Topic 1: Creating Shared Classroom Values

Extremist behaviour is broadly understood as occupying positions “that are strongly directed against shared values and moral standards within a given society” (European Commission, 2017)

The aim of this topic is to explore the conditions under which we can collaborate with children and youth in order to discover values that can be shared and upheld collectively.

A key part of forming trusting relationships between members of a group is to assert and preserve certain values, which are shared by everyone. This effort contributes also to building a safe space for participation (something that we have visited in previous units).

One approach to achieve this aim is to introduce a collaboratively created framework for conduct. An example of such a framework can be the formulation of a social contract between the group. The members of the group can exchange their individual ideas, agree on them, and articulate them as principles and guidelines for future behaviour.


It is worth noting that the aim of creating shared values would not be meaningfully achieved if the group simply replicates and reproduces values that are already established and might be expressive of dominant social and political narratives.

In line with the critical thinking spirit of the module, the objective should be to facilitate critical reflection that also accounts for elements such as:

  • Contextual awareness and recognition of broader social dynamics
  • A critical mindset, where entrenched values are not left unexamined but interrogated and their validity is discussed.
  • Acknowledgement of different perspectives within the group (political, cultural, personal)
  • Imaginative speculation – i.e. building the capacity, through dialogue, to envision alternative conceptions of shared values
  • Reflection-based action, which will help students reflect on their judgments at a later stage and improve on them
  • Contemplation on the potential consequences of these values for all members of the group.