04 SES 16 C, Migrant Children and Reception Contexts: Risks and potentials in inclusive education Part 1
Symposium to be continued in 04 SES 17 C
Education has been recognized as one of the most powerful tools for stimulating social inclusion of migrant children. Schools and their curricula contribute to acquiring knowledge, developing understanding and skills, positive attitudes and values. The paper discusses the social knowledge and practices needed for achieving inclusive societies, focusing particularly on school environments, which are one of the main drivers of social change and central places of identity construction. The paper concentrates particularly on child-centered approach to education, for two main reasons. Firstly, for this approach strives to discover children’s abilities, passions and skills through questioning, problem solving, independent thinking, innovation and creativity. Secondly, because it encourages the children to cooperate with each other and communicate in search for answers. In this way child-centered approach enhances communication skills and active learning while at the same boosts collaboration with peers and provided caring and supportive learning environment (Bansberg, 2003). Child-centered approach is thus seen as an approach that builds on children’s skills and agency and allows them to work together as a group on goals that cannot be accomplished individually. The paper presents four key dimensions of the child-centered learning, that is knowledge-centered, learner-centered, assessment-centered, and community-centered (National Research Council, 1999). Knowledge-centered learning stresses students developing their knowledge to facilitate it in new contexts in open-ended challenges such as problem-solving, creative and critical thinking. Learner-centered environment on the other hand stresses students as co-creators in the learning process, as individuals with ideas and issues that deserve attention and consideration (McCombs and Whistler, 1997), while assessment-centered learning environments provide opportunities for feedback and improvement throughout evaluation and judgment at the end of the learning process (Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick, 2006). Finally, community-centered learning identifies individuals as a member of wider community that facilitates purposeful interactions among learners to promote and sustain learning and communication. The paper discusses the potentials of the child-centered approach for developing the responsibilities of children as community members, managing diversity and building a cohesive society. Child-centered approach is analysed as way of guiding children to accept differences and commonalities between themselves and respect for each other; therefore, it is explored as a strategy for building cohesive and inclusive societies on a wider societal level on one hand, as well as for building migrants’ skills and capacities, which is indispensable for their inclusion in society and peer groups on the other hand.
Bansberg, B. (2003). Applying the learner-centered principles to the special case of literacy. Theory into Practice, 42 (2), 142-147. Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T. and Smith, K. A. (1991): Active Learning: Cooperation in the College Classroom. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company. McCombs, B., and Whistler, J. S. (1997): The Learner-Centered Classroom and School: Strategies for Increasing Student Motivation and Achievement. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Michaelson, L. K., Knight, A. B., and Fink, L. D. (2004): Team-Based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing. National Research Council (1999): How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Nesse (2008): Education and migration strategies for integrating migrant children in European schools and societies A synthesis of research findings for policy-makers. European Commission. Nicol, D. J. and Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006): Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education. Vol. 31: 2, pp. 199–218. Thamraksa, C. (2003). Student-centered learning: Demystifying the myth. SLLT, 12, 59 - 70.
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