Teachers Competencies for Social Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees in Early Childhood Education
The rational of the BE IN project is grounded in political statements like the Europe 2020 agenda regarding poverty and social exclusion, and especially on research-based evidence that shows that people with an immigration background tend to face more educational barriers compared to the indigenous population within Europe. Equally it has been shown that youngsters who have an immigration background in their family take up more disadvantaged positions within European educational systems (OECD, 2018). Especially crucial in this regard is early education - as research results show, it is difficult for children having gaps in early education, to catch up later. Besides, educational systems that segregate or track children from early ages based on standardized assessments exacerbate the problem.
The aim of the BE IN project is to create a Blended Learning course for pre-service and in-service early childhood educators and primary teachers in order to improve their ability to promote the inclusion of migrant and refugee children (3 to 8 years old) in ECE settings and to address the risk of social exclusion those children face. The BL course will be used in pre-service training but also as an open learning environment in in-service training and vocational training of practitioners that work in ECE. In the design process of the BL course special attention will be paid to the development of educators/teachers’ competences, including skills and attitudes, that may allow them to handle daily challenges more effectively and enhance their ability for equity, diversity and inclusion in the learning environments.
The BL course will be used in the participating universities, in the field of Early Childhood and Primary Education teacher training. Participating Universities will also work on its dissemination among other schools, colleges and universities. At the final stage of the project, it is expected to have established a larger network of universities with the aim of monitoring the use, maintenance and adaptation of BL course. This network will become not only a strategy to give sustainability to the project, but also a site for research, exchange and improvement of teaching activities connected with projects results.
The consortium established for this project involves seven Higher Education Institutions, from seven different European Countries (Portugal, Spain, UK, Lithuania, Belgium, Netherlands and Turkey).
Teachers and researchers involved (at least two from each partner University) come from diverse study fields, and it is assured that participants have the necessary expertise in the fields of teachers training, social and educational inclusion, and digital technologies including the design of blended learning environments. Teachers will work collaboratively but each activity will be under the responsibility of two leading universities. During the project six transnational meetings and two intensive learning programmes will provide the opportunity to work collaboratively in project outcomes as well as to get the students' involvement and contributions in the process of developing those outcomes and achieving the aimed results. In summary those results refer to:
- A report (that will be open and available to the community) presenting the theoretical framework/common understanding that will be achieved on the training of teachers for social inclusion, on inclusive education in relation to migrant and refugee children, on the teachers’ profiles in relation to the topic and on the setting of professional competencies underlying this general approach.
- A set of multimedia materials (such as life stories, learning stories, podcasts, videocasts, vignettes or e-books) that are intended to illustrate essential aspects of the report. These materials will be conceived to be integrated in the course that will be designed later, in Blended Learning, but also as materials that can be used in teacher training processes in the different European universities. With that purpose they will be translated or subtitled into the languages of the participating universities.
- A virtual environment will be created to host the multimedia materials. 4. Finally, the blended learning strategy will be presented, which will include the selection of training activities and materials, learning assessment and a guide for teacher trainers, which will be also translated into the partners national languages. 5. At the end of the process an article will be written and presented to be published, as a strategy to disseminate project results and how they were achieved.
This project is committed to the idea of an inclusive school in the heart of European values, and it is expected that its results will contribute to improve the education of educators/teachers of ECE on attending to the needs of migrant and refugee children. Monitoring of the project results and their impact will be attained through a broader network for research internationally.