14 SES 16, Parent Engagement in Diverse Communities
General description on research questions:
Working on the multidimensional and multifactorial nature of social exclusion (Jiménez Ramírez, 2008) we reflect on how the school can be a space for social change.
We analyze how a public school can go beyond the logic of the school as an institution (Mc Laren, 2005) and invest in pedagogical innovation to improve a critical reflection of the people about their condition and their context of life.
In this paper we describe the initiative developed in a public school in a neighborhood of the city of Valencia that is experiencing a deep social transformation related to the environment’s degradation and the ghettoization process.
We began a systematic pedagogical and political analysis on the living conditions of students and their families from an ethnic minority.
Despite the fact that the Spanish model of Roma integration is internationally recognized (Padilla Carmona, González Monteagudo & Soria Vílchez, 2017) and despite the inclusion policies promoted at the national and local level, the Roma community remains in a state of cultural, economic and social marginality and this situation is even more critical for the women (Goienetxea, 2017).
The difficulty of participation in social life makes the gypsy woman the most important advocate to organize future projects against exclusion.
The school embraced the challenge of being a space for social change and opened its doors to a group of mothers from the Roma community.
The condition of school-ghetto became a strength and the local school provided an example of collaboration between institutions, scientific research and families. The women, mothers of some of the students who attend the school, began to collaborate in the curricular proposal and participate in the project Te cuento tu historia (Telling your story) in May 2017.
A collaborative project that focused on the life of the first three years of their children.
The project was exhibited in the school and attended by the families, teaching staff and local institutions. Different methodologies were used; graphic tools, narratives and crochet works; creating and activating a process of self-representation as a means of awareness and interaction between different cultures.
The presentation of the project Te cuento tu historia is the first stage in a journey of collaboration between the Roma community and the local school. The issue that the Roma culture are uninvolved in education was questioned (Padilla Carmona, González Monteagudo & Soria Vílchez, 2017) and for the first time in November 2017, the Roma women were elected on to the school board.
Social change is based on the opportunity to co-construct knowledge (Borda, 2001) and to perceive the community itself as an integral part of society (Touriñán López, 2010).
The formation of critical thinking from early childhood begins with reflection on the context of life, on how it is described and on the possibility of transforming reality through active and conscious participation (Carvajal, 2016).
Establishing a dialogue between the literature of critical pedagogy (Apple, 2004, Biesta, 2012, McLaren, 2005) and the theory of Empowerment (Humphries, 1994; Kabeer; 1992; Léon, 2015; Rowlands, 1997); we want to reflect how the school can be a space for social change and can play a fundamental role in the development of practices aimed at overcoming the condition of social exclusion (Blanco, 2006).
Through a participatory and transformative Action Research, eight Roma women began a path of Empowerment that involves the individual, close relationships and the community (Rowlands, 1997). Participatory research is considered as a tool to investigate reality and transform it (Fals-Borda, 2001); a process that integrates social research, education and action (Hall, 2001). The emancipatory nature of Participatory Action Research is linked into the role that participants play in the search for practical solutions, on a continuous cycle of action and reflection (Reason & Bradbury, 2001). The whole process: from the analysis of the context and the problems, to the management of the resources, the design of the actions to be carried out and the evaluation of the achieved results, allows the development of the necessary skills to activate a real change in their social life (Roose & De Bie, 2008).
In the process of change, the confluence of cultural, temporal and spatial aspects is important. If the cultural and temporal aspects were determined within the process of action research, the space for this change was the school. This is where the participants in the research project have felt the most important socio-psychological changes and where the women participants have begun to interpret their experience and to perceive the results of their actions. This study examines the relationship between the process of Empowerment, its implications on the sense of self-esteem, the self-efficacy and the school as a space for citizenship education. The Action research has provided a conscious participation in social life, against the prejudice and exclusion conditions. The results of this study are related to the here and now in a given context in a neighborhood of the city of Valencia but at the same time, they contain messages of very broad values and hopes, with an important impact on children, teachers and the community (Freire, 1993). The collaboration between the school and the family becomes an opportunity to reflect on the context of life and how it is described. Photographs, articles and reports in the media continue to highlight the marginalization and the social exclusion. In the classroom, the students experience a situation of interaction and cooperation between different cultures and the protagonists of these changes are the women from the Roma community.
Apple, M. W. (2004). Ideology and curriculum. London: Routledge. Biesta, G. (Ed.). (2012). Making sense of education: Fifteen contemporary educational theorists in their own words. London: Springer Science & Business Media. Blanco, G. (2006). La equidad y la inclusión social: uno de los desafíos de la educación y la escuela hoy. REICE. Revista Iberoamericana sobre Calidad, Eficacia y Cambio en Educación, 4(3). 1-15. Borda, O. F. (2001). Participatory (action) research in social theory: Origins and challenges. Handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice, London: Sage, 27-37. Carvajal, M. (2016). La pedagogía praxeológica como componente en el proceso de investigación para la formación ciudadana. Educación y Educadores, 19(3), 416-436. Freire, P. (1993). Pedagogía de la esperanza: un reencuentro con la pedagogía del oprimido. México: Siglo XXI. Goienetxea, U. Z. (2017). Claves hacia el empoderamiento de las mujeres gitanas: un análisis desde el punto de vista de la interseccionalidad. Investigaciones feministas: papeles de estudios de mujeres, feministas y de género, 8(1), 203-222. Hall, B. (2001). I wish this were a poem of practices of participatory research. Handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice, London: Sage, 171-178. Humphries, B. (1994). Empowerment and social research: Elements for an analytic framework. Re-thinking social research: anti-discriminatory approaches in research methodology, Aldershot: Avebury, 185-204. Jiménez Ramírez, M. (2008). Aproximación teórica de la exclusión social: complejidad e imprecisión del término. Consecuencias para el ámbito educativo. Estudios pedagógicos (Valdivia), 34(1), 173-186. Kabeer, N. (1992). Feminist perspectives in development: A critical review. Hilary Hinds, Ann Phoenix & Jackie Stacey (Eds.), Working out: New directions in women's studies, London: The Falmer Press, 101-112. León, M. (2015). El empoderamiento de las mujeres: encuentro del primer y tercer mundos en los estudios de género. Revista de Estudios de Género, La Ventana E-ISSN: 2448-7724, 2(13), 94-106. McLaren, P. (2005). La vida en las escuelas: una introducción a la pedagogía crítica en los fundamentos de la educación. México: Siglo XXI. Padilla Carmona, M. T., González Monteagudo, J., & Soria Vílchez, A. (2017). Gitanos en la Universidad: Un estudio de caso de trayectorias de éxito en la Universidad de Sevilla. Revista de Educación, (377), 187-211. Touriñán López, J. M. (2010). Familia, escuela y sociedad civil. Agentes de educación intercultural. Revista de investigación en educación, 7, 7-36. Reason, P., & Bradbury, H. (Eds.). (2001). Handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice. London: Sage. Roose, R., & De Bie, M. (2008). Children's rights: a challenge for social work. International Social Work, 51(1), 37-46. Rowlands, J. (1997). Questioning empowerment. Oxford: Oxfam.
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