14 SES 02 A, Community Participation & Agency against Educational Exclusion
This paper discusses preliminary results of a broader research project, focusing on the voices behind a set of socio-educational practices, developed in Portugal, aimed towards overcoming school failure and dropout, giving particular attention to the local and innovative dimensions. This research strives to understand the points of view of the several actors involved, about which factors, processes and relationships contribute the most to building successful inclusive practices. From previous research, we understand that the viewpoints of different participants about some of these practices can contribute to elucidate why, and in what aspects, they are welcomed by the students, or which processes and rationales inspire the questions advanced by the teachers. Aspirations to ‘another education’, the understanding of critical dimensions of practices on the field and efforts to change socio-educational relationships can be apprehended among the actors involved in the practices (Sá & Antunes, 2012).
School failure and dropout became an educational and socio-political issue in a context wherein the school asserted itself as an institution for the socialization of the species (Candeias, 2009), as it expanded its action across virtually every country in the world and every child and young person (and adult) in each country, during an increasingly long period of the life cycle (Ramirez and Boli, 1987; Perrenoud, 2000). The European Union, in the Education & Training 2010 Programme (Council of the European Union, 2002) adopted the benchmark of no more than 10% of young people dropping out of school early. In this framework, school failure and dropout acquired a higher socio-political, academic, scientific and educational priority, visibility and centrality, even if with some specificity according to each country’s historical and institutional background. Portugal is one of the EU state-members with higher levels of early school leaving and the one that most significantly reduced these scores over the past fifteen years (European Commission, 2017). Nevertheless, there is still room to question the theoretical and empirical grounds of such policies and practices, and to discuss their contribution to our understanding of educational processes.
As many countries, Portugal has, since the 1980s, been the stage of a series of policies, programmes and practices developed with the purpose of overcoming school failure and dropout. Assessments on these issues highlighted a contextual and diverse appropriation of said policies; the teachers' perspectives about students; and the multiple rationales underlying their conception and implementation (Canário, Alves and Rolo, 2001; Neves, Ferraz and Nata, 2016). More recently, an external evaluation highlighted how one of the above mentioned programmes contributed to reducing dropout and grade retention in participating schools, even though subsequent data raises some uncertainty regarding the latter aspect (Figueiredo et al, 2013). Another researcher argued in favour of the positive effects of said programme in reducing dropout rates, detecting a more modest effect on student's academic outcomes (Dias, 2013).
However, the factors influencing school failure and dropout are well known as processes resulting from the interaction between individual, institutional, contextual, family-related and school-related dimensions. There is research about the policies, programmes and practices aimed at these socio-educational problems (Frandji et al, 2009; Ross, 2009; Dale, 2010; Rochex, 2011; Raffo, Dyson and Keer, 2014) and there is knowledge about successful practices in preventing and/or overcoming school failure and dropout (UB/CREA and UM/UEA, 2006; Ross, 2009; Edwards and Downes, 2013; Flecha/Include-Ed Consortium, 2015). Research on inclusion has also pointed out the community’s role within the school, that is, the relevance of community-based local strategies as the framework for change within the school (Abellán, 2016; Hargreaves, Boyle and Harris, 2014; Fullan and Boyle, 2014; Flecha and Soler, 2013; Hargreaves and Shirley, 2012).
The eleven socio-educational practices aimed at overcoming school failure and dropout were identified as successful by their institutional coordinators. Data was gathered through semi-structured interviews. Simultaneously, a documental analysis was developed, contemplating the official information available on each initiative and overall on the two programmes, in an effort to triangulate data. Aside from the interviews and documental data, the project’s first phase was also supported by two fundamental data aggregation and analysis instruments: a Selection Criteria Grid and a Descriptive Note. Both instruments were based on relevant international literature on initiatives to overcome school failure and dropout, and were applied to the information gathered about all eleven practices. While the Selection Criteria Grid had the purpose of ensuring that the initiative(s) corresponded to a definition of “inclusive socio-educational practice”, the Descriptive Note systematized a set of characterization data. The 22 descriptive-analytical synopses (i.e. eleven Grids and eleven Notes) were subjected to two data analysis moments, which supported the construction of the two outcomes for this first year of research: the Panel of Practices and the Portfolio of Practices. For the panel, the research sub-team in charge of gathering data elaborated each practice’s Grid and Note, based on the interview(s), informal contacts, documents and field notes. Data resulting from those initial eleven Grids and eleven Notes was subjected to a transversal analysis. For the Portfolio, the information gathered by each sub-team was fully categorized and triangulated, incorporating data stemming from a broader set of documental data pertaining to each practice, by an ‘external’ element. Discussion will focus on the Portfolio of Practices (instead of the Panel). From the research team’s point of view, the Grids and Notes that constitute said Portfolio are more substantial as elements of characterization for the eleven practices under study, as they emerge from a comprehensive categorization/grounding effort, based on the triangulation and validation of several information sources. From one milestone to the next, not only was our understanding of these practices deepened, so was our knowledge of what an “inclusive socio-educational practice” is. The two analyses differ in aspects that potentiate a critical reading of our data collection/analysis instruments, but also of the processes, factors and partnerships that, from the point of view of the people responsible, contribute the most for building inclusive socio-educational practices.
This research is founded in the principle that inclusive socio-educational practices share a common ground with some of the processes and dynamics that support institutional, collective and individual change. The commonalities and singularities of these practices can be apprehended through multi-case studies, multi-actor perspectives, and individual and collective narratives. From the point of view of the people responsible, the practices that contribute the most to overcoming school failure and dropout fall into one of these categories: Study Support (4 Practices), Student Grouping (3 Practices), Mediation (3 Practices) and Pedagogical Differentiation (1 Practice). Data analysis offers some insight about two core dimensions of said inclusive practices: their innovative quality and their contextualization. These practices seem to have an impact on school-family communication. Formal schooling, as well as the socio-cultural inclusion of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, is seen as relevant. In addition to the impact that these practices seem to have on the development of actual institutional articulation efforts, some impact seems to be confirmed equally on socio-educational relationships, namely school-family communication, importance attributed to formal schooling, socio-cultural inclusion of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. Data seems to warrant a somewhat fragile involvement of families and communities in practices aimed at promoting their youth’s educational success, despite the importance attributed to this dimension by the professionals. They can be characterized as predominantly systemic strategies, with a minority being definable as programmatic; some are addressed to students, others to schools; they generally seek to mitigate or overcome conditions and factors that weaken the youth‘s academic and social commitment to the school; some practices mobilise resources (teachers, additional time and support to learning); others interfere with learning (student grouping, curricular content or pace of learning) and life contexts, in order to confront institutional, situational and dispositional barriers to participation and learning.
Abellán, C. M. A. (2016). “Cómo hacer que las escuelas sean más inclusivas”. Canário, R., Alves, N. & Rolo, C. (2001). Escola e Exclusão Social. Para uma análise crítica da política Teip. Candeias, A. (2009). Educação, Estado e Mercado no século XX. Apontamentos sobre o caso português numa perspectiva comparada. Council of the European Union (2002). “Detailed work programme on the follow-up of the objectives of Education and training systems in Europe” (2002/C 142/01). Dale, R. (2010). Early School Leaving. Lessons from research for policy makers. Dias, M. (2013). “Education and Equality in Portugal: The role of priority Education policies”, Cypriot Journal of Educational Sciences. Edwards, A. & Downes, P. (2013). Alliances for Inclusion. Cross-sector Policy Synergies and Interprofessional Collaboration in around Schools. European Commission (2017). Education and Training Monitor 2017. Figueiredo, A., Feliciano, P., Valente, A. C., Simões, A., Santos, F., Cunha, M. L. & Trindade, S. (2013). Avaliação Estratégica do QREN. Flecha, R. (ed.)/Include-Ed Consortium. 2015. Successful Educational Actions for Inclusion and Social Cohesion in Europe. Flecha, R. & Soler, M. (2013). “Turning difficulties into possibilities: engaging Roma families and students in school through dialogic learning.” Cambridge Journal of Education. Frandji, D., Pincemin, J.-M., Demeuse, M., Greger, D. & Rochex, J.-Y. (2009). "EuroPEP". Fullan, M. & Boyle, A. (2014). Big-city School Reforms. Hargreaves, A., Boyle, A. & Harris, A. (2014). Uplifting Leadership: How Organizations, Teams and Communities Raise Performance. Hargreaves, A. & Shirley, D. (2012). The Global Fourth Way: The quest for educational excellence. Neves, T, Ferraz, H. & Nata, G. (2016). “Social inequality in access to higher education: grade inflation in private schools and the ineffectiveness of compensatory education”, International Studies in Sociology of Education. Perrenoud, P. (2000). Pedagogia Diferenciada. Das Intenções à Acção. Raffo, C., Dyson, A. & Keer, K. (2014). Lessons from Area-based Initiatives in Education and Training. Ramirez, F. O. & Boli, J. (1987). "The political construction of mass schooling: European origins and worldwide institutionalization". Rochex, J.-Y. (2011). “As três idades das políticas de educação prioritária: Uma convergência europeia?”, Educação e Pesquisa. Ross, A. (2009). Educational Policies that Address School Innequality. Overall report. Sá, V. & Antunes, F. (2012). “Uma outra educação? Um lugar de exclusão? Sobre os Cursos de Educação e Formação na voz de alunos e professores”. UB/CREA & UM/UEA (2006). Responses to Challenges of Youth Training in the Knowledge Society. Case Studies of Promising Practice.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.