20 SES 17, Inclusion, Interculturality and Refugees: Approaches and didactics
Libraries, where now are “seen as modern learning hubs close to citizens and (potential) learners,” (Lison & Reip, 2016, p. 9) have been changing and adding new roles and identities to their existing traditional ones. They have been moving beyond the traditional conceptualization of book and culture. Moreover expanding their role in local communities in helping people acquire new skills or improve their skills through different lifelong strategies / opportunities is crucial for social inclusion as well. Lison and Reip (2016) underline that libraries now should offer “a neutral and trusted space for people to create, learn and connect” (p. 9). IFLA also considers public libraries as crucial actors in effective and efficient integration of migrants and refugees. This is exactly the vision we had before we developed the idea of the project. Being a low-threshold public service that everyone can reach, their involvement in projects like LIB(e)RO becomes more important for creating the inclusive societies in which migrants and refugees can take part in every aspect of life.
Implementation of the concept social inclusion in adult education and, in general, in lifelong learning is still relatively new, and especially its wider use for the development of professional training for adult educators, trainers and pedagogical personnel is not common at all. Approaches and requirements for a socially inclusive adult education were combined with spatial concepts in order to be able to illuminate empirically the needs and the needs of the "excluded" individuals (see Mania, 2014). Among these attempts, the LiB(e)Ro project is now the first time that with an adult education perspective, a space for a marginalized group is created in an informal learning location which is accessible to all people of all ages and backgrounds, in order to achieve learning outcomes with regard to language learning and intercultural education
UNESCO (2003) defines inclusive education as “providing appropriate responses to the broad spectrum of learning needs in formal and non-formal educational settings” (p. 7). This is what was aimed in the study, by reaching out the minor and young refugees who are marginalized and have a disadvantaged situation even though it is temporary and supporting them in their learning a new language, a new culture and in starting a new life. As most of these minors and young adult refugees are out of the compulsory school age (See Keser Aschenberger & Kil, 2017), it is important to respond to their learning needs in a flexible and accessible way through e-learning. A non-institutional learning setting, as a library, is a more open and less intimidating place as their main task is not teaching. Thus libraries occupy a crucial place in supporting non-formal and in-formal learning and by transforming libraries into safe and multicultural and inclusive learning environments, they gain a new status. In our case, libraries were used as non-institutional learning space and refugees will be addressed by social workers and librarians. As it was stated in the needs analysis report (See WIFO, 2017) especially those who live in remote rural areas without any access to educational opportunities are in need of low threshold and local offers.
Based on the framework described above, this study aims at providing a framework for using libraries as safe and socially inclusive learning spaces for multicultural/intercultural learning.
This study is part of an EU Project which was conducted in three EU countries, Austria, Germany and Greece. Within the project, mainly a qualitative research methodology was followed. Data was gathered through semi-structured interviews and key documents and best practices. Interviews were conducted with minor refugees, librarians and social workers. In addition, a situational analysis was conducted in each partner country based on policy documents, statistics, and web sources. All these documents were analysed and used to triangulate the results of the study especially at the early stages. .
Based on our preliminary analysis at different levels, it is possible to conclude that there were challenges, problems and inadequacies in relation to both groups we examined. Nonetheless, we identified that both groups are eager and motivated to learn through an online platform and participate in this transformative process where libraries turn into hot spots for learning and where refugees feel more and more included and reach a level of belonging. Of course this transformation is neither easy nor short with immediate impact. It will take time to perform the leap, yet we believe our platform will serve the need in this area, not only with the language learning part for refugees but especially with the part for librarians and social workers. To be able to reach this goal we considered all of the concerns, needs, expectations, critiques and comments from our participants and we will present some recommendations.Further detailed analysis will be conducted and results from the first hand data will be presented.
IFLA/UNESCO. (2012). Multicultural Library Manifesto-Implementation kit. https://www.ifla.org/files/assets/library-services-to-multicultural-populations/publications/ifla-unesco-multicultural-library-manifesto_implementation-kit_2012-12.pdf Lison, B., & Reip, N. (2016). The New Role of Public Libraries in Local Communities. In Research for Cult Committee- The New Role of Public Libraries in Local Communities. Directorate-General or Internal Policies, Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies, Culture and Education. European Parliament: Brussels. Mania, E. (2014). Lernen im Quartier: Sozialraum in der Erwachsenenbildung: Ein Blick in die Praxis und Wissenschaft. Erwachsenenbildung. Vierteljahresschrift für Theorie und Praxis, 60(3), 14-17. UNESCO (2005). Guidelines for Inclusion: Ensuring Access to Education for All. Paris: UNESCO
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