14 SES 07 A, School-related Transitions Within a Life Course Perspective – Intermediate Phases
Parallel Paper Session
The involvement of local authorities in networking regarding school improvement and achievement is central in a financed research project Building Local Networking in Education? Decision-Makers Discourses on School Achievement and Drop out in Portugal (FCT) that assumes education as a social right for all children (Bernstein 1996). It is the current agenda for local networking connecting local authorities, schools and communities that is at stake here on the education of children and young people, encouraging new and open forms of identity construction, knowledge building and sociabilities coming from non-formal contexts (Araújo, Sousa, Loureiro & Costa 2011). In this project, the perspectives and strategies of local policy-makers (and policy implementation) on ways of confronting school dropout and underachievement in specific social groups in Portugal gain a particular dimension as elsewhere. Networks and networking activities and policy measures for school improvement and social equity have appeared not only in Europe, but also in Australia, Asia, America, as Chapman and Hadfield (2010b) stress. Particularly, in the UK, some of the published work is concerned with interschool networking and pupils learning improvement (see Muijs, West & Ainscow 2010), while the work presented here departs from municipalities that project their networking activities with schools and local institutions to attain specific goals. However, the local allows also to emphasise the complex context that involves these perspectives, strategies and policies framed by the knowledge society and globalization challenges (Stoer & Magalhaes 2004).
Certainly, the network concept needs to be clarified as it could be a new buzz-word that appears to translate all the kind of actions that open new horizons by interconnecting diverse agents. Several contributions are of importance here: Castells (1996), Latour (2007) as well as those who more recently focus on school education as Chapman & Hadfield (2010a; 2010b), Muijs et al. (2010). These contributions are relevant for allowing to frame changes recently introduced in school education in countries as Portugal, changes based in the development of networks of schools with local official agencies and communities.
In this Project, developed in 22 Portuguese municipalities, we found ‘good practices’ most of them based in the building of partnerships and networks, with the aim of promoting education and social welfare. Having that in mind, we selected three municipalities as representative of ‘good practices’. By this selection, we are stressing that, independently of the different contexts, there are, indeed, ways of turning around the difficulties of working in education and that can be identified and analysed and, hopefully, will contribute to a broader understanding of other cases.
[paper w/ Laura Fonseca, Graça Pinto, José Portela, Sofia M Silva, Sofia Sousa, Eunice Macedo, Diana Andrade, Vanessa Coutinho, Alexandra Oliveira, Marisa Silva)
Araújo, H. C., Sousa, F., Loureiro, A. & Costa, I. (2011) Building Local Networking in Education? Decision-Makers Discourses on School Achievement and Drop-out in Portugal, paper presented at ECER Berlin, 13-16 Sept Bernstein, B. (1996) Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity – theory, research, critique, London: Taylor & Francis Castells, M. (1996) The Rise of the Network Society. Oxford: Blackwell. Chapman, C. & Hadfield, M. (2010a) Supporting the middle tier to engage with school-based networks: change strategies for influencing and cohering in Journal of Educational Change, 11, 221-240 Chapman, C. & Hadfield, M. (2010b) Realizing the potential of school-based networks, Educational Research, 52 (3), 309-323 Latour, B. (2007) Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Muijs, D., West, M. & Ainscow, M. (2010) Why network? Theoretical perspectives on networking in School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 21 (1), 5-26 Portela, J. & Gerry, C. (2002) Dreams, pragmatism and employment outcomes among Portuguese rural youth: six paradoxes, in T. Dax & I. Machold (Eds), Voices of Rural Youth - A Break with Traditional Patterns? (pp. 122-157), Bundesanstalt fur Bergbauernfragen, Stoer, S. & Magalhães, A. (2004) Education, Knowledge and the Network Society in Globalisation, Societies and Education, 2 (3), 319-335.
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