Decoding the Disciplines

The Decoding approach is a guide to identifying bottlenecks in teaching topics and processes that are discipline-specific, cross-disciplinary, complex, and emotionally charged. The Decoding method focuses on learning bottlenecks in academic disciplines. This involves changing the focus from learning ABOUT a subject to learning HOW to become more expert in the ways of thinking and practicing, which is necessary for successful teaching and learning. This use of Decoding makes it particularly useful to developing critical and reflective thinking. The European Decoding project is also applying the method to the social issues of diversity and intercultural understanding. The Decoding model leads to “intellectual diversity” in thinking in the classroom: to finding different solutions to problems in the field of science, to seeing positions different from those of the author in literature, or, in history, to understanding the values of historical persons without judging them. In short, it teaches the art of critical thinking that is at the root of every European democracy and inter-cultural dialogue at national, regional, and local levels. The Decoding method responds to a dire need, in the EU educational system, for integrative (inter-disciplinary), formal (lecture-based), and alternative (project-based and experiential) means of education, critical thinking, media and digital literacy, as well as professional and intercultural competences. All of this fosters the values of democracy (fundamental rights, respect, and responsible citizenship), alongside the need for a higher degree of social inclusion in European societies.