Successful Educational Actions
The REFUGE-ED project collects knowledge on innovative solutions in education and mental health and psychosocial support. The first step is a mapping process of good evidence-based educational solutions with proven social impact.
But what does a successful educational action look like?
In 2011 the European research project INCLUD-ED identified and analyzed a series of practices that have showed to increase academic performance and improve coexistence and caring attitudes in all the schools that participated in the project. These practices are called Successful Educational Actions (SEA). INCLUDE-ED identified a very important factor about Successful Educational Actions: they work in any educational and social context. They are universal.
The results of this study, carried out in 14 European countries, have already been included in the guidelines and recommendations of the European Parliament to overcome school failure and inequality in education.
The basic principles which constitute a Successful Educational Action (SEA) are:
- The action generates greater improvements in academic results of the whole student body.
- They are transferable to diverse contexts. This means that irrespective of where they are applied, they achieve positive results.
- It has been applied in scientific research which includes the voices of everybody involved in the educational community.
- It has been endorsed in publications of the scientific community.
Please read on for examples of successful educational actions identified in INCLUD-ED.
Interactive groups are a form of classroom organization that produces better student achievement and better social cohesion. The class is organized in four heterogeneous groups of students, each of them promoting learning interactions by one adult, who is a volunteer from the community or the families of the students.
How do Interactive Groups work?
- The teacher prepares four 15-minute activities for the groups and briefly explains these to the volunteers. They attend to individual needs.
- The children change from one activity to the other every 15 minutes until all children have completed the four activities.
- Volunteers from the community facilitate learning interactions between the children.
- The critical factor is that the children do the activities by talking and explaining them to each other.
- More dynamic and participative classrooms.
- Guaranteed learning for all students (ZPD); High expectations are created; Context transformation.
- More personalised education: the teacher is attentive to the needs of each person in the classroom.
- Reorganised or increased human resources
- High levels of attention and better use of time.
- Children develop an attitude of solidarity improving co-existence in the class.
- Families’ and communities’ cultural intelligence is capitalised upon in the classroom.Content goes here
Dialogic Literary Gatherings
A dialogic literary gathering is a reading activity for the whole class. The children read a classic text, such as The Odyssey, at home, and come to school having chosen one idea from the text to share with their classmates. Through dialogue chaired by a moderator (usually the teacher), they co-construct the meaning of the text, and discuss its relevance for their lives today.
How do Dialogic Literary Gatherings work?
- At home, the students have read an agreed number of pages and selected a paragraph or an idea to share with the class.
- The moderator/teacher gives each child a turn to talk and ensures the inclusion of all voices in an egalitarian dialogue in which the teacher, most of the time, listens, invites the next child to speak, and does not evaluate the children’s ideas.
- The children draw on their ‘funds of knowledge’ from home and community in their dialogue, and in so doing, they discuss deep and difficult issues, such as life, death, fidelity, loyalty, etc.
- The critical factor is that the children explain and justify their arguments in the dialogue. The teacher listens, chairs and may participate on an equal basis with the children.
- Dialogic reading (reading mediated by varying voices, experiences, and cultures, that changes from an individual to a collective experience) generates an understanding of a text which can never occur reading alone.
- Increases vocabulary, improves oral expression, comprehension, critical thinking, reasoning skills (with validity claims).
- Inspires discussion of difficult topics concerned with citizenship and life dilemmas initiated by the children.
- The classic text bridges social gaps and empowers (especially) the less privileged social groups, in reading literature thought of as for the elite.
Educative Participation of the Community
It is a way of participation in which families and individuals in the community become both part of the school learning activities, as well as contribute to the school decision-making.
How does Educative participation of the community work?
- Families, volunteers, and social agents are involved in the learning activities of the classroom through the SEAs, extending learning time and in the management of the school through mixed commissions.
- It has a beneficial impact on the students’ attainment and coexistence.
- It changes school culture and relationships between families and teachers guaranteeing that all voices are heard.
- Improves the management of the school
Family education opens the school to the families to improve their instrumental education – i.e. improve their skills in subjects where they can support their children’s education, such as language, information and communication technology or mathematics.
How does family education work?
- Families propose what they want to learn and when this would be possible.
- People in the community and volunteers are sought to provide this training.
- Normally a mixed commission is in charge of organizing the various trainings.
- Language, ICT, Literacy, Mathematics trainings are prioritized.
- Direct impact on academic improvement of students.
- Increases the skills and job opportunities for adults increasing their confidence.
- Increases possibilities for parents to help their children with their homework, creating new meaning about learning and education.
- Increases expectations regarding parent´s future and the future of their children by increasing the motivation to continue studying.
- Bonds of understanding and tolerance between families and families and schools are created, prejudices are removed.
Dialogic pedagogical education for teachers
It is about going right to the source, to the international scientific community, and building knowledge together regarding the best educational theories.
How does Dialogic pedagogical education for teachers work?
- Teachers are trained and updated based on theories that the international scientific community supports.
- This study, research and access to the latest knowledge is done with others, thus facilitating motivation.
- The most effective strategy for this is by using Dialogical Pedagogical Gatherings
- Improves the professional practice and therefore the learning of students (parameter for evaluating teacher education)
- Adds more meaning to teaching and improves motivation
- The egalitarian dialogue establishes new and better relations among the teaching staff.
- Arguments based on research are developed by teachers to explain their practices in front of the administration, family, community. Assumptions and prejudices are overcome.
Dialogic conflict prevention and resolution model
It is a model that overcomes the disciplinary mediator models through dialogue with and participation of the whole community.
How does the Dialogic conflict prevention and resolution model work?
- By creating opportunities for equalitarian dialogue: assemblies, meetings, classroom spaces etc.
- By constructing and creating school rules together.
- By addressing through different areas preventive socialization of gender violence.
- Improves learning because students feel the school is a safe place free from violence.
- Improves coexistence and relationships inside and outside the school environment
- Helps prevent gender violence.
- This model enhances procedural ethic and deliberative democracy. Learning that the effectiveness and validity of agreements is not only about the ‘what’ but also about ‘how’ we reach those agreements; and it is about making decisions by consensus.
Links for further consultation:
Learning Communities project (website in Portuguese and Spanish). Learning communities are schools that implement SEA
Projects that implemented SEA, funded under the European Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation
INCLUD-ED. Strategies for inclusion and social cohesion in Europe from education