Developing a deeper learning curriculum for 21st century European classrooms:

Pluriliteracies for Democratic Cultures

Date: 23 May – 26 May 2022

Venue: University of Valencia

Teachers from a wide range of subjects (STEAM, social sciences, languages, arts etc.) are welcome to work together in the development and evaluation of multilingual and multidisciplinary deeper learning materials and processes that promote democratic cultures in classrooms across Europe. During summer school teachers select together with experts a range of highly relevant but also often contested topics and develop multi-perspective approaches to these issues using a pluriliteracies approach to teaching for deeper learning (PTDL) in order to promote deeper learning in classrooms all across Europe. Emerging themes might be for instance the narratives of WW II, the history and future shape of the EU, balance of national and European institutions, climate change, migration and demographic development across Europe, the role of technology, etc.


Lifelong learning and innovation skills are widely being recognized as essential qualifications for living and working in increasingly complex environments. This particular blend of knowledge, strategies and skills has been coined 21st century competencies. These competencies are acquired through deeper learning and they can be transferred to new situations and further developed to meet future challenges.

However, it is becoming clear that in addition to preparing learners for the labour market through the development of an advanced knowledge base and the promotion of personal growth, education in Europe also needs to prepare learners for life as active and responsible democratic citizens in the changing and unpredictable world. The obvious fragility of European and other western democracies challenges us to strengthen our ties and to elaborate a shared vision of the future. We are convinced that this process needs to start in schools around Europe and that it is high time to start working on a curriculum for European Citizenship. Would you like to join us to develop democracy education and take it into your own classroom?

Figure 1. Reference Framework of competences for democratic culture

Figure 1: Council of Europe (2018): Reference Framework of competences for democratic culture. Volume 1, p. 38.

In the summer school, these competencies will be tied to specific topics and subjects. It is crucial for teachers to learn more about each other’s perspectives, about the way different countries have experienced and evaluated historic and current events and key issues that concern us all. The shared focus on relevant themes is instructive for the diversity of values, to gain a deeper understanding of the why and how the others’ perspectives are different, and how this drives decision making, the perception of fairness and justice and our pedagogical decisions/approach.

In the summer school, we therefore propose teachers to select key issues and future challenges of European societies to create a deeper learning curriculum for democratic culture together. For the democratic culture across the EU to thrive in the future, it is crucial that a community of learners come together to develop a common vision of key topics for Europe’s future along with ways to teach these topics in such a way as to promote deeper learning.

Envisioned Outcomes:

In the course of the week (cf. preliminary course outline), participants will work together in international teams to design Deeper Learning Episodes as exemplary building blocks of a curriculum for democratic cultures for their specific subjects. Participants will use a pluriliteracies approach to teaching for deeper learning (PTDL) to create materials to promote transferable knowledge and 21st century skills:

To find out more about pluriliteracies approach, please watch the video we have created to describe and explain our pedagogical approach:


We are inviting

  • ideally, teachers with experience teaching in multilingual environments (CLIL, EMILE) (primary to upper secondary)
  • teachers with experience teaching in inclusive environments
  • teachers of social sciences (geography, history), natural sciences (math, physics, biology, chemistry), languages, arts, etc.

Summer School Schedule:

  • The FORTHEM Summer School will take place in Valencia from 23.-26.5.2022
  • Prior to the actual event there will be a kick-off meeting to get to know each other, learn more about the framework for democratic culture and PTDL, develop shared interest and select suitable topics.

Summer School Instructors:

Prof. Dr. Oliver Meyer, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz

Prof. Dr. Do Coyle, University of Edinburgh

Dr. Sirpa Eskelä-Haapanen, University of Jyväskylä

Dr. Eija Aalto, University of Jyväskylä


Travel cost: 400 euros is the average price for a return flight to Valencia

Dinner: You can easily dine for approximately 15 euros in Valencia

After having been accepted to the Summer School, you will receive information about hotels in Valencia with special prices for you. Thus, you will be able to book a double room for single use, breakfast and VAT included, at prices between 67 and 85 euros per night.

Arrival date: Sunday, 22/05/2022

Departure date: Friday, 27/05/2022

We will also give you the opportunity to:

  • book for free a bus+metro card with 10 trips
  • register for free for a city centre guided tour

Cf. Preliminary course outline for further details regarding the programme of the summer school.

  • Please click here to complete the first step of your registration.
  • You will receive an e-mail with the link to our online application form.
  • Click on that link, fill in the form and submit your application.
  • Application period: 1st October - 26th November 2021

Keep in mind that:

  • Only complete applications, submitted via our online form with the compulsory motivation letter, will be accepted.
  • You should ensure that you have received an automatic e-mail acknowledging receipt of your submission.

FORTHEM will select the most suitable candidates and inform them about their admittance to the summer school before Christmas 2021.

FORTHEM Alliance

FORTHEM is a network of seven universities from seven European countries and is united by a shared vision on Europe, the educational mission of European Universities and a strong belief in its multiculturalism and multilingualism. The regional anchoring gives the alliance the capacity to spread the values of a multicultural Europe within the surrounding areas and to ‘bring Europe home’. FORTHEM - Fostering Outreach within European Regions, Transnational Higher Education and Mobility – means to promote the European concept of open society and the exchange of knowledge in its full creative potential – for them –   for the students, for the generations of the future and for society. Enhancing mobility, research and outreach are the central missions of the alliance towards creating a permanent multilateral and European cooperation.

FORTHEM reaches beyond the boundaries of its university campuses: Providing in-service training opportunities for school teachers, building up FORTHEM internship placement networks with local schools and companies, offering professional support for students’ civic engagement and fostering an entrepreneurial mindset are key pillars of FORTHEM’s outreach dimension. Bringing together school teachers from different local communities to discuss school-specific topics from a European perspective paves the way for bringing Europe and the European spirit into classrooms. This is exactly where this international summer school for teachers offered by FORTHEM in May 2022 comes in. 

Do you want to become Alliance’s partner?
Local FORTHEM offices are here to give you all the necessary information.