Course 55 - 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, entrepreneurial skills, 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 teaching methods 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.

Outcomes: After the course the participants will have ideas about new 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 focus of the course is to clarify concepts in relation to non compulsory and differentiated school systems in Europe. These will be examined in relation to their influence on non participation of some groups and/or non retention of learners at risk of leaving early or failure to pass or complete their course.
The main trainer of the session is sociologist, teacher and teachers trainer Guðrún Pétursdóttir

Guðrún Pétursdóttir finished her Master 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 15 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 In-service training courses for teachers and educators since 2004, developed cooperative teaching methods and materials and she is the author of two books: Intercultural education (1999) and Everyone can do something nobody can do everything; a practical handbook for teachers (2003).
Assistant teacher: Cherry Hopton, sociologist and former teacher in Scotland.

Organizator curs
InterCultural Iceland
Borgarnes, ISLANDA

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