14 SES 06 A, COVID-19 and Challenges (1)
The need for finding quality educational alternatives in front of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis under the new circumstances associated with it becomes an imperative, especially since the school closing and the everyday activity interruption (Wang et al., 2020). The social, emotional, physical and developmental disorders that can be related to the lack of interactions and the factors derived from the new situation can have a direct impact on child well-being (Brooks et al., 2020). Learning continuation depends more than ever on the strong collaboration of the whole community, with the support of the institutions (Dryden-Peterson, 2020), where family engagement is more and more in the focus (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2020).
In this context, some schools have searched for those educational alternatives for a quality education that favour child well-being during confinement, according to the international scientific recommendations, emerging the Open Doors Actions (ODA) (Roca et al., 2020). ODA are those successful educational actions traditionally implemented in the face to face context, now transferred to homes through virtual means, with the aim of giving continuity to solidary interactions and quality education. This study analyses the Dialogic Literary Gatherings (DLG) transferred to homes, as a specific kind of ODA which was already implemented in more than 3000 schools in the face to face format (Lopez de Aguileta, 2019). It consists of dialogic spaces where participants, without hierarchies, discuss around the best literary works in world history, creating knowledge and meaning collectively while sharing feelings and values (García-Carrión et al., 2020). Among the readings shared in these spaces, which have been read in the analysed DLGs, we can find Oliver Twist (Charles Dickens) or 1984 (George Orwell).
With the aim of understanding their influence on the improvement of the subjective well-being of the students during the home confinement, it has been analysed six DLG from six schools, three of them with more than a 30% of students in a vulnerable situation. From a communicative approach, data were gathered through communicative groups addressed to teachers, communicative life-stories with children and semi-structured interviews with parents, participating a total of 22 people.
The study reveals that there is agreement among the participants (teachers, families and students) on the positive impact that the DLGs exert in different dimensions of subjective child well-being, on the promotion of safe spaces for learning and coexisting, and on emotional development, especially for the most vulnerable students. Among the improvements registered, it was found: (a) according to the educational indicator, an increase in participation and instrumental learning; (b) regarding the social indicator, participants reported an improvement in the feeling of security, communication and quality relationships; (c) attending to the emotional indicator, a reinforcement of friendship bonds among children, and with teachers, as well as an increasing of self-confidence, motivation, empathy, self-esteem, and a sense of happiness. It is also evidenced a clear impact in homes, with families: they have been fostered deeper dialogues between the students and their families, as well as closer ties among them, while, the involvement of families has reciprocally helped to reach a more successful participation of children in education during confinements, and a better performance, especially in students with special educational needs participating in this study.
Participating schools are located in Valencia and Murcia regions (Spain) and are part of the SaLeaCom schools net that has implemented ODAs during confinement after a long path of practising successful educational actions. They were selected those public schools that had implemented online DLGs for at least three weeks, ensuring internet connection for all the pupils, participating 4 primary education schools (3 of them with more than 30% of students in situation of vulnerability, among them, students with special educational needs and others at risk of social exclusion), 1 high school and 1 special education school. According to the techniques, this study gathered data from 6 semi-structured interviews addressed to families (mother or father), 2 communicative focus groups with some teachers from the participating schools (one or two per school) and 6 communicative life stories with some pupils also from all the schools taking part in the study (one student per school). The data collection was carried out online due to lockdown situation in May 2020 along three weeks, exploring the concerns and impressions about virtual DLGs, their appreciation of the impact of those DLGs on welfare and their assessment on the opportunities emerged from the DLGs transferred to homes. The stories were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed following the Communicative Methodology, in the search for the exclusionary elements (those which impede the impact of virtual DLGs) and the transformative elements (those circumstances that make possible success in child-wellbeing through the implementation of online DLGs). The indicators related to subjective child well-being which have been analysed in this study are: (1) the educational dimension, (2) the social dimension and (3) the emotional dimension, but also (4) the impact related to home and families, and (5) future prospects related to the online implementation of DLGs in the new normal.
The results concluded that, according to the subjective child well-being indicators considered (the educational dimension, the social dimension and the emotional dimension), the DLGs transferred to homes during confinement have really impacted on the well-being, but not only in students, but also in their families. This study responds to the international recommendations approaching families and students to a quality education based on a successful action now transferred to the online context, connecting children with the community, and making possible to share concerns in an extreme situation as the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty of the new situation. The challenges arisen in this new situation and the prospects for the future were also shared by the participants, who evidenced their desire to perpetuate this ODA beyond confinement, connecting the school with the home or even with other schools. This study opens new boundaries for a traditional educational action that already succeeds in the face to face format, now making it possible for families, other educational agents, or students from other schools to dialogue and share their views, feelings and interpretations, overcoming physical limitations through virtual means, what expands the impact of this ODA. Consideration of the findings is contemplated in the development of educational public policies for making possible a greater impact for more children on a healthier development.
Brooks, S. K., Webster, R. K., Smith, L. E., Woodland, L., Wessely, S., Greenberg, N., et al. (2020). The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. Lancet, 395, 912–920. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30460-8 Child Welfare Information Gateway (2020). Supporting & Preserving Families. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dryden-Peterson, S. (2020). Learning and Community in a Time of Crisis. Harvard Graduate School of Education. García-Carrión, R., López de Aguileta, G., Padrós, M., and Ramis-Salas, M. (2020). Implications for social impact of dialogic teaching and learning. Front. Psychol., 11, 140. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00140 Lopez de Aguileta, G. (2019). Developing school-relevant language and literacy skills through dialogic literary gatherings. Int. J. Educ. Psychol. 8, 51–71. doi: 10.17583/ijep.2019.4028 Roca, E., Melgar, P., Gairal-Casadó, R., and Pulido-Rodríguez, M. A. (2020). Schools That ‘Open Doors’ to prevent child abuse in confinement by COVID-19. Sustainability, 12, 4685. doi: 10.3390/su12114685 Wang, G., Zhang, Y., Zhao, J., Zhang, J., and Jiang, F. (2020). Mitigate the effects of home confinement on children during the COVID-19 outbreak. Lancet, 395, 945–947. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30547-X
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