Full article (PDF): 00 EGR 5 Editorial Castellano English

In this editorial we resolve to deal with 2014 as a turning point in the development of the theoretical corpus on Global Development Education. It’s a pretentious goal, but also a necessary and appropriate one given the current moment for social agents implicated in one of this field’s common aims: to promote the key role of Development Education in social transformation.

We therefore take on a year full of reviews and opportunities for reflection (the IV conference on Global Development Education, the III Conference on Experiences of Social Transformation, the Post-2015 agenda with DEEEP) that allow us to tackle questions of great importance to DE&GC such as where are we headed, what new lines of debate are emerging in this field, what new challenges can be set, what is the influence of new social movements and how can these movements be linked to Formal, Informal and Non-formal Education.
Precisely as it’s a year of review, we find ourselves at a crucial moment where spaces for dialogue and conferences on interdisciplinary work are vital for sharing ideas, proposals and subsequent conclusions. The lines of research and dialogue that contribute to the theoretical and practical development of DE&GC must deal with the following points, in order to consolidate this process:

1. Creation of a pedagogy of active, transformative participation.
2. Development of interdisciplinary research networks for Global Citizenship on a transnational level.
3. Systematisation of the processes developed.
4. Participatory and transformative research.

There is widespread use of the term participation both in the world of social intervention and that of social movements and NGOs, but we have to draw on our practical memory to be aware of to what extent the development of participation has really been achieved, not just as a working tool but as an active principle in generating transformations. Perhaps social agents’ professional bias imposes practices in which the basic principle of participation is lost: the appropriation of the process by the individual. This is also applicable to the field of pedagogy, and more specifically to the field of educators, where the routine practice of tasks, together with an education system affected by cuts, impedes the generation of these kinds of processes, although this is not always the case.
Creating an active and transformative pedagogy entails teaching and educating a progressive transformation in society’s values, attitudes and behaviour. A global citizenship perspective would also entail a Human Rights Focus that facilitates the development of greater awareness and commitment to social change. But in order to carry out this task, we must introduce a change of concept, and probably paradigm, in education. For this to happen, it will likely be necessary to unlearn what has been learned and start learning again from a more participatory perspective.

This point makes the case for the obvious need for networking in order to generate new lines of work and research in the field of DE and GC. Although the current debate is focused on how to progress towards the consolidation of Development Education as a tool for social transformation, we cannot forget that this debate is conditioned by factors and elements that have already been identified through social and political analysis, such as the fact that we find ourselves in a globalised society, a changing, interdependent world, as well as the eradication of communication borders thanks to the internet. Global Development Education is also a product of this age and we must be aware that its consolidation and continuous improvement is dependent on us taking these elements into account, especially when we understand that transformation is a process that takes place through interaction with other fields and movements. We are also realising that no ideas, processes or actions are created or grow in isolation. Anthropological reflections aside, we are social beings in constant growth thanks to our interactions with others. This is exactly like what happens with networking, and the reason why it is vital that Development Education continues to develop its theoretical and practical corpus in favour of social transformation from a knowledge-generating cooperative network.
As Paulo Freire would say “Man is man and the world is the world. To the extent that both are in a permanent relationship, the man transforming the world suffers the effects of his own transformation.”
Why interdisciplinary? Because no disciplines work alone in isolation either. Just as no one interacts or develops alone but rather in society, interdisciplinary work is similarly enriching. This is especially true in our field of work, given that the social agents participating in this area are extremely diverse: from sociologists, social workers and academic researchers to pedagogues, formal and non-formal educators and many more professionals.

Just as we talk about pedagogical processes aimed at social change and transformation, in DE&GC we also speak of transformation geared towards new lines of study and work that enable the implementation of inclusive strategies in the educational sphere, both in formal and academic education, and consolidate a DE&GC curricular proposal and a clear defence of this field from cuts to its financing.
In this sense, the systematisation of experiences is the methodology that assists in implementing all that has been proposed previously, not only educational and pedagogical experiences, but in any field looking to suggest participatory work and reflection, the “generation of critical knowledge from practice,” as Oscar Jara would describe it.
We can’t forget that the development of DE&GC is closely related to the study and research of new changes in the paradigm, which are especially important to the growth and development of Development Education and Global Citizenship. It is, therefore, an open, ongoing debate, being constructed and reformulated continuously. It is in this process where the systematisation of experiences together with research and evaluation gain importance, given that they are the model to follow in order to propose a turning point in the assimilation and implementation of social transformation in the educational field.

We are used to hearing the word research and automatically thinking of great historical researchers who developed their hypothesis over many years to obtain results, contributing important changes and discoveries to science and people’s lives. That is essentially how it is. But in this case, this journal proposes a democratisation of research in all the fields in which Global Development Education is developed. Firstly, because all research is based on practical experience, empirical facts that need to be systematised and ordered according to a hypothesis. That is what all of us do on a daily basis in our educational practice, specialists, educators, teachers etc. The difference is that this research is not conducted by expert academics but by the very subjects that have the experience. They are the ones to consciously generate knowledge, the theory and results, appropriating the process, the research and the result. They are therefore the active agents, promoters and transformers of change.
In this fifth edition we approach 2014 as a year of reflection and new ways forward with articles that contribute content on these new ways forward for Global Development Education. These articles speak of the paradigm change in Global Citizenship, a specific proposal on the systematisation of educational experiences, the analysis of international networking partnerships between schools from the perspective of Anglo-Saxon global learning, and Popular Education’s proposal for the social transformation of structures based on the participation of indigenous collectives as agents of change.
We hope this new edition constitutes a new wave of perspectives, ideas, questions and reflections that contribute to the work of educators in social transformation.