14 SES 11 B JS, Transforming the Learning Experience Beyond the School Walls: Creating Inclusive Spaces for Children and Youth in and out of School
Joint Symposium NW 04 and NW 14
In the last decades a great amount of research has gathered plenty of evidence on the importance of linking interactions between school, family and community to improve all children and youth attainment. Such benefits can no longer be achieved without an inclusive approach that may guarantee the right of every single child to succeed academically, socially and emotionally. This challenge affects even more to those students with disadvantaged background, living in poverty or who have special needs. However, in many contexts there is still room to improve the learning environments and learning opportunities these students are offered inside and outside schools, to reduce exclusion and increase learning for all.
In order to improve the educational experience and outcomes of the most disadvantaged students, the impact of research aimed at educational inclusion for all can be enhanced by focusing on the contribution that contexts and agents beyond school can make, including families, community members, community resources and the interrelation among them and with schools. This entails focusing on the analyses of the diverse social contexts of learning and how these can be transformed and coordinated. Conducting research that has the capacity to change educational practice and inform these diverse educational agents and contexts may contribute to increase social impact of research in this field. In the current context in which Social Sciences and Humanities have been questioned, social impact of science has become essential for showing the last meaning for what we do research: improve society and peoples’ lives (Flecha, Soler-Gallart, & Sorde, 2015).
This symposium presents the results of research conducted in different national contexts on creating opportunities for children and young people to transform and improve their learning experience within and beyond the school walls. The first paper analyses the type of afterschool activities in which children from different social and cultural backgrounds participate in England, and how these activities have an impact on children’s attainment, especially for those more disadvantaged. The second paper focuses on a disadvantaged area in the UK, where an analysis of assets available for youth was carried out, counting with young people as co-researchers. The paper discusses the importance of collaboration between communities and professionals in providing the resources that enhance students’ attainment and life opportunities. The third paper studies the Dialogic Literary Gatherings, a dialogic and interactive context of learning implemented in more than 200 schools in Spain, most of them working as Learning Communities. Based on the study of the implementation of DLG in three schools in the Basque Country, the paper analyses their impact on children’s learning and behaviour through the interactions promoted within and beyond school. The fourth paper focuses on the learning communities’ project and their transferability to different contexts. Particularly, a case study has been conducted on the transformation of one adult and youth education school in Brazil into a learning community, showing the opportunities this project brings across countries to improve the educational and social inclusion for those that left school early.
In and out-of-school contexts presented in these studies are achieving inclusive and successful education for all that ensures a maximisation of the learning opportunities, taking advantage of diverse learning contexts, within and out of school, and of the interactions among them.
Flecha, R., Soler-Gallart, M., & Sorde, T. (2015). Social impact: Europe must fund social sciences. Nature, 528(7581), 193. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/528193d
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