Course 64 - Reaching, teaching and keeping our learners: Methods and approaches to reach and increase retention of disadvantaged learners

The main focus will be how to reach at risk and/or disadvantaged learners participating at any level or type of education or training. This will be done through different co operative learning methods. In reaching and teaching these learners we are better able to ‘keep them’ – increasing retention.

Target group:
The target group is schools, colleges and any kind of educational organisations which have strategies or core aims of improving learners key competencies including: cooperation and communication skills, initiative, critical and creative thinking and citizenship. Additionally to prevent early school leaving and embedding key competencies within the subject curricula.
Participants could be teachers, senior managers, head teachers and other staff responsible for teaching and learning at all levels of education from secondary, further and higher education in both academic and vocational areas.

Participants will be expected to read the program and material sent to them before the course commences and to submit a short introduction to the education system in their home country. This will be circulated to all participants.

The participants will discuss different school systems in Europe, systems of non-compulsory education and reasons for drop-out or non participation of students at risk of early school leaving. The reasons for limited access of disadvantaged groups to education will be discussed and different ways of reaching the target groups and associated teaching methods will be discussed and presented. The teaching methods during the course will mirror those introduced and proven as effective in reaching diverse groups of students, increasing positive student to student interaction creating a trusting and safe learning environment. The participants will be sensitized to different reasons for absence or drop out for at risk groups (e.g. migrants) in non-compulsory education and will be introduced to tools to identify students at risk of dropping out.

Methodology: The course methods will be varied: theoretical contributions, discussions, practical exercises in small groups and presentations. The emphasis will be on practical and active cooperative learning structures and participants will have the opportunity to try different ideas. This, rather than theoretical input will be the main focus. The methods introduced will be used actively during the course. All participants should be able to discuss and present in English language as simultaneous translation will not be possible.

Outcomes: After the course the participants will have ideas and ways to involve diverse groups of students in their own courses. At the end of the course each participant will have developed a detailed program where it is clear how they intend to reach the disadvantaged target groups, how they will encourage the group to participate in their course and how they plan to organize their teaching and assessment in order to ensure equal access for all learners to the learning process and increase retention.

Follow up: On return to their home locations participants will try out the different approaches with their learners and share their experience and material with other participants through e-mail and on an internet platform. The main trainer will also give feedback and counselling if required.
The main trainer of the course is sociologist, teacher and teacher’s trainer Guðrún Pétursdóttir
Guðrún Pétursdóttir is a Sociologist, teacher and teacher trainer. She finished her master’s degree in sociology from the Freie Universität Berlin in year 1990. Besides sociology she also studied intercultural education at the Institut für interkulturelle Erziehung at the same university and later finished the teacher’s qualification at the University of Iceland. For the last 20 years Guðrún has worked in different fields connected with migration issues and teachers training and has since 2003 ran the intercultural centre InterCultural Iceland (
She taught courses at the Teachers University during the years 2003-2005 and at the pedagogical department of the University of Iceland from 2006-2009. She has run Grundtvig/Comenius/Erasmus+ In-service training courses for teachers and educators since 2004, developed cooperative learning methods and materials and she is the author of three books: Intercultural education (1999), Everyone can do something nobody can do everything; a practical handbook for teachers (2003) and Diverse Society Diverse Classrooms; Critical, Creative, Cooperative and Interculturally Competent Learners and Teachers Ready for the 21st Century (2018)
Assistant trainer is Cherry Hopton. Cherry Hopton is a Sociologist, teacher and teacher trainer. She has worked in both the English and Scottish education system teaching mainly undergraduate students in the subjects sociology and criminology. In recent years she has engaged in a range of European research projects in the area of anti racism, co operative learning and intercultural education. Now she works for ICI, mainly as teacher’s trainer and as part of our European project team.
You can watch a short video from the course on our fb page:

InterCultural Iceland
Borgarnes, IJsland

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InterCultural Iceland
InterCultural Iceland
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