Changing Society – Changing learning

In today’s society there is more diversity and that is also reflected in our classrooms; they have become more diverse and heterogeneous. In this context, one of the main challenges is for all participants in the classroom to achieve success despite their different cultural backgrounds and learning levels. Diversity has frequently been considered a difficulty, but research evidence shows that by facilitating dialogic interactions and including the community in the classrooms we can get better learning results.

These days people demand a more active role: they expect to be able to participate in decision making spaces, and this also concerns the learning environment. This is where dialogic education has an important role: the teacher is no longer the only one who has all the knowledge that he exposes to the participants for them to absorb. Participants expect that their voices are taken into account depending on the validity of their arguments and not their position of power.

Moreover, in today’s information society, most of the information we need in our daily life is available online. It is important to work on digital competences to have access to this digital world.

One of the strategies that has been proven to be most effective is that of interactive groups: a form of organizing the classroom that promotes dialogic interactions between participants of different backgrounds and learning levels with the help of volunteers from the local community. The reflexive dialogue between all participants improves the abilities to process information and to think critically, which are basic requirements in today’s Information Society.

Interactive groups have been identified as one of the Successful Educational Actions on the largest European investigation in education: the research project INCLUD-ED.[1]  As identified in this project, Successful Educational Actions (SEA) (Flecha, 2015) are actions that:

  • Contribute to a better learning and solidarity between the participants.
  • Are universal, with common elements when applied in different contexts.
  • Can be transferable to different contexts and levels of education and provide similar results.

[1] INCLUD-ED project: Strategies for inclusion and social cohesion from education in Europe (2006-2011) It is the largest (in terms of budget), longest, and most comprehensive educational research project in Europe. It was selected as one of the 10 best projects by the European Commission, the only one in Social Sciences and Humanities. Would you like to know more about the INCLUD-ED project? Visit their website for more information!

Watch 10-year old Ania telling about Interactive Groups in the European Parliament at the final conference of the INCLUD-ED project