|Editor||Future Citizens in Europe Ed. Alistair Ross|
Ever since Plato, written language has been recognized as a tool developing both human cognitive capacities and 'episteme', a tool, according to Luria, that reorganizes and raises consciousness on a higher level. It has been even argued that the rise of abstract civic concepts, like justice and welfare, would be impossible in the absence of a written culture on which these concepts would be judged, elaborated and expanded. Thus, the inclusion of writing skills within a citizenship education curriculum is of great value since it helps pupils (1) to organize and develop their thinking, reflect on their ideas and values and communicate their ideas effectively, (2) elaborate their ideas through the confrontation with different stances and through the incorporation of counter-arguments into their syllogism, and c) become more tolerant towards different views. In order to promote the above citizenship education aims we started an intervention program with 5th grade pupils which lasted 5 months. The specific goal of the intervention was the development of pupil's argumentative competencies upon socio-moral issues through means of fading scaffolding and cooperative writing activities. Pupils periodically dealt with socio-moral dilemmas, exchanged ideas and, working cooperatively, produced written texts following rhetoric prompts. Texts pupils produced were evaluated using various criteria referring to both content and text rhetoric.