ERG SES E 04, Intercultural Education
“Inclusion and Exclusion, Resources for Educational Research?”, Ecer 2018 Conference Theme, is an important issue to discuss, giving the increase of mobilities and migration in European contemporary society. The educational field, one of the most challenged by these questions, asks for the strategic discussion of policies and practices that promote the integration of fragile communities characterized by multiple differences and diversities that can origin inequalities (Silva, 2016). In this discussion challenges to professionals who work in diversity contexts, are included, specifically those who work with ethnic and migrant diversity.
In this context arises a PhD project, which main goal is to understand how professionals and young people in educational contexts construct, collaboratively, intercultural competencies. The concept of intercultural competencies has been usedto define the capacity to respond successfully to types of situations which present tasks, difficulties or challenges for the individual, either individually or together with others (Huber & Reynolds, 2014). We are aware that this could be a controversial concept considering the etymology of word. However, one of the goals with this proposal is to discuss the use of the concept itself. There are studies (Flartis & Severiens, 2017) that emphasize the importance to develop competences concerning: language development, pedagogy/didatics, social psychology and school-community relationships and parental involvement.
The main goal of this proposal is to discuss the relevance of using participatory methodologies in our study.
We are in a period of paradigms transition (Santos, 2002) in which the scrutiny of marginal voices has been more relevant and where we “run away” of a historical centralism to the local and global narratives (Hall, 2003). When we state that we want to listen to these voices, we are giving clues about what is our standpoint and our paradigm. If we seek to listen to the voices and to the multiple senses that people give to social and social phenomena’s, we are inside a “qualitative paradigm” (Silva, 2011) in which its methodologies suggest the understanding of behaviors from the research participants perspectives (Bogdan & Biklen, 1994). In a qualitative paradigm, the concept of voice has been used to understand the importance of perspectives and senses of marginalized and wronged groups and can report injustices that they have been living. The “voice” emerges as a meaning of empowerment and agency and is a heuristic concept to assure and defend a representation and participation policy (Fonseca, 2009). This just makes sense in an ethical and reflexive practice inside an “listening epistemology” (Berger, 2009) that allows the emancipatory change and transformative action. It is within this spirit that we aim to produce a research project involving young people in every possible phase. Our vision is that youth can be “knowledge producers” and not simply “sources of data” (Ollner, 2010). Participatory methodologies are increasingly being used in research with young people. This practice emerges from a desire to reduce problematic distributions of power in research and to construct knowledge with young people rather than for them (Fox, 2013).
In diversity contexts, it is recognized the importance of different perspectives in the research process. For youth in low-income communities with minority background, participatory research represents a host of unique opportunities to enhance and strengthen emancipatory research (Ginwright, 2008). The multiplicity of voices inside one context may be respected and we think that there is no better way to do that than with the resource of participatory methodologies.
There are no strict rules for what constitutes participatory research or even clarity about the ‘essential ingredient’ (Bourke, 2009). However, Bourke (2009) gives us an operational definition of participatory research as ‘a research process which involves those being researched in the decision-making and conduct of the research, including project planning, research design, data collection and analysis, and/or the distribution and application of research findings’. The ways and extent of this collaboration may vary from participants being involved in some, or every aspect of the research process, including establishing research priorities and setting research questions, collecting and interpreting data (Clark et al. 2009) and disseminating results. In our project we aim to involve young people from schools with significant minority background population. We predict some difficulties in the access of schools, so we intent to recognize the contexts first and, then, select those that seem more open to our ideas and project. In this way, we thought to involve young people (14 to 28 years old) from these contexts in the elaboration of the focus group scripts with questions that they might consider relevant to discuss the development of intercultural competencies in educational contexts. The focus group discussion is a research technique that collects data through group interaction on a topic (Morgan, 1996). We aim to involve young people in the development of this technic, so they can have a voice to say what they find relevant to discuss on this topic. We also want to involve the same young people in the data collection of statistics and theory about the reality and the phenomena that we are analyzing. We are aware that this will only be possible depending on the local people’s willingness to participate. As we mentioned before, the school context is not an easy context to be accessed in Portugal. It all depends on the willingness of head teachers and young people’s availability to participate in those activities. To manage some difficulties in entering the school context, eventually we may appeal to other informal and non-formal educational contexts where young people have more time and willingness to participate. We understand that school contexts have its own time and planning, so we can appeal to other educational contexts to work better on this method.
As we mentioned before, this paper aims to contribute to discuss about the methodology used in an ongoing PhD Project. The main purpose of the project is to know more about how young people and professionals in educational contexts construct, collaboratively, intercultural competences. As our focus is on the collaborative approach, we want to discuss and understand how this methodology can lead us to a better understanding of our research object. A brief research on Open Access Scientific Repository of Portugal [RCAAP] (national and international productions) shows us that there is a lot of production concerning intercultural competencies, but not specifically with young people and/or using participatory research. In this sense, we expect to contribute to scientific production on an insufficiently researched subject. At the same time, we hope that this methodology could have an impact, not only in the research project itself, but on all the people involved. Participatory research can potentially impact on: the participants, making them think about their thoughts, knowledges and practices; the researcher, affecting the theories draw from the research for practice; the project itself through the design, rigor and trustworthiness of the process and the knowledge about practice (Foster & Young, 2015).
Berger, G. (2009). A Investigação em Educação. Modelos socioepistemológicos e inserção institucional. Educação, Sociedade & Culturas, 28, 175-192. Bogdan, R., & Biklen, S. (1994). Investigação qualitativa em educação: Uma introdução à teoria e aos métodos. Porto: Porto Editora. Bourke, L. (2009). Reflections on doing participatory research in health: Participation, method and power. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 12(5), 457–474. Clark, A., Holland, C., Katz, J. and Peace, S. (2009). Learning to see: lessons from a participatory observation project in public spaces. International journal of social research methodology, 12, 345-360. Flartis, P., & Severiens, S. (2017). Handbook of NAOS Study Visits: A Synthesis of Good Practices in Teachers’ Professional Development in Primary and Secondary Schools. Accessed on January 2018 in http://naos.risbo.org/handbooks/ Fonseca, L. (2009). Justiça social e educação: Vozes, silêncios e ruídos na educação escolar de raparigas ciganas e payas. Porto: Afrontamento. Foster, V. & Young, A. (2015). Reflecting on participatory methodologies: research with parents of babies requiring neonatal care. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 18(1), 91-104. Fox, R. (2013). Resisting participation: critiquing participatory research methodologies with young people. Journal of Youth Studies, 16(8), 986-999. Ginwright, S. (2008). Collective Radical Imagination: Youth Participatory Action Research and the Art of Emancipatory Knowledge. In J. Cammarota & M. Fina (Eds.), Revolutionizing Education: Youth Participatory Action Research in Motion (pp. 13-21). New York: Taylor & Francis. Hall, S. (2003). “Que “negro” é esse na cultura negra?”, In Stuart Hall (Ed.). Da Diáspora: Identidades e mediações culturais (pp. 335-349). Belo Horizonte: Editora UFMG. Huber, J., & Reynolds, C. (2014). Developing intercultural competence through education. Brussels: Council of Europe. Morgan, D. (1996). Focus Groups. Annual Review of Sociology, 22(1), 129-152. Ollner, A. (2010). A Guide to the Literature on Participatory Research with Youth. The Assets Coming Together For Youth Project. Toronto: York University. Santos, B. S. (2002). A Crítica da Razão Indolente: Contra o Desperdício da Experiência. São Paulo: Cortez Editora. Silva, D. (2016). O trabalho educativo com jovens descendentes de imigrantes e de minorias étnicas: competências profissionais, estratégias e políticas de capacitação. Dissertação de Mestrado. Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da educação da Universidade do Porto. Porto, Portugal Silva, S. M. (2011). Da Casa da Juventude aos Confins do Mundo. Etnografia de fragilidades, medos e estratégias juvenis. Porto: Edições Afrontamento.
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