Lifelong Learning Programme

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Success Stories

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Citizen Schools Movement (MIEC)
High Secondary School
School bullying
Main actors involved
This movement concerns all the actors of the institutions and schools that wish to transform power-based pyramids into collectives centred on authority (mainly teachers and educators, but also headmasters, parents...)

When, where and how the story took place
The MIEC was created in August 2007, following a training given by Jean-Luc Tilmant (teacher, psycho-pedagogue and specialised trainer), aiming to provide all the actors of school (and out of school) life with tools in order to reduce (or even stop) violence in schools.
In front of the participants’ enthusiasm, it was unanimously decided to create an association respecting the rights of children and school collaborators.

The MIEC’s motto is: “Let’s resist resistances!!!” (Let’s refuse the pyramidal constraint of institutional and school structures).
School can change, emphasizing internal democracy, communities, active learning: the idea is to reclaim values, manage conflicts and emotions, de restore the institution.
This is the purpose of the device “école citoyenne” (school for citizenship, to which were added other devices: chill out space, listening space…) proposed by the movement and adopted by many schools and institutions (around fifty in the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles).
The MIEC adopted a “Charter” it invites everybody to adhere to: ten articles, evaluated and updated every year, according to field realities, which are the base of its action:
1. Human and children’s rights constitute the ethical guide of our field action.
2. We focus our professional preoccupation on the student, and more generally on young people. We use (teaching) methodologies that are adapted to their basic needs. We propose to schools and institutions to train critical citizens who are able to integrate and develop in society.
3. In the democratic school, we are all educators, for we respect and make respect the law negotiated and built with all the actors. We do not yield to societal permissiveness.
4. Setting up a pedagogic team is a guarantee for coherence and efficiency within the school.
5. The pedagogical project is built with all the actors of the institution, which has to be clear in managing its projects. The pyramidal system must give way to a circular system in which all the actors become a driving force for citizenship. Responsibilities are different but everyone is taken into consideration in the democratic assembly.
6. The school and the institution are built in partnership with all the psychosocial and cultural actors within the framework of networks focused on the integration of critical citizens.
7. Positive communication fosters good relationship with students and young people. This approach can be individual or institutionalised (listening space, chill out space). Verbal or non-verbal conflict can make one grow up and become a basis for progress in the relationship. Contact with nature and opening oneself to one’s environment foster socialisation and integration.
8. Evaluation is in no way a segregation or sanction tool.
9. Social science is a pool of resources and strategies for a constant action-research.
10. The charter is assessed and updated each year according to the field reality.

Reasons why the story can be considered as successful.
The MIEC, created with 25 people, has continually developed since then. Currently, around fifty schools have joined the movement within the three very active local sections of the movement (Brussels-Walloon Brabant, Hainaut-Namur, Liège-Luxembourg).

Website of the MIEC:

Starting point of the student
All the difficulties encountered at school: ill-being, low self-esteem, loss of trust in school, need to stand out …
Possible explanation of the success
The devices proposed are concrete, practical. They perfectly meet difficulties encountered at school and their implementation is supervised by the MIEC trainers.
Moreover, these devices bring answers to the priorities of the “Mission” decree of education in the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles:
- to promote confidence and self-development in students,
- to bring all students to master knowledge and achieve skills that make them able to learn all their life and have an active part in social, economic and cultural life,
- to prepare all students to be responsible citizens, able to contribute to the development of a democratic, solidary, pluralist and open-minded society,
- to guarantee for all students equal chances of social development.
(See example on the form “École citoyenne”)
Interaction between the different actors involved
The school keeps its missions to train and educate, which implies there is no equality between adults and students: the formers have expertise and provide services to the latters.
But there is a need to restore dialogue between all the actors, to show everyone deserves respect, to re-invite everyone to behave as citizens, and especially to avoid democratic spaces be mere “empty shells”, which involves a change of “culture” in the school.

Action of educational policy
Most devices set up in “Écoles Citoyennes” fall within pilot projects developed by the Minister of Compulsory Education to fight school violence as well as early school leaving.
But the means obtained in the framework of these occasional projects are very low. There is an urgent need for coordination hours which would be specifically intended to supervise those devices (and thus their survival)!

Transferability potential of the experience
- The devices are transferable to any school/institution provided that its actors adhere to the charter of the MIEC.

20 December 2014

Final Partners’ meeting

The fourth partners’ meeting took place in Florence (IT) on 15 December 2014. The meeting had the objective to check the activities carried out since the third meeting of the project and share and assess the in progress results. A special focus has been dedicated to the presentation of the strategies to solve the case scenarios.