05 SES 04, Marginality and Exclusion
This paper presents the first results of a research project entitled “Innovation networks for educational and social inclusion: interinstitutional collaboration against school disengagement and dropout” (EDU 2015-68617-C4-3-R). The main objective of this research is to inspire the development of inclusive proposals at the local level (city/neighbourhood) that allow to offer alternatives to overcome school disengagement and desertion through the creation of interinstitutional networks.
This study is based on the previous works by Miller & Jaeger (2011) and Civis & Longas (2015), who highlight the potential of interinstitutional collaboration in the approach of creative solutions to this phenomenon. The authors of the present work begin with the notion that school disengagement and dropout pose one of the main challenges of the current educational system to tackle the high level of school failure (Roca, 2010; Tarabini, 2015). In the case of Andalusia, where this study was conducted, the percentage of early school dropout is 23.1%, according to the data provided by the Institute of Statistics and Cartography of the Council of Economy and Knowledge (2016). Thereby, school disengagement and dropout are targeted as an important focus of investigation in the Spanish regional policies and urgent challenges among the European lines of action.
In the present study, this issue is approached from the critical perspective of Inclusive Education. This involves understanding the phenomenon as a multicausal and procedural occurrence (Fernández Enguita, 2011; González, 2015), which raises from the existence of contextual barriers that derive from the cultural capital and socioeconomic situation of the families, the type and characteristics of the educational centres, gender, or the ethnic and cultural characteristics of the students (Hancock & Zubrick, 2015; Rumberger, 2011). All these need to be identified in order to be overcome. From an inclusive logic, this process involves the identification of barriers and the design and development of proposals, and, from a participatory logic, the generation of research and action procedures and contexts, with the aim of ‘giving voice’ to the people involved in this issue.
How can we approach proposals that tackle school disengagement and dropout from the logic of inclusive research? What resources can we mobilise from interinstitutional collaboration to approach the problem? These are the main questions that inspire this research. From them, the objectives of the study are specified as follows:
- To build bonds, i.e. local interpersonal and interinstitutional relationships, to approach the processes of school disengagement and dropout from a community perspective.
- To create a work and support network between educational centres and social organisations of the same locality or area, to be used a space for collaboration and exchange of knowledge, experience and inclusive practices.
- To adopt a perspective of co-responsibility and critical attitude toward the problem of school disengagement, identifying and analysing the barriers and assistance that schools and educational organisations develop in practice.
- To promote, analyse and assess the development of innovative joint actions (educational centres and social organisations) that, in general, foster the academic and social improvement of the educational community and, in particular, improve the educational conditions of students under a situation of school disengagement.
- To give voice and importance to the different educational agents (students, families, teachers and other staff) from the approach of participatory research, through the creation of face-to-face and virtual collaborative groups.
- To develop and provide the educational community with a map of good practices in the field of educational disengagement.
This study is based on the approach of inclusive research, which is characterised by the fact that it is focused not only on inclusion itself, but also on its promotion (Nind, 2014; Slee, 2011). This allows, on the one hand, to overcome the traditional limits associated with a restrictive study object and, on the other hand, to project from a qualitative and quantitative methodological orientation and to be aware of the definitions, processes and actions created by the people involved in inclusive education (Ainscow, Howes, Farrel & Franklam, 2003). Therefore, the design and nature of the study responds to a participatory investigation (Kemmis, McTaggart & Nixon, 2013), linked to and with common signs of identity with other research groups that define it, also, as a community investigation (Parrilla, Susinos, Gallego & Martínez, 2017). To assume and recognise the community as an entity with identity implies to search its foundation in its strengths, its resources, the egalitarian collaboration of its participants, the social relevance of its problems, mutual learning and long-term commitment. The investigation is developed in three study contexts identified geographically and socially in Andalusia (Spain), in the provinces of Cádiz (Puerto Real), Seville (Dos Hermanas) and Huelva, in which collaborative inquiry groups are set, created ad hoc in each territory as heterogenous, interprofessional and interinstitutional groups. Within these groups, 6 innovative inclusive projects are being developed, approaching school disengagement and dropout from the needs of the context and of the voice of the participants, which are tackled in the research as case studies. The design of this study is cyclic and interactive, and it is structured in 5 phases: 1) preparatory phase, 2) creation of collaborative inquiry groups, 3) design and development of inclusive and participatory innovative projects, 4) identification of learnings and 5) comparative analysis of case studies. We are currently initiating phase 3: the local collaborative inquiry groups have been created, with teachers, associations, local administrators, technical staff of educational and social action entities, students and university researchers. The collection of data was performed by gathering relevant documents from each participating institution, recording the group meetings in audio files, and using fieldnotes, self-reports, interviews, material created by the participants and minutes of the meetings held. For the analysis of the data, a system of thematic and interpretative categories and codes was employed, using the qualitative analysis software MAXQDA 11 for the reduction and handling of the information.
The results obtained in the first phases show benefits and opportunities. We can identify common aspects between the three contexts, such as the development of participatory reflective and action processes, although the projects they implement differ from each other. Different proposals are being carried out with perspectives and participants that respond to the priorities of each scenario. The projects are mainly preventive “school support for everyone”, in Cádiz; “what works for you?” in Seville), palliative (“project support” in Cádiz) and educational (“guidelines to approach school disengagement” in Huelva). The development of this research has made it possible to identify new resources that could be mobilized. It is worth mentioning that the institutions involved are making efforts to connect and redirect already existing actions with the innovative projects initiated that show a more inclusive sense and effect. Although the research has been embraced with enthusiasm in the three areas, its development has shown some limitations on those who are already working together. Among them, the most important are, on the one hand, the scarce tradition of collaborative work and the mutual distrust between local agents, which have generated the need to create novel structures that overcome the current administrative and bureaucratic logics. On the other hand, we also face the weakness of the local associations and volunteers, as well as the difficulties to grant continuity and stability to the novel actions that emerge as valuable, which lack recognition in the official agendas. To conclude, we highlight, at a general level, the evidence that is being shown by the participatory and community research to unchain and promote processes of school improvement, not only to develop new inclusive practices, but also, and more importantly, to generate processes of reflection, awareness and empowerment in the participants and the impact on its closest context.
Ainscow, M., Howes, A. J., Farrell, P., & Frankham, J. (2003). Making sense of the development of inclusive practices. European Journal of Special Needs Education 18 (2), 227–242. Civís, M., y Longás, J. (2015). La colaboración interinstitucional como respuesta al desafío de la inclusión socioeducativa. Análisis de 4 experiencias de trabajo en red a nivel local en Cataluña. Educación XXI. 18, 1, 213-236 Fernández Enguita, M. (2011). Del desapego al desenganche y de este al fracaso escolar. Revista de la Asociación de Sociología de la Educación, 4(3), 255 – 269. González, M. T. (2015). Los centros escolares y su contribución a paliar el desenganche y abandono escolar. Profesorado, Revista de Currículum y Formación del Profesorado, 19(3), 158-176. Instituto de Estadística de Andalucía (2016). Tasa de abandono escolar prematuro por sexo. En Indicadores Sociales de Andalucía. Recuperado de https://www.juntadeandalucia.es/institutodeestadisticaycartografia/indsoc/indicadores/1038.htm Hancock, K. & Zubrick, S. (2015) Children and young people at risk of disengagement from school. The Commissioner for Children and Young People WA Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia. Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., & Nixon, R. (2013). The action research planner: Doing critical participatory action research. Singapore: Springer. Miller, G. y Jaeger, B. (2011). Organizational innovation in the creation of new Methods for retaining young people in education. Lillehammer Folkhighschool: Karlstad University, Roskilde University. Nind, M. (2014). What is inclusive research?. London: Bloomsbury. Parrilla, A., Susinos, T., Gallego, C., & Martinez, B. (2017). Critically Reviewing How We Do Research into Inclusive Education: Four Projects with an Educational and Social Approach. Revista Interuniversitaria de Formación del Profesorado, 89,145-156. Roca, E. (2010). El abandono temprano de la educación y la formación en España. Revista de educación, 1, 31-62. Rumberger, R. W. (2011). Dropping out: Why students drop out of high school and what can be done about it. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Slee, R. (2011). The Irregular School: Exclusion, Schooling and Inclusive Education.Abingdon: Routledge Tarabini, A. (ed.) (2015). Políticas de lucha contra el abandono escolar en España. Madrid: Síntesis.
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