ERG SES G 06, Policies and Education
Intercultural Education is a growing subject of discussion in a vast majority of European Educational Systems (Gobbo, 2011; Silva & Silva, 2018), given the impact brought by the increasing number of mobilities and new waves of migration in Europe. One of the most important challenge that Europe in the 21st century faces is learn how to deal with the impacts of these new forms of differentiation and multiple identities claims (Cunha, 2008). The educational field, in general, and schools, in particular, represents one of the most challenged ones regarding questions related with multicultural societies, namely in the effect on how pupils are integrated or how curricula might be more inclusive. These schools’ daily challenges take the discussion to a policy and practice level in order to understand how the integration of these fragile communities is promoted and characterized by multiple differences that may originate combined inequalities (Silva, 2016). It is recognized that schools may start local strategies to an intercultural approach aiming to provide a quality education for all students (Soeiro & Pinto, 2006). But who would be the activators? The school board or other school bodies? In this paper, we argue that, beyond the layered challenges faced by professionals who work in diversity contexts, namely ethnic and migrant diversity, we understand that is fundamental a co construction of knowledge and practices to better approach diversity.
In the scope of a PhD project in Educational Sciences, we aim to understand how professionals and young people in educational contexts may collaboratively construct intercultural competences. The concept of intercultural competences demands an interested, curious and with “free-thinking” spirit about communities that have distinctive cultural imprints and the ability to understand and interpret their practices, values and speeches (Huber & Reynolds, 2014). At the same time, these competences settle a relational dimension among those who are involved in the daily interaction. This is the dimension that young people seem to value the most (Silva & Silva, 2018).
Since schools are multicultural contexts, but not always intercultural places (Magalhães & Stoer, 2005; Cortesão, 2011) it’s not surprising that many young people experience exclusion (Ribeiro, 2014) and a sense of strangeness in school (Silva, 2013) but, at the same time, some positive aspects can emerge from the interaction between heterogeneous people (Ribeiro, 2014). Interculturality requires working towards a mutual knowledge and recognition. Despite the Portuguese political guidelines concerning education pointing to the acknowledgement and value of diversity, considering it as an opportunity and a source of learning (General Direction of Education, 2016), the intercultural education in schools is a less expressed reality. There are ways of symbolic violence (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1970) that are implicit in curriculum or visible in classrooms and interactions, with invisible rules that can’t be played and understood by some of the school population, namely to those in disadvantaged situations.
The main goal of this proposal is to highlight the first exploratory results from our research focusing on convergences and/or differences between discourses about politics and practices in what concerns intercultural education in schools’ clusters from Porto Metropolitan Area (PMA), in the north of Portugal. Portugal’s school network is organized in “clusters”. Each cluster includes schools that can offer all education levels: from pre-school to secondary education. Schools inside a cluster have common pedagogical strategies, are involved in the same projects and share the administration bodies. We aim to find if schools have intercultural concerns and are following or not the European and national guidelines. Can we see concerns and attention to the question of intercultural and minority communities? What are schools doing to improve the integration of these communities?
Document analysis is a systematic procedure for reviewing or evaluating documents-both printed and electronic (Bowen, 2009) and assumes to be an important way of data collection in an era of easy access to documents and important information. This proposal results empirically from two different types of data: 1st) document analysis (Bowen, 2009; Punch, 2014) of “Educational Projects” from 104 schools’ clusters in PMA. In Portugal, each cluster is developing its main activity under an “Educational Project” (EP), a reference document in which are included contextualized educational priorities and works as a guide to inform all educational practices for four years. Besides EP, schools have a reference document called “Annual Plan of Activities” (APA) where they present the activities that will be developed in that school year. Literature suggests that documents, both historical and contemporary, are a rich source of data for research in social sciences (Punch, 2014). The document analysis involved the following procedures: - Researching of all the schools’ clusters in PMA on the Portuguese General Direction of Education website, leading to … schools. - Researching of the EP on the school’s clusters websites, leading only to 104 schools’ clusters had the EP available; - The search looked for schools that described, in their EP, the type of student’s population: ethnicity, migrant background, social class and other information about their population and projects/practices that can promote integration and/or an understanding about multiculturalism and approaches to an intercultural education; - Giving the previous information, we separated schools that have intercultural concerns from those that don’t have these concerns based on EP analysis. EP document analyses showed us that from the 104 schools only 14 from PMA have these concerns explicit in their EP; - Then, we analyzed APA documents from the 14 schools that have intercultural concerns searching for activities related with intercultural education. 2nd) We contacted the 14 schools to interview their school directors to understand better the school context, their practices, projects and real concerns with intercultural education. We consider that semi structured interviews are the most valuable way to capture the discourses about the participants reality (this data collection is now ongoing)
From the EP document analysis we were able to divide the discourses in 13 most important dimensions: 1) aims to be an inclusive school; 2) multicultural and multilingual education; 3) attention/respect for diversity/differences and individuality; 4) promote equality/equity; 5) presents nationalities and ethnicities of students; 6) projects/initiatives/inclusive practices/integration; 7) promote attitudes of tolerance and solidarity; 8) looking for justice; 9) attention to Portuguese non-mother tongue; 10) promoting multiculturality/interculturality/ intercultural dialogue; 11) ethnic-cultural related problems; 12) equal opportunities (“for all”); 13) adequacy of strategies/pedagogical differentiation. The dimensions that are more cited in EP are those related to attention and respect for diversity as fundamental values, as well as the need to be an inclusive school. With less expression, the dimensions of equal opportunities, tolerance and solidarity and equality/equity also appears in EP. However, we consider that the concerns with ethnic and cultural diversity are still under-explored in most cases, giving that only 10% of schools have demonstrated this issue. From a primary analysis of the director’s interviews we can conclude that schools have concerns related with ethnic and migrant diversity, namely related to integration outcomes. However they don’t present specific activities, projects or intentions planed. This integration work seems to be done in a not intentionally way and doesn’t have structured organization or moments. We can conclude that, besides this concern related to migrant’s integration, schools don’t seem to demonstrate that diversity is a problem or a question. In most cases, diversity is seen as a source of knowledge and as an opportunity to discuss global issues. In the end, we would be able to divide these discourses by different typologies to diversity approaches.
Bourdieu, P., & Passeron, J. (1970). A Reprodução: Elementos para uma Teoria do Sistema de ensino. Lisboa: Veja. Bowen, G.. (2009). Document Analysis as a Qualitative Research Method. Qualitative Research Journal, 9, 27 – 40. Cunha, T. (2008). A New Impetus to Intercultural Learning: Questioning Concepts and Practices. In Gonçalves, Susana (Ed.). Identity, Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue (87-100). Coimbra: Proceedings of the 5th International Week of ESEC. Cortesão, L. (2011). Ser professor: um ofício em risco de extinção?: reflexões sobre práticas educativas face à diversidade, no limiar do século XXI. São Paulo: Cortez Editora. General Direction of Education (2016). Agenda Europeia para as Migrações – Guia de Acolhimento: Educação Pré-Escolar, Ensino Básico, Ensino Secundário. Lisboa: Direcção-Geral de Educação. Gobbo, F. (2011). Ethnographic Research in Multicultural Educational Contexts as a Contribution to Intercultural Dialogue. Policy Futures in Education, (9)1, pp. 35-42. Huber, J., & Reynolds, C. (2014). Developing intercultural competence through education. Brussels: Council of Europe. Magalhães, A., & Stoer, S. (2005). «A Diferença Somos Nós» A Gestão da Mudança Social e as Políticas Educativas e Sociais. Porto: Edições Afrontamento. Punch, K. (2014). Social research: Quantitative & Qualitative Approaches. London: SAGE Publications. Ribeiro, N. (2014). Educação e Cidadania de Jovens e Imigrantes: Constrangimentos e Possibilidades de Participação Cívica e Política. Tese de Doutoramento, Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação da Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal. Silva, S. M. (2013). Condição de Estranheza e Relação com o Mundo da Escola. In Manuel Matos (Ed.), Jovales – Jovens, Alunos e Ensino Secundário. Porto: CIIE/Livpsic. 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, D. & Silva, S. M. (2018). Conhecer contextos, conhecer profissionais: Contributo para explorar o desenvolvimento de competências interculturais em contextos educativos. Revista Portuguesa de Educação, 31(1), pp. 38-60. DOI: https://doi.org/10.21814/rpe.10278 Soeiro, A. & Pinto, M. (2006). O Projeto Inter e a Educação Intercultural. In Bizarro, Rosa (Org.). Como abordar… A Escola e a Diversidade Cultural (114-120). Perafita: Areal Editores
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