14 SES 12, Children as Members of a Community: Citizenship, Participation and Educational Development - Part I: The Community Inside the School and the Participation of Children
In this paper, the transformation experienced in one of the poorest areas of Spain, when the elementary school in the district decided to become a Learning Community is presented. The school became a meeting place where children, parents, volunteers and teachers formed sub-communities of mutual learners through interactions based on egalitarian dialogue. In a 2-years-period the students’ marks in reading improved dramatically. Students in this school belong to vulnerable groups (such migrants and minority groups, especially Roma). Results draw on the Integrated Project of the European 6th FP: INCLUD-ED, Strategies for Inclusion and Social Cohesion in Europe form Education. Particularly, evidence of students’ interactions is presented, drawing on their own dialogues, collected using qualitative instruments based on a communicative methodological approach. Students reflect on how the Learning Community has completely changed their academic expectations. The impact of “interactive trust” and “joint action patterns” on students’ performance is analysed. Finally, we conclude that using a dialogical approach among students, teachers and community members promote inclusive interactions, which lead to the improvement of students’ reading outcomes.
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