A HOLISTIC, INCLUSIVE LEARNING INTERVENTION FOR PREVENTING EARLY SCHOOL LEAVING AND FOSTERING FAMILY, SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Early school leaving (ESL) still challenges European societies having potentially significant effects on a learner’s professional and personal development later in life. Leaving school early may negatively affect an individual’s breath of options for achieving his/her full potential, pursuing an invigorating and satisfying career, assuming a personally fulfilling role in the community, and generally implementing dreams. While Early School Leaving causes may diverge from one community to another some key factors emerge as significant going well beyond learner school performance: socio-economic issues, parental educational levels, attitudes towards education, social exclusion particularly for migrants, poor understanding of school curricula, insufficient training of teachers, quality of learner-parent-teacher communication and more. Many of the above factors reach well beyond the school environment and are related to family support, background, life conditions, and stimulation. Parents, teachers, and social networks including extended families, in addition to how learners relate to the school environment and how they perceive the relation of the curriculum with real life, play an important role in staying in school.
This paper presents the LINC intervention that aims at addressing ESL before the ESL warning signs are already visible calling for mitigation measures. LINC suggests responses that can be better described as preventive. The focus is on early and continuous intervention for tackling ESL starting early on, in primary education, and continuing throughout lower secondary school. The intervention focuses on building a supportive school community environment for learners with the participation of teachers, parents, and families that enhances school community bonds, fosters engagement of all players, and links education to real life.
The LINC pedagogical framework draws upon principles of inclusive learning, community-based learning, experiential learning approaches, storytelling practices, and blended learning design. The framework is validated in practice through the design of 10 learning activities for family-school-community interaction and the development of an online community. A variety of services, social networking tools and gamification features will be integrated in the online community in order to promote family-school communication and foster positive attitudes in relation to the value of education. The foreseen services are: teachers, parents and students’ accounts/profiles, school alumni groups, services for monitoring students’ performance, communication tools such as forum and chat. The members of the community will be able to access educational resources, media content, scientific and research reports as well as public bodies information. Regular updates about scheduled meetings, workshops for parents, cultural events and school activities will be available through the community.The social networking intervention for preventing ESL is already used in the context of evaluation activities that take place in an on-going manner involving teachers, parents and students in several educational sites in Greece, France, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.