07 SES 03 B, Roma People
This paper presents a part of the findings obtained within the research project INCLUD-ED. Strategies for inclusion and social cohesion in Europe from education (2006-2011), an Integrated Project of the European Commission’s 6th Framework Programme. Fifteen universities and research centres across 14 European countries conducted this research aimed at identifying educational actions that are contributing to school success and enhancing social cohesion. The research conducted through a five year period led to identifying a series of Successful Educational Actions that are overcoming educational and social inequalities in schools located in disadvantaged contexts. Within this framework, this paper focuses on one of the Successful Educational Actions (SEAs) identified: the Weekend Centre.
The INCLUD-ED research is based on theoretical contributions that emphasise the role that education has in overcoming social inequalities (Apple, 1995; Giroux, 1988, Freire, 1998, Sánchez, 1999) beyond theories that only understand education as a way to reproduce existing social structures (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1970). It is also based on the contributions which highlight the potential of individuals and groups to transform their contexts and improve their lives (Freire, 1998; Vygotsky, 1978). According to these contributions, learning contexts and contexts of social interaction can be transformed and enriched creating new conditions for children and youth to learn and develop all their creative potential. This is especially important in contexts of low education levels, marginalisation and poverty. The INCLUD-ED research has analysed specific actions which are working to achieve this transformation. INCLUD-ED also takes into account the evidence that schools and communities working together benefit children and youth education (Epstein, 2001; Delgado-Gaitan, 2001; Harvard Family Research Project, 2002). In this regard, the reality surrounding the school, the families and the community are specially taken into account to identify actions that transform the educational context of children and youth beyond the school and increase their opportunities of learning and social inclusion. Furthermore, schools are linked to the social context in which they are situated, and therefore educational actions oriented to overcoming inequalities are likely to be associated with other social actions addressed to improving employment, housing, access to healthcare or social participation. In this regard, INCLUD-ED has studied integrative actions that improve inclusion in different areas.
The ultimate aim of INCLUD-ED has been to inform policy in order to have an impact on educational practices. In this regard, some achievements have been made. INCLUD-ED findings have been presented twice in the European Parliament (in November 2009 and in December 2011) and have been included in two European Parliament Resolutions about the education of children of minority and migratory background, as well as in one Communication of the European Commission, Conclusions of the European Council and a Council Recommendation, about schools working as learning communities.
Apple, M.W. & Beane, J.A. (1995). Democratic schools. Virginia: Association for supervision and curriculum development. Bourdieu, P. & Passeron, J.C. (1970). La reproduction. Éléments pour una theorie du système d’enseignement. (Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit). Delgado-Gaitan, C. (2001). The Power of Community. Mobilizing for Family and Schooling. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Epstein, J.L. (2001). School, family, and community partnerships: preparing educators, and improving schools. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Freire, P. (1998). Pedagogy of Freedom. Ethics, democracy and civic courage. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Giroux, H. (1988). Teachers as intellectuals. New York: Bergin and Garvey. Gómez, A., Puigvert, L. & Flecha R. (2011). Critical Communicative Methodology: Informing real social transformation through research. Qualitative Inquiry, 17 (3), 235-245. Harvard Family Research Project. (2002). “Beyond the Head Count. Evaluating Family Involvement in Out-of-School Time”, Issues and Opportunities in Out-of School Time Evaluation 4, 1-15. Padrós, M., García, R., de Mello, R. & Molina S. (2011). Contrasting scientific knowledge with knowledge from the lifeworld: The Dialogic Inclusion Contract. Qualitative Inquiry, 17 (3), 304-312. Sánchez, M. (1999). La Verneda Sant Martí. A school where people dare to dream, Harvard Educational Review, 69(3), 320-335. Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press,).
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