing takes place when “…the reader doesn‟t know the “answer”

and genuinely wants information.” This is why it is considered that when students reflect

and write about any posed situation and when they express their concerns about that

particular situation, they are really writing their thoughts. Students then are seen as

creators of language, when they are allowed to focus on content and message, and

when their own individual intrinsic motives become the center of their learning process.

When students have the opportunity to write about the positions they take after

facing up a situation and how they connect them with their real experiences, they are as

Brown (1994:324) says “…intrinsically motivating…” moreover, “… students are more

likely to be given the opportunity to convey genuine information on topics of intrinsic

interest”. Then, writing will be “real”, meaningful, and communicative in the sense of the

term.

Gaffield Vile, in Harmer (2001:259), introduces the term “creative writing” as

“…a journey of self-discovery” and which promotes effective learning” when trying to be

understood, students are highly motivated to find the right words to express their

59

experiences. Then, through writing, students felt engaged to their learning process.

Writing can be focused on „creative writing‟ in the sense that “…the end result is often

felt to be some kind of achievement, and that most people feel pride in their work and

want it to be read.” (P: 257). This necessarily implies the real writing mentioned above.

Writing becomes a cooperative activity when teachers and students as members

of a community “…take advantage of the presence of others [which brings] great benefit

to all those involved” (Harmer, 2001:260). The author emphasizes reviewing, evaluation

and the generation of ideas as three aspects that could be better achieved when

interaction in cooperative work is developed. Thus, students are motivated about finding

out which ideas are better to express their thoughts. Creative and real ideas are the

best produced based on the students‟ motivation for participating in processes of

improvement in their communities.

Here, the purpose of this study is that students can communicate by expressing

what they think in relation with their interests, needs and characteristics of the contexts

they belong to. Lind (2004) states that “When practicing the moral dilemmas strategy,

students read, think critically, discuss, decide and take a position; they are becoming

decision makers and builders of their own language learning process, taking advantage

of their knowledge about moral and social issues and making connections with their

own life experiences.” Through cooperative work students were able to generate ideas

which lead them to express themselves in a real writing way. Within the discussion of

60

moral dilemmas, writing could be generated and students‟ authenticity could be

evidenced, making students active participants in their language learning process.

3. RESEARCH DESIGN

Work well planned is the key for developing a process as complex as a research

is. This chapter focuses on the organization of this research. It is the description of the

study, setting, participants, and the methods used for data collection. All the stuff

mentioned is the base for framing and stating the foundations of this study, which guide

me in becoming a researcher, who describe, analyze and reflect on a phenomenon, as

is the fostering of citizenship competences and writing skills presented in my

pedagogical practice in an EFL classroom.

This qualitative research was carried out through four steps. This study began

with an exploratory stage. It entails the definition of the interest issue. I had to do to

identify students‟ attitudes towards English and relations among students and their

community, particularly their school. The second stage is related to planning, here the

developing of a pedagogical design in which six discussions workshops of moral

dilemmas were carried out. The third one refers to the collection of data procedure.

Interviews, students‟ reflective logs and surveys were used by the teacher for describing

and analyzing students‟ work while discussing moral dilemmas. The last one, analysis

and reflection constituted another fundamental step of the research study. In this case,

61

systematic data collection and analysis was developed. So, through the analysis of data

two main categories emerged which formed a logical cycle.

Since understanding, describing and analyzing a phenomenon become a

research, this qualitative study is a descriptive one. Merriam (1998: 6) says that

“qualitative research implies a direct concern in people‟s experiences and that this

meaning is mediated through the investigator‟s own perceptions”, then, this qualitative

research deals with human beings and their constructions of reality, when its concern

has to do with the interest about exploring and analyzing students‟ citizenship

competences in order to improve their learning processes and through this qualify their

lives by means of reflection and active participation on their contexts.

This definition suggests a critical dimension which involves action and reflection on the social

structures finding practical problem solving in a social situation in order to improve learning conditions

involving a collaborative work. A critical dimension in education implies going beyond the classroom by

analyzing how school practices deal with students‟ living experiences.

3.1 TYPE OF STUDY

The interest of this type of research is based on process, context and on the

discovery of a phenomenon. This qualitative research, in the type of basic or generic

study “refers to studies that exemplify the characteristics of qualitative research

discussed earlier” (Merriam, 1998:11). Therefore, basic generic research is used when:

“…Researchers who conduct these studies… seek to discover and understand a

62

phenomenon, a process, or the perspectives and worldviews of the people involved”

(Merriam,1998:11). Namely, this study refers to determine causes, understand an event

and identify the process in eleventh grade students at Colegio Nacionalizado de Cerinza

where they assume and reveal the development of their citizenship competences in a

context surrounded by issues which affect students‟ learning processes, particularly the

learning of English as a foreign language.

On the other hand, in this web page from a “Practitioner File” states that:

A basic interpretative qualitative study is used when the goal of the researcher is to understand how participants make meaning of a situation or a phenomenon. The researcher serves as the filter for the meaning, using inductive strategies with a descriptive outcome” 5 .

This is why, students after carrying out a strategy (the development of moral

dilemmas discussions in EFL classroom) could identify a way, which lead them to

explore and comprehend their citizenship competences, letting the researcher analyze

this phenomenon to describe students‟ perceptions about the fact was happening in her

classroom and how this situation impact the learning of a foreign language, specifically

in students‟ writing skill.

5 Practitioner File http://www.cete.org/acve/docs/pfile05.htm accessed November

2006

63

It can not be forgotten that this type of study was developed based on Kohlberg,

Gómez, Ruíz and Chaux‟s concepts and models established in the frame of the

sociology and psychology theories; Merriam argues this characteristic implies a research

in the educational field. This characteristic let the researcher to analyze some data,

which end it up in the finding of some categories, this result has not the aim of building a

substantive theory or a grounded theory, but, it attempts to a description of a

phenomenon and let understand it. Probably in the future, this will be the base for further

research that can end in construction of an important theory.

This descriptive study aims at identifying how moral dilemmas discussions

workshops foster students‟ citizenship competence. Thus, basic or generic study could

supply me with a scope on the collected data, which could give me the opportunity to

reflect about my studentsperceptions and processes of fostering citizenship

competences and moral development. As this type of study looks for comprehending a

phenomenon, it become the most appropriate type to this research, because here the

researcher described and analyzed a phenomenon occurred about students‟ aggressive

behavior in order to understand it.

3.3 SETTING AND POPULATION

The research was carried out at Colegio Nacionalizado de Cerinza. It is a public

school located in Cerinza, Boyacá. This school aims at the integral development of the

students based on the support of values as mentioned in the P.E.I objective described in

64

the first chapter. This school has an academic approach. The school is provided with the

directors and administrative offices, sixteen classrooms and a systems and bilingualism

lab. There are 415 students between girls and boys; most of them belong to a low social

status. There are 16 teachers, a principle, a coordinator, and five administrative people

in this section, which conform just the secondary section. This school is located in the

middle of a rural town, which is twenty minutes far away from Duitama, a main city.

3.3.1 Population

The population was 34 students from eleventh grade. They were 22 girls and 12

boys. These students are between fifteen and twenty years old and they belong to a low

social class community that presents a difficult economical situation because the town

does not offer the enough possibility to work, and based on Major‟s projects has to do

with the subsidy to people. This is why students evidence necessities, particularly

economic ones. The students‟ community is Catholic, and their character is strong and

proud, they . Their English level is low as it is demonstrated in local and national tests as

ICFES (it is mentioned in the problem) and in their grades.

Based on the majority of students‟ familiar files, most of them are conformed by

the mother and 4 or 5 kids. The father despite loving his family does not live with them

because he has probably looked for a job in another place in order to earn money to

support his family. The mothers are women who, most of the time, could not obtain their

secondary degree because of situations like early pregnancy. Due to this, they could not

65

sustain their families. Fathers are the ones who have to do this. As the town does not

have enough possibilities for working, fathers have to go to distant places to obtain jobs.

As a result, they only have to meet and share with their children once or twice in six

months as it is evidenced in the parents‟ meetings. Children grow up without the

presence of a constant father. The rules in the houses are set by the mother.

Mothers, then have to take care of the house. They divide their time taking care of

animals, agriculture and most of the time they have to work in other farms. Based on

that, it could be concluded that the time dedicated to children is minimum. It seems like

the children grow alone, without a guide. When most of the mothers go to school, they

express, they have lost their power over their children, especially over their sons. In

some cases, when a mother attends to an appointment in school, and the teacher

explains the student‟s situation, mother tries to suggest any recommendation to her son,

in that moment student begins to mistreat to his mother. In this way, students lost the

respect for older people and mothers have to shout and hit their children in order to

control them. Mothers constantly express that, when fathers come home, they just hear

complaints and punish their children.

3.3.2. Participants

This research work included thirty four students of eleventh grade. But this study

focused on six students‟ work: two male students and four female students whose ages

ranged from fifteen to nineteen years old. These students were selected at random

through a raffle. Teacher wrote six numbers in the board from 1 to forty, they were

66

covered, each student said a number, and the students who chose the number written

on the board were the one selected. This process was carried out after obtaining the

permission from the principal, parents and students (See annex Nº 1). At that moment

most of the other students were a little disappointed, but they got encouraged when they

knew everyone was going to participate in the project. Because of ethical issues, the

names of the participants were not used, from here; they were identified by a number.

Even thought six students were chosen, just four completed all the process, because

one of them had to change his place of residence and other attended to class in an

interruptive way. In the next lines, I will describe each one of the participants.

  • Student No. 1: She was 16 years old. She was an active and responsible student. She expressed in the first interview (diagnosis phase, see annex Nº 2), that she liked to speak about specific situations which could help others and I evidenced it in the different workshops. She expressed she likes English very much and it also was evidenced in her grades and in her English level.

  • Student No. 2: She was eighteen years old. Even though she was strong in her character, she was afraid to speak in front of others. During the interviews, she expressed that even she was not good in English, the classroom environment gave her confidence to learn it. She did not like to work in group, at the beginning of the process, she expressed that in a group always worked just one person and the others just wrote their names.

  • Student No. 3: He was sixteen years old. He was one of the leaders of this group because He was the students‟ legal representative (personero). His grades

67

evidenced a good level of English. Most of the times, he was always the one who

finished first the activities in class, and he was loved by everyone because of his

capacity for to speak and deal with problematic situations.

  • Student No. 4: She was nineteen years old. She was a little shy, but she liked to explain to the others. In activities developed before implementing the moral dilemmas discussions strategy, she always obtained good grades, so, she was very confident about her English level, nevertheless she expressed that writing about her own ideas and thoughts was difficult in English.

  • Student No 5: She was seventeen years old. She was the kind of girl who everyone loves. Her tenderness made her a person who everyone wanted to be. She was a dynamic, creative and an extrovert student. She had presented a very good English level.

  • Student No. 6: She was nineteen years old. He could not develop all the six moral dilemmas discussions, but in the moments he could attend to class, he frequently created controversy because their ideas on the debates. He was a little bit lazy, and evidenced apathy to English because of his low level.

After introducing some characteristic of the context, where this study was

developed, next section deals with the instruments used to gather information from the

participants.

68

3.4 INSTRUMENTS TO COLLECT DATA

Students took part in six workshops, oriented to promote the discussion of six

moral dilemmas within the frame of the Konstanz Method (See Annex Nº 4). The

researcher made a selection of moral dilemmas from Lind web page, the moral

dilemmas were chosen according to situations to which students were exposed and

based on the English syllabus of school. Through the development of this strategy,

students also participate in answering some surveys and interviews. All the thoughts,

ideas and reflections emerged in students mind while the process, were collected in a

reflective log.

The questions and the items of the surveys and interviews were oriented to

explore about the conceptualization of terms like Citizenship competences, values and

moral dilemmas, and about the conceptions students had of their relationships and

behaviors at school and in their families. Namely, the collection of data was done by

means of: surveys, interviews and reflective

3.4.1 Surveys

As this study has its basis in a social and psychological field, because this is

related to the description of students‟ social behaviors and the process their minds

followed in an educational context, it is coherent to be agree with Nunan when he said

69

that: “surveys are widely used for collecting data in most areas of social inquiry, from

politics to sociology, from education to linguistics” (1991:140).

Cohen and Manion, in Nunan (ibid), argue that: “surveys are the most commonly

used descriptive method in educational research… The purpose of a survey is generally

to obtain a snapshot of conditions, attitudes, and/or events at a single point in time”.

Analyzing this quotation and thinking about the data collected in this instrument, I could

conclude that the intention mentioned in the quotation was barely made in this study,

because through this instrument students could expressed their perceptions about their

school. The information offered by the surveys permitted that researcher could describe

and identify students‟ conceptions about their school, and obtain ideas as it occur in the

diagnosis stage.

Two surveys were applied. The first one emerged from a false start, this is why, it

was focused on identifying students‟ perceptions about the school, their conception

about learning a foreign language and how their life at school in terms of their

relationships with their siblings was. Thus, it became in a diagnosis stage (See annex Nº

1). The second one focused on identifying students‟ conceptions about citizenship

competences, English class and decision making (See annex Nº 3). The last reasons

made that the concern of this study point to describe and analyze a social phenomenon,

in this way, Nunan‟s argument is supporting the decision about developing surveys in

this research. The surveys were applied one at the beginning and second in the middle

of the process.

70

Even the surveys offered some information; this was not enough to

help to

answer the research question. For this reason, researcher saw the necessity to

emphasize in the next instrument.

  • 3.4.2 Semi- structured interviews Three semi-structured or open-ended oral interviews were made to expand and

identify students‟ points of view (See Annex Nº 5). The teacher applied some semi-

structured interviews in order to obtain interaction for getting evidence about students‟

life. As Dowset, in Nunan said: “it does give you access to social relationships in a quite

profound way” (1991: 140).

Semi-structured interviews are useful instruments for gathering information due to

their flexibility to prove details or to discuss issues. Semi-structured interviews are

questionnaires with detailed questions. Not all questions are designed before the

interview; some of them arise during it. This kind of instrument permits discussion

between the interviewer and the interviewee. Selinger and Shohamy in Rojas state:

“another tool for the teacher-researcher is interviewing-asking questions to bring out the

information we could not learn without getting inside our students‟ mind” (2005:33).

71

The development of the interviews was based on three moments. The first one

was at the beginning of the work. At that moment, the questions were oriented to identify

the students‟ relationships between them and the other individuals of their community, it

was based in a false started, in this way, it joined with the first survey became in the

diagnosis stage (See annex Nº 1). The second interview was proposed at the middle of

the workshops. At that moment, it was assumed that the interview could offer enough

information; Nevertheless, when analyzing the data collected, it was realized that a final

interview was necessary in order to emphasize the discoveries obtained until that

moment. However my students had already graduated. Then in consensus with the

director of the research was decided that the six participants were invited again for a

final interview. Considering they were at the university, this situation let me identify that

the process they developed at school was confronted with what students had to live in a

different context as it was at he University. This situation permitted students‟ to revealed

interesting aspects about their citizenship competences outside school and to highlight

the impact they had because of the development of the six workshops.

  • 3.4.3 Reflective logs As the main objective of this research is to identify what students‟ reveal about

their citizenship competences after discussing moral dilemmas in an EFL classroom, a

topic, which most of the times is hardly noticeable for them, it is through the reflection

students made on their own work, that researcher wanted to them discovered

perceptions about their citizenship competence. In this way, Merriam (1998) argues that

72

documents like a reflective log is a source which do not addressed to specific

information to answer the question but it is “a ready-made source of data easily

accessible to the imaginative and resourceful investigator.”(1998:112). namely, this kind

of document could help students made perceptible situations that in an interview or

observation were not able to demonstrate.

Reflective logs according to Freeman (1998) are related to more objective notes

on students‟ events, Killion (1991) argues that:

“Students record key events in their work life, in writing or on tape.

They not only summarize what happened, they also reflect on those experiences and report on what they‟ve learned. Periodically, those involved with keeping a log are asked to summarize what they have

learned and share it with a colleague or several others who are keeping

their own logs”.

This instrument was designed for letting the development of the process of moral

increase, through collecting students‟ reflections and positions taken when they thought

critically, reflected and made decisions according to alternatives given in the moral

dilemmas analyzed and discussed in the classroom (See annex Nº 4). This instrument

was used with the purpose of gathering information in order to identify perceptions and

procedures students have through the promotion of citizenship competences.

Wood,

F.

and

McQuarrie, F. (1999)

argue

that “reflective

logs are

used

to

encourage learning from success and problems encountered during the work day”.

Every time, student accessed to their reflective logs, they read again what they had

73

written on in, in this moment students identified mistakes on their work and reflect about

how to do better or improve. Through this source, students also record events that call

their attention during the development of moral dilemmas discussions and they

connected their reflections to their lives. Keeping a log helped students learn how to

improve, to discover what is working and not working, uncover personal strengths, and

identify areas where improvement is needed.

The individual keeping a log can take it in any direction. But logs are equally

valuable in the learning of processes in academic and personal aspects. 6 Besides

students needed to write reflective workshops and responded to writer inventories to

evaluate themselves, at the end of each workshop, they wrote about the aspect that had

called their attention in some moment of the process, last activity permitted to reflect on

their writing strategies, and when they read those reflections in the following workshop

they had the opportunity of analyzing their writing processes, .

Students collected their reflections on each session of workshop in a folder, in

that moment this folder was called a reflective log. They were kept through all the

process. These reflective logs together with the interviews and surveys became the

evidences which were the object of the analysis. By means of selecting, analyzing,

categorizing and describing the data made possible to answer the questions proposed in

this research.

6 Wood, F. and McQuarrie, F. (1999) www.reflective logs\On-the-job.htm accessed on February

2006

74

The following chart offers a view of the research design that was applied during

the whole study. It considers the research questions, the instruments and the research

type.

 

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

INSTRUMENTS

SETTING

RESEARCH TYPE

 

TO COLLECT

AND

   

DATA

PARTICIPANTS

Main question:

 

Semi-structured

Colegio

Basic or generic qualitative

 

Interviews

Nacionalizado

studies have the essential

 

What

do

moral

dilemmas

de Cerinza

characteristics of qualitative

workshops reveal about eleventh graders‟ citizenship competences

Surveys

research (goal of eliciting understanding and meaning,

at Colegio Nacionalizado de

Reflective Logs

Six eleventh

researcher as primary data

Cerinza?

 

graders.

collection and analysis

 

instrument, use of fieldwork,

Sub questions:

   

inductive orientation to

 
 

Surveys

analysis, richly descriptive

What

is

the

role

of

moral

findings) but do not focus on

dilemmas

discussions

in

the

culture, build grounded

fostering of students‟ citizenship

theory, or intensely study a

competences?

 

Semi-structured

single unit or bounded

 

interviews

system. They “simply seek to

discover and understand a

Reflective Logs

phenomenon, a process, or the perspectives and worldviews of the people

involved” (Merriam 1998:11).

 

Chart Nº 3. Summary of the Research Design.

75

4. INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN

Fostering citizenship competences on students allowed me to use a different

strategy, which gives them the opportunity to reflect about their behavior. This strategy

was the discussion of six moral dilemmas. This discussion was carried out based on

workshops and they were designed taking into account the seven stages proposed by

the Konstanz Method presented below. Which are described in the next paragraphs.

Students were invited to participate in this process as part of their regular

classes. The 34 students of eleventh grade were participants in the two surveys and

developed the six workshops. Six participants were chosen at random for analyzing their

data answer the three interviews.

The data collected from the first survey and the first interview (See annex, No 1),

„the diagnosis stage‟, let me identify students‟ conceptions they have about citizenship

competence, English as a subject and how they assume that this subject could let them

the possibility for developing something else than grammar rules and vocabulary in a

foreign language. Based on these results, it was evidenced that they were looking for a

dynamic process in order to learn the foreign language, then, I started to develop the

first workshop.

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4.1 WORKSHOP DESIGN

The six workshops were planned, organized and designed during the first six

months of this study; the moral dilemmas were taken from the Lind web page, according

to students‟ interests and topics established on the syllabus planned at the beginning of

the year to this signature.

A sociolinguistic approach to language learning was taken into account to

develop the workshops, it was necessary to have in mind the previous students‟

knowledge about the language, vocabulary, structures. Beside, this intervention was

applied in a meaningful way because, students can use the language to express their

ideas and thoughts emerged from their realities, in this way the learning of English had a

sense, because this study could articulate the concept of language as a vehicle of

communication and social participation.

Halliday, provides a social approach of language while saying that “En el

desarrollo del niño como ser social, la lengua desempeña la función más importante. La

lengua es el canal principal por el que se transmiten los modelos de vida, por el que se

aprende a actuar como miembro de una “sociedad” y a adoptar su “cultura”, sus modos

de pensar y de actuar, sus creencias y sus valores”. (1982:18-19). Trough this

argument the author defines the person as a social being and language as the vehicle

through which men construct the different social connections that takes place according

to the context where he/she interacts.

77

The workshops stages are based on the Konstanz Method for Discussing Moral

Dilemmas (KMDMD). To this study, a modification was made at the beginning which

was created as a warming up and a vocabulary strategy.

WORKSHOP Nº 4

  • Match the word with the correct meaning, and write the missing meaning:

Thesis

  • 1. To provide a basis for the existence or subsistence of.

a)

Support

  • 2. One written by a candidate for an academic degree.

b)

Degree

  • 3. To hold back from in doubt or uncertainly

c)

Algorithm

  • 4. A step by step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing

d)

Sneak

  • 5. some end specific by a computer.

Hesitates

  • 6. A title conferred on students by a College, university, or professional school on completion of a program of study.

e)

Warming up and vocabulary strategy for workshops.

4.2 DESCRIPTION OF THE PEDAGOGICAL PROCESS.

As I said before, the 34 eleventh grade students participate in an active way in

the development of the six workshops. The teacher took a role as a guide and a

facilitator of the process. Each workshop was developed about two hours per week.

During the workshops, students wrote to answer reflective questions after each phase.

At the end of the workshop, students wrote a reflection about something had called their

attention during work and joined with the workshop were filed in a „reflective log‟.

In the first workshop, students were very preoccupied because of their level of

English, especially in the phases were they have to express their ideas. In that moment,

they to speak and express in English but their classmates could not understand what the

78

others said and the discussion could not carried out because they just express their

ideas no matter what the others expressed, then a discussion was not developed. For

that reason, I had to do that part in Spanish in order to give them some confidence.

Nevertheless, when the workshops were finished they expressed that they wanted to do

the discussions in English.

The workshops carried out seven phases; here I am

going to tell about what

those phases were.

  • First Phase: Introducing the dilemma. After developing the vocabulary strategy, students read the moral dilemma

individually; they followed the strategies of skimming, reading quickly to get the general

idea, and scanning, reading for specific information. At the beginning, students were

very anxious, the reading seemed to be very difficult, but after two workshops, they

developed the activities in an easy way.

A. Read the following situation and answer the questions.

Bastian’s Sneak Idea

Bastian has hard decision to make. He studies information science. He got all his credits, yet still has his finals ahead and must still do his thesis. He is running out of time because he needs to support himself through jobs which keep him from studying. When his good friend Daoude, who studies with him, asks him to review his thesis. Daoude originates from Ghana and has some difficulties with the English language. His father holds a high position in the administration in Ghana, and has already

got Daoude a well-paid job. Daoude does not need to get a degree but does it for his pleasure. He likes information science, but at home he will hardly be able to use his expertise.

When Bastian reads Daoude‟s thesis, he discovers that Daoude has discovered an algorithm

which may be worth a lot of money. He gets a snake idea. He quickly writes a program and contacts a software firm. The demonstration is so successful that Bastian gets offered a well-paid job if he lets the firm use his algorithm fro free. Bastian hesitates for a moment. This is a great opportunity for him and Daoude will not be interested in marketing the program anyway. So he accepts the offer.

  • Second Phase: Initial Vote.

79

Here, students answer two scales in order to help them to consider what their

position about the situation was (con or pro). Besides, they reaffirmed they decision

based on the answers to some questions and retelling the story.

o

B. Reflect Do you think that it was easy or difficult for Bastian to make this decision?

. Not difficult at all 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Very difficult

I think it was (please circle a number)

o

What do you think about Bastian? Was this decision right or wrong?

It was (please circle a number) VERY WRONG -3

. .

.

-2

-1

0

+1

+2

+3

VERY RIGHT

  • What are the reasons for your judgment? Please write down all reasons that are important for you:

  • Try to retell the story:

  • Write and say:

    • - What the problem here is:

    • - What the character‟s position is:

    • - Why that problem is hard to solve:

- Why the character may have decided that way:

  • Choose and take a pro or con position about this situation.

  • Third Phase: Group Discussing.

After making the first decision, students had to look for classmates who were

agreed with them and make groups of four, there inside group, each students present

they arguments and they decided which were the most logical, coherent and

reasonable. In this way, they prepared themselves to participate in the plenary.

C. Make groups of four people, and talk about your positions, argue them and classify all the reasons.

  • Four Phase: Plenary Discussion.

Before began the plenary, teacher showed and kept some posters in order to

understand the rules taken for that moment:

  • Think before you speak.

  • Only say what you truly believe.

80

  • Listen carefully to what others have to say.

  • Do not interrupt when some one else is speaking.

  • Do not remain silent. Make sure to contribute to the discussion.

  • Let other people speak. Do not hog the discussion.

In the first workshop, students just expressed their own ideas, in next workshops,

they understood, they have to talk based on what others said, defending their thoughts.

After some workshops, students accepted that following these recommendations, the

plenary was developed orderly; it let them to listen and to participate in an active way,

and the most important without aggressiveness.

D. Now be prepared for the plenary. Remember you are in a pro or con position.

  • Fifth Phase: Making Decisions.

In this phase, students came back to their groups, they talk about the decisions

they had heard from the other side, this was the best phase, because they could realize

others could have the best ideas. They accepted them and retaken their arguments and

their positions. This process was based in eight reflective questions, which had to be

answered.

  • E. When the plenary has finished, meet your small group again, think over the arguments or reasons you have heard, and

    • Answer the following questions:

1.Didnnewnreasonsncomentonyournmind?

2.Whatnaboutnthenreasonsnyounhadninnmindnbefore?

3.Donyounstillnfeelntheynarenasngoodnasnyounfeltntheynwere?

4.Whyndonyounthinknso?

  • Now, reflect and write about:

1.Howndonyounfeelnaboutnthenargumentsnofnthenothernside?

2.Howndonyounjudgenthem?

?

81

  • Sixth Phase: Final Vote.

Here, students took the final decision; they analyzed the arguments from both

sides and make the feasible solutions to the situations and something important was

that they understood why that was.

F. Express in a written way, “We have now considered many sides of the problem. Some of us may now even think differently about the problem that was presented”. Which side is better than the other? Why?

  • Seventh Phase: Final Reflexion.

The last phase had to do with the evaluation. Here, students gave their

appreciation about the class, about how they felt participating in activities like this and

finally about the problems they just talked about. At the end, they write about something

that had called their attention.

G. Now, answer the following questions:

1.Hownwasnthenclass?

2.Whatndonyounthinknabouttthetclass?

3.Asnparticipantsnofnanplenary,nwhatndidnyounlearn?

4.Whatnshouldnbenimproved?

5.Havenyouneverndiscussednaboutnproblemsnlikenthisnbefore?

The development of the six workshops joined to the reflection were filed in a

folder, this package were the reflective logs. At the beginning of each session, they had

82

to review what they had made in the last one, they reflect and they were prepared for

the next one.

Reflective logs were used to promote students‟ learning not only when being

successful but also when being wrong, so, students could reflect about their work and

about their live. The last process let students to encourage, to accept their failures and

to take actions to correct them

PHASE 1 Introducing the dilemma: Students understood the dilemma.
PHASE 1
Introducing the
dilemma:
Students understood
the dilemma.

PHASE 2

Initial vote:

Students reflect and take a position.

82 to review what they had made in the last one, they reflect and they were

PHASE 7

Final reflexion:

PHASE 3

Groups discussing:

Students value critique and become conscious about their development.

82 to review what they had made in the last one, they reflect and they were

PHASE 6

82 to review what they had made in the last one, they reflect and they were

STUDENTS

Students present their point of view and identify otherspoint of view

82 to review what they had made in the last one, they reflect and they were

PHASE 4

Final vote:

Plenary

discussion:

Students make the most feasible decisions.

82 to review what they had made in the last one, they reflect and they were
PHASE 5 Making decisions: Students recognize others‟ points of view, analyze them, confront their points of
PHASE 5
Making decisions:
Students recognize
others‟ points of view,
analyze them, confront
their points of view and
make a decision. Students
understand they are not

the only ones.

Students express their points of view in public.

Figure Nº 2. Phases of the Konstanz Method Dilemmas Discussion in the workshops

83

The following chart includes relevant aspects about the six moral dilemmas

workshops.

NUMBER

TIME

TITLE

DILEMMA

ACTIVITIES

 

1

 

Kathy: job or baby?

Abortion

Based

on

 

2

Teacher Vicky

Justice

the

 

3

Mayor Roades

Own

benefits

Konstanz

 

2 hours

(Justice)

Method

4

Bastian‟s Sneak Idea

Surviving

Dilemmas

 

5

Katia‟s best friend

Friendship

Discussion

 

6

Judge Steingberg‟s Decision

Valuing lives

(KMDD)

 
           

Chart No 4. Moral Dilemmas Workshops

These workshops aimed at making students reflect about their own thinking and

improvement, when they analyze their points of view and confront them with the others‟

points of view. These workshops also aimed at developing a humanistic approach in the

sense of attempting to transform students in individuals who by means of questioning

themselves would be able to change attitudes, to generate transformations in others and

who, as a result of being empowered would become better citizens in their community.

Although, the information obtained from this instrument was not enough, it was

useful to identify and to comprehend the stages (theory expressed by Kohlberg in his

cognitive-evolutionary approach), students lived, while the developing of moral

discussions. But at the same time, this instrument let us to understand how the students‟

social aspect influences the development of the stages.

84

  • 5. DATA ANALYSIS

This chapter focuses on the description of the process followed to analyze the

information obtained from data collected. Through the analysis of data, it was possible to

understand the students‟ perceptions and conceptualizations about citizenship

competences and the development of their writing skills. It also explains the findings and

how the core category and sub-category were established, which are answers to the

research question and the sub-question stated for this study.

I triangulated the information which supports the reliability and internal validity, it

was made having surveys, interviews and reflective logs and contrasting their vertices

and relevant information, here, commonalities between the three instruments were

found. According to Brown and Rodgers (2002, 245), triangulation refers the attempt to

understand some aspects of human behaviour by studying it from more than one

standpoint. Namely, after reading consciously the information (data collected from

instruments), I identified some common issues taking into account the theory analyzed.

These issues let me visualized that my students reveal a process about developing

citizenship competences. From this triangulation, I established the core category and its

subcategory. I described and illustrated each one by means of sound evidence resulting

from the data collection instruments. Likewise, last process made an important grade of

validity and reliability in terms of the consistency of the data collection interpretation.

85

Data emerged from surveys; reflective logs and interviews were analyzed based

on the information about coding procedures given by Strauss and Corbin (1990),

particularly about open and axial coding (context)and the use of questioning. The

procedure is explained following the next steps: 1) the information provided by the three

instruments was carefully and simultaneously explored to establish the connections with

the question and sub question of research. 2) Main issues were identified. To do this,

coding was implemented; colour and symbols were used to classify and identify inter-

related common aspects which had similar features. 3) Similar features were linked to

establish patterns. 4) While analyzing emerged patterns commonalities were found.

They were organized in groups reducing the units emerged hierarchically to establish

the corresponding categories; the categories were based on their properties and

dimensionalized for understanding the procedures for developing grounded theory.

Finally two categories emerged and they were named based on a relation the

phenomenon had with a natural procedure methaporically, the secondcategory was

named based on key

words.

.

3.2 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY

A qualitative research where participants‟ behaviours are the core of the study is

a great challenge, it is difficult for people to talk and reflect about they behaviour, in most

of the times, they assumed their behaviour is right, and to judge them is not going to be

my concern. This is a process I wanted to students can develop. I know that what is

86

intended to do in this study is valuable. I have always defended the importance and the

need of the process of looking inside and could reflect. In this case, letting students can

do that is an advance about teachers become instruments for developing something

else in students‟ lives, and so if teachers consider themselves agents of social change

and concern to students‟ social responsibilities in human beings.

Talking about validity and reliability is an important concern when researching,

because, it is in this way that a research can offer a complete confidence and security to

its readers. When the researcher avoids any issue about expressing fabricated ideas

and become his/her research into a work full of considerations, it has been evidenced

validity and reliability on this work. In relation to ethical, validity and reliability

considerations, the main source of ideas was Merriam (1998). According to Merriam

about reliability, it is consider the innovation in a topic, overall in a topic that has been

taken into account as an important issue few years ago. The promotion of citizenship

competence since learning a foreign language could be taken as an innovative way for

boarding human and social aspects in this country. Besides, this situation about a

context just used, the participants from a characteristic place and the use of English

subject as a tool for developing social aspects make of this study offer new findings and

becoming it an innovation.

3.2.1 Ethical considerations

87

Warranting validity and reliability in qualitative research, Merriam argues about

“involves conducting the investigation in an ethical manner” Merriam (1998: 198).So the

ethical considerations start there. First and in terms of validity, the whole group of

eleventh grade was participant in the development of the reflective logs, and six

students were chosen at random, second, a formal written permission from principle and

students‟ parents were obtained (See Annex Nº 1). A final observation about ethics

refers to the identity of the participants which is not revealed. They are called,

Participant 1, Participant 2 and Participant 3.

According to Merriam‟s experience of research and the literature on the topic,

she mentions six strategies to bring about „internal validity‟ (P:204). From the six

strategies the ones that I employed were:

  • “Triangulation”. This is related to the connections made between the common

and relevant issues found and determined in the three instruments. Namely, the

last process was a description of reality made here is constructed under the

triangulation of the instruments.

  • Peer examination”. Here the sharing about the process and procedures for

developing this study was discussed and clarified with two of my equals.

5.1 FINDINGS

After having a consciousness process of reading and analyzing the information

resulting from the data a core category came out, in terms of a unit of a larger whole

88

made up of members sharing one or more characteristics. The next paragraphs will

describe the core category named metaphorically “Hatching the egg that people

created around me” and its sub-category “Evolving: going from thinking to action”.

5.1.1 Hatching (out) the egg people created around me

Hatching out is the final step of the natural process of being born proper of some

animals. Inside the shell is an alive being called embryo, it grows independently but it is

limited by the shell provided by nature. The amazing marvel of nature is that it must be

the animal itself (a bird for example) that first pick the shell from inside, otherwise it

would die. This phenomenon is necessary to prolong life. This process only happens

when the bird is big enough to become part of a bigger world where interaction is

needed.

The participants of this study, as embryos, are surrounded by social and cultural

aspects expressed as ideas, conceptions, and beliefs transmitted by people around,

these aspects become the shell that limit students‟ growth to the conception of

individualism. In a regular class, participants believe firmly that their ideas are the truth

and they should be adopted for the others, students care just for themselves unknowing

the others. Aggressiveness appeared when a student wanted to defend his/her ideas

and others wanted to impose theirs, then shouts, fights and negative behaviours

obstructed the living in peace together. Something similar happened first when moral

dilemmas discussions workshops were implemented. Most of the times, for a moral

89

dilemma students gave solutions that they believed were right (based on conceptions

constructed at home and school) sometimes the posing of solutions become arguments.

The classroom as a community to which participants belong to, demand from

them the step in their developing as social beings, they need to pick the shell to hatching

out from themselves to realize the presence of the others, and to unveil realities

impossible to be identified from inside. Moral dilemmas discussions workshops let

students decentralize themselves through the interaction generated from group work.

(discussion - interaction). It happened, when they started listen other options from their

classmates and reflected that those options could be better, they realized that

everything people said was not true and right.

Despite they were immersed in certain ideas and situations fixed by society, they

were not aware of other possibilities could be there. It could be like breaking the

paradigm they had. They noticed they knew just a small part of knowledge from the

whole. They felt like around them was a wall that avoided them to know some things.

Then students were like chickens that had to break and come out the shell to realize that

outside, what people said was not only the one. Then, they started to look for their own

way of perceiving the outside world (when a bird pick everything) as they were hungry

and could ate everything that appear in front of them. This last step is referred to the

sub-category: “Evolving: from thinking o action”

90

Last statements have explained what the core category and sub - category

means, through a parallel with the natural process of hatching the eggshell. Next, the

evidence which became the foundation of them is presented. This evidence contains

participants‟ thoughts or ideas that support what was said before and during the process

which gave the road to the emergent core category “Hatching out the eggshell”, and

its sub category “Evolving: from thinking o action”.

Participants revealed about the ideas fixed by people who surrounded them the

following: “en un principio, yo pensaba que la estrategia era como si ya estuviera determinada, como si

ya eso fuera digamos lo más exacto, pero pues al transcurso, los caminos ya tienen una variabilidad …

las opciones que me daban era que no todo esta escrito por ejemplo, que las cosas pueden variar, que

no todo puede ser tan exacto, como tan encerrado, tan encerrado como no lo dan a nosotros, si no que

nosotros mismos también podemos cambiar” (Interview Nº 3, line 305-313) 7

Student 4 agrees with the former idea, when she said: “… o sea dependiendo de esos

dilemas ehhh en mi vida he aprendido, osea visto realmente lo que sucede en nuestra sociedad. Y eso….

osea, antes yo no sabía ni como manejar eso porque igual la gente pensaba diferente, osea hay gente

que tienen una mentalidad de… osea antigua, que en la antigüedad ose habían cosas que eran malas,

osea no se podía ni hablar de eso y ahorita una ya puede entender las cosas, porque pasan y porque a

veces la gente comete tantos errores, pues porque a veces no están bien… no están bien comunicados

ni saben que significa eso, ni que les puede pasar”. (Interview Nº3, line 498-506)

7 Data was not edited in order to preserve its nature.

91

Thus, in order to identify students‟ perceptions about citizenship competences, it

was observed that students perceived as chickens, according to this metaphor, had to

peck the eggshell, break it and came out in order to see what reality outside is all about.

This process was developed when students had the opportunity to discuss and confront

their own ideas with othersones. This moment could be an awakening. When students

analyzed, reflected, understood contrasting other points of view, and when they figured

out possible solutions to situations they had to face up in their daily life, they activated

their mind while they thought. This little step mentioned about analyzing, reflecting and

comprehending situations activated students‟ mind and became the core to enable

students to accept the others‟ existence as well as to contrast their own knowledge

when taking the best and most feasible solutions in their lives.

Student 3, in regards to the last one, said: “Las opciones que me daban era que todo no

esta escrito por ejemplo, que las cosas pueden variar, que no todo puede ser tan exacto como tan

encerrado, como no lo dan a nosotros, sino que nosotros mismos también podemos cambiar” (Interview

No. 3, lines 310-313)

Student 2 also expresses about that: “yo también pienso que esos dilemas nos han

enseñado a osea a saber pensar más sobre nuestro futuro… a saber que más tarde vamos a tener

problemas y que debemos pensar muy bien las soluciones la soluciones que vamos a darle a esos

problemas” (Interview 2, line 350-353)

Student 3 said that: Pues en algunas ocasiones había mucha confrontación, porque habían

personas que digamos que en algunos temas eran muy conservadoras, hay otras que en algunos temas

eran muy liberales, entonces como que había mucha confrontación. Pero cuando uno…. Digamos….

92

Estaba en un mismo grupo de digamos en pro o en contra, entonces las ideas…. Aunque eran muy

similares había otras ideas que eran como muy globales y tal vez que lo hacían pensar más a uno.

(Interview No. 3, lines 377-384), later, the same students expressed that: … haber, el proceso

era como una revolución de ideas porque uno ya tenia una concepción directa de algo que se estaba

tratando implícitamente ahí en el mismo dilema, pero habían otras ideas que digamos por religión por

algunas otras cosas entonces como que se chocaban esas misma ideas, entonces uno trataba de

agrupar las ideas que iban en pro y las ideas que iban en contra, y si la mayoría eran propias entonces

uno se iba a favor de eso… pero era como algo así, y por ejemplo habían personas que uno estaba en

posición de pro bajo ese dilema, si? y habían personas que estaban en contra pero daban sus razones

que eran muy válidas, entonces como que una se quedaba pensando, reflexionaba muchísimo, sí.

(Interview· 3, lines 407-417)

Another important aspect identified in the core category has to do with the

interaction. Students mutually listened, respected and shared opinions; students‟

positions were influenced by their classmates‟ ideas. They worked together to find

solutions. In this way, students could perceive that group work helped them to realize

that it is possible to live in peace with others by assuming the responsibility of fulfilling

agreements and assuming individual and social consequences, in other words, by

developing citizenship competences.

Student 3 said: “porque… pues nosotros somos seres sociales, entonces necesitamos todo el

tiempo entrar en contacto con las otras personas relacionarnos, ehhhh no sólo académicamente sino a

nivel de comportamientos… entonces yo creo que se desarrollan básicamente por eso, porque nosotros

necesitamos estar…. estar todo el tiempo ehhh con los demás, compartir con los demás, si tenemos

algún problema solucionarlo con los demás, si nosotros nos sentimos mal o tenemos algún problema allá

93

en la casa, nosotros nos desahogamos con los demás y eso y eso es como un constante proceso que

nosotros nos vemos envueltos y por eso pues yo creo que se desarrollan las competencias porque se

ven diferentes situaciones”. (Interview No. 2, line 136-146)

Student 4 affirmed: Pues yo creo que las actividades grupales son una forma para aprender

a convivir, para desarrollar nuestras competencias, porque ahí aprendemos que los demás piensan una

forma diferente a la de nosotros, que es una forma muy buena para relacionarnos y saber que una

sociedad nos espera afuera por la cual nosotros tenemos que aprender a convivir y que todo el mundo no

piensa igual”, (Interview No. 2, line 150-155)

Student 1 argued: Pues para mi fue distinto que al de las otras clases, porque ahí ellos van…

digamos uno se hace con otras personas que no son siempre las mismas, porque en el primer taller

siempre uno se queda pues con la rosca, no? Porque ahí que los amigos… y ya los últimos talleres ellos

pensaban diferente a lo que pensaba yo, pues yo me hacía con los que pensaran lo mismo que yo,

entonces me hacia con ellos y trabajaba con ellos… Cómo que en un taller estuve con unos compañeros

que me gustó, porque ellos eran un poquito desjuiciaditos y en ese taller como que se pusieron las pilas,

como que dieron el punto de vista que era… “y bien y no se que…” y a no dejarnos de los otros porque

es que nosotros tenemos la razón, pero entonces ahí uno va como comprendiendo, como asimilando las

cosas mejor. (Interview No. 3, lines 134-146)

Student 4 also stated that: fue distinto porque igual ehhh algo que aprendimos creo que la

mayoría del grupo fue que todo el mundo debe opinar, y pues todos debemos tratar de llegar a una

solución de trabajo, osea digamos que nos dejan un taller si? osea o alguna problemática en el salón,

entonces ya habíamos un grupo y entonces siempre era lo que diga el, lo que diga el y lo que diga el esta

bien. Entonces si… si… entonces ahí aprendimos que cada uno debe aportar aunque sea un pedacito, y

tratar como de refutar las dudas y las cosas que no les parezcan, o que no que si esta bien, o a veces no

94

es que a mi no me parece que es por ese lado sino por ese, entonces ahí había mejor… un trabajo mejor

de grupo, porque es que antes sólo pensaba uno y el resto se quedaba callado. (Interview No. 3, lines

580-610)

The possibility of working in groups made students accept the others‟ positions

and to realize that they think differently. They assumed that this fact did not mean the

others were wrong. On the contrary, students assumed that this little step helped them

to confront and to understand that their decisions could be wrong.

Student 1: Pues sí, ehhhh por ejemplo cuandoosi, daban los puntos de vista de ellos, yo

los pensaba analizaba, igual a veces también pensaba, si ellos tienen la razón… en alguna discusión,

creo que sí, que lo que ellos dicen es cierto, pero es que también hay que ver tal cosa, si? Osea de todas

maneras uno no tienen que irse al extremo, que los puntos míos son los míos y que no se que…. Y uno

tiene que ser prudente porque ellos también pueden tener la razón. Entonces en algunos momentos,

cuando ellos me daban sus razones, yo las meditaba, las acomodaba y si le hallaba, ellos también tienen

la razón, pero pues se trata de buscar lo correcto y a mi caso eso era lo correcto, aunque en ninguno

llegué a cambiar de decisión., no? (Interview No. 3, line 71-81)

Student 4 said: “Pues o sea… lo que dice mi compañera… una forma de vivir es esa, porque todo el

mundo no va a pensar igual por más que … que les guste algunas cosas… las mismas cosas siempre va

a haber algo que los… que los… lo que cada persona piensa, o sea ahí …. Nos damos de cuenta que

todo el mundo no piensa igual, que todos tenemos una manera diferente de pensar y eso nos ayuda a

que o sea a que nosotros entendamos a las demás personas y busquemos entre los dos una solución al

problema por el cual estamos discutiendo, podemos encontrar, o sea… aportar cada uno su granito de

arena para encontrar la solución a ese problema.” (Interview No.2, line 203-211)

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Facing up this situation would lead students to a step we could conceive as a

„thinking step‟. At this point, students had been realized that they were not the only ones

in the world, and when they listened carefully to others‟ options, they started to reflect