A ‘Home of Study’: A UFO (Unidentified Foreign Object) in the Dutch ‘Pedagogic Civil Society’?
Ina ter Avest [+]
Dutch Educational Centres (Educatieve Centra Nederland, Centres of Education in the Netherlands , CEN) aim at coaching students - living in two cultures – in their development in formal and informal education. In this article I give a description of a place where youngsters stay, called a ‘home of study’ (situated in or near a mosque), where they dedicate themselves to their homework and where they are coached by volunteer (experienced) ‘peer-experts’ in finding their way and positioning themselves in the Dutch plural society. A ‘home of study’ is a kind of homework-coaching in a homely atmosphere. The population of a ‘home of study’ consists of youngsters who see themselves as ‘Dutchmen with Turkish roots’. Youngsters live in the ‘home of study’ on a voluntary base; most of the (internal and external) coaches are volunteers. In each ‘home of study’ youngsters learn to take responsibility for each other and for the community as a whole. The voice of the youngsters is listened to by way of a Youth Committee and regular interviews and questionnaires. This way of coaching is ‘different’ from what ‘we’ in the Netherlands are used to. However, in an era of radicalization contributing to feelings of fear for what is ‘different’ – possibly leading to exclusion and expulsion – it seems of great urgency to explore teaching and learning of differences, without becoming indifferent. In this contribution I aim at bridging what is familiar and what is unknown, by way of exploring the contribution of this specific way of coaching in a ‘home of study’ and its positionality regarding a ‘pedagogic civil society’ in the Dutch plural society.