ISOTIS second annual meeting

The ISOTIS team held the second annual meeting at the University of Milano-Bicocca, on December 2nd-5th.

Our colleagues shared input about the work developed, namely on: gaps in educational achievement; experiences of diverse parents; promising approaches to promote the quality of family environment, inclusiveness in educational settings, and coordination between services; views and experiences of professionals; and implementation of the Virtual Learning Environment. The team also discussed strategies to involve and give voice to project stakeholders and participants.

The study on the emergence and development of educational gaps from infancy up to adolescence were presented by our colleagues. They analysed educational gaps between children from families with more and less economical and educational resources, and between children with and without a migration background. Findings indicated that the early years of life were formative for patterns of inequality, highlighting the importance of providing support to children before school age. Read more

Regarding the experiences of diverse parents, our colleagues shared findings from the interviews with parents with a Turkish, North-African, Romani or native low-income background. Preliminary results indicated that culturally and linguistically diverse families seem to live in two realities: one is the everyday life, and the other is the public media discourse. Read more

To study promising approaches to improve the quality of family environments, the ISOTIS researchers focused on strategies for family outreach, integration of parental beliefs, use of families’ cultural and linguistic resources, use of technologies, and required professional skills, among other characteristics. One of the findings shared by our colleagues indicated that, despite the integration technologies could be a promising approach for family support programmes, it was still not frequently used. Read more

Concerning the study of promising practices to reduce educational inequalities through curriculum, classroom practices, and school social climate in early childhood education and primary school, our colleagues spoke about key facilitating conditions and challenges found. The former ones included reciprocal family-school relationships, staff selection, training, support, and a strong institutional equity culture. Read more

The views of teachers and other staff working in early childhood education and care services, primary schools and after-school programs were collected by our colleagues through a survey. Participants were asked about curriculum and pedagogy issues related to diversity and inclusiveness, such as dealing with diversity and multilingualism in the classroom in daily work, and collaboration with parents and the community, among other topics. Findings indicated that more positive beliefs towards multiculturalism and multilingualism were related to more culturally sensitive practices and better parent-professional relationships. Read more

Regarding the study of successful examples of coordination between agencies working for and with culturally and linguistically diverse families, our colleagues presented findings on facilitating factors, barriers and impacts of this type of collaborative wok. The facilitating factors found included political support, commitment and shared values about inter-agency working between agencies, and security of funding, among others. Read more

The researchers working on the development of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to support family-school partnerships, and intercultural and multilingual education spoke about the first experiences of working with the VLE in close collaboration with children, parents and teachers. During the meeting, the team demonstrated examples of the VLE activities to support multiculturalism and multilingualism, for instance, videos addressing multilingualism as a resource and how to support it. Watch one of the videos

Regarding the communication and dissemination activities conducted in the scope of the project, we presented new features of the ISOTIS website, such as a blog section, pages in different languages, and provision of a tool to increase the visibility of the content. We also discussed strategies on how to potentiate the involvement of stakeholders in the ISOTIS work. Following the ISOTIS motto, our goal is to give voice to a diverse and inclusive European society!

During the meeting, our team had the privilege of welcoming the members of the ISOTIS Advisory Board: Tove Mogstad Slinde (Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research), Ljiljana Vasić (Pomoc Deci; Eurochild), Davide Zoletto (UNIUD), Naomi Eisenstadt (University of Oxford), and our invited expert Francesca Borgonovi (OECD). Their contributions were very relevant to our reflection on project activities, findings and future challenges.

ISOTIS wishes to thank all colleagues and young researchers involved in the project, Advisory Committee members and invited experts, and organizing team from the University of Milano-Bicocca for such a wonderful and productive meeting.