ERG SES F 05, Parallel Session F 05
When talking about schools as inclusive-oriented institutions we must ensure that the curriculum, teaching methods, classroom management with ways of establishing and maintaining discipline etc., are not exclusive for any student. The role of a teacher to accommodate diverse group of students from different backgrounds, families, cultures, students who have different nationalities, speak another language etc., is very important. In this context, every teacher should be able to develop a high degree of responsibility and sensitivity for addressing individual students.
In this respect the issue of establishing an inclusive school is discussed from the view of a teacher - Roma assistant tandem. A Roma assistant is, according to the existing Strategy for Education of Roma in Slovenia (2004), regarded as a major factor influencing the successful integration of Roma pupils in schools.
The importance of integration of Roma pupils in educational system is emphasized because of the fact that Roma people throughout Europe are known as a minority which suffers from poverty, unemployment and discrimination. Roma people face with high unemployment rates and extremely low educational achievements - about 50 percent of Roma children in Europe do not complete elementary school. The research findings warn us that a lack of education is an obstacle in seeking and obtaining employment, in establishing a healthy lifestyle and in active participation in the society. For these reasons, education is seen as a major concern in relation to the Roma (Political and ... 2005).
When creating conditions for the well being of all children who attend school (and especially for the well being of Roma children), a Roma assistant plays an important role. He or she should build a bridge between both cultures and help both, Roma and non-Roma children (Rona, Lee in Vonta 2006, p. 6). Therefore, he/she represents one of the key elements for a successful inclusion of Roma children in schools (Režek 2007, p. 43). The role of the Roma assistant at the classroom level is seen in terms of overcoming language barriers, providing support for children in the learning process, ensuring the presence of elements of Romani culture in the school and promoting the bilingual culture in the school. The Roma assistant should have an equal access to all professional and other meetings at the school level and should work in a team together with a teacher. The Roma assistant should equally participate in work planning and in evaluation of teamwork (Strategy... 2004).
This research is focused on the issues of: how the Roma assistants perceive and evaluate their role in the school, how their presence in the classroom is evaluated by the teachers, how the teachers include the Roma assistant in the educational process and whether the team-working approach can be identified at the classroom level (if so, in what ways; if not, what are the reasons for it)? What is the difference between conceptions, expectations and experiences of team work by Roma assistants and by teachers?
Jager, J. (2010). Analyzing the conditions enabling a successful inclusion of Roma pupils (Analiza pogojev, ki omogočajo uspešno inkluzijo romskih učencev). Master’s paper. Koper: UP PEF. Kirlova, D., Repaire, V. (2003). The innovatory practices in the field of education of Roma children. Council of Europe, Education of Roma childrenin Europe. Accessible at: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/education/roma/Source/GoodPractice_EN.PDF (14. 8. 2010) Political and Legislative Framework for the Education of Roma Children: Reerence Texts and Support System. Education of Roma Children in Europe, Council of Europe. Accessible at: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/education/roma/Source/texts_systems_EN.PDF (13. 8. 2010) Režek, M. (2007). Roma Teacher Assistants as a Key Condition for Successful Integration of Romani Children into Mainstream Education. In: Mcdonald, C. (ur.), Tanaka, J.(ur.) (2007). Experiences of the Roma Education Initiative: documentation studies highlighting the comprehensive approach. Budapest: Open society institute, pg. 43-48. Strategy of education for Roma in Slovenia (Strategija vzgoje in izobraževanja Romov v Republiki Sloveniji) (2004). Ljubljana: Ministry of Education and Sport (Ministrstvo za šolstvo in šport), pg. 16-17. Accessible at: http://www.mss.gov.si/si/delovna_podrocja/razvoj_solstva/projekti/enake_moznosti/ (7. 7. 2010) Vonta, T. (2006). For a successful integration of Roma children in schools is excellent just good enough. (Za uspešno integracijo romskih otrok v šolo je odlično komaj dovolj dobro). In: Šolsko polje, XVII (2006), Nr. 5/6, pg. 3-28.
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