14 SES 05 A, Multidisciplinary Approaches to Learning in and from Urban Spaces: Participatory Research and Innovative Practices - Part 2
Conducting research in urban spaces with marginalized populations raises critical questions about the impact of our methods in those communities. Aiming not only at describing those spaces but also at promoting social transformation, in this paper, we focus on the study conducted using the communicative methodology of research (Gómez, Puigvert & Flecha, 2011) in a deprived urban area located in North-eastern Spain with high percentages of migrant and minority population. The case analysed here presents a particular process of transforming the school into a Learning Community (Flecha & Soler, 2013). Since 2001, researchers have followed this case over time using communicative daily life stories with teachers, children and family members, as well as communicative observations in classrooms and in non-formal learning spaces. Data has shown the very process of opening the school to the community relies on a dialogic, democratic and inclusive ethos. Decision making processes consisted on assemblies with teachers and family members, among other agents. This participation of all stakeholders has remained sustainable over time, which has been essential address to the needs of the people involved. Thenceforth, with the school being the hub of activity of the neighbourhood, the communicative methodology of research has led to extend the possibilities of mobilization to different social areas (employment, participation, etc.) with the involvement of many different actors (teachers, family members, professionals working in the neighbourhood, researchers, etc.). The leading principle has been the egalitarian dialogue, which implies that all initiatives must be discussed among all stakeholders. This “demonopolitization of expert knowledge” (Beck, Giddens, & Lash, 1994) has allowed contrasting the scientific evidences with the needs and expectations of the residents of the neighbourhood, leading to the generation of new shared knowledge which has been mobilized at the service of the community, promoting new possibilities for social inclusion.
- Beck, U., Giddens, A., & Lash, S. (1994). Reflexive modernization: Politics, tradition and aesthetics in the modern social order. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. - Flecha, R. & Soler, M. (2013). Turning difficulties into possibilities: engaging Roma families and students in school through dialogic learning. Cambridge Journal of Education, 43(4), 451-465. doi: 10.1080/0305764X.2013.819068 - Gómez, A., Puigvert, L., & Flecha R. (2011). Critical Communicative Methodology: Informing real social transformation through research. Qualitative Inquiry, 17(3), 235-245. doi: 10.1177/1077800410397802
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