Open School Doors

Open School Doors, following the findings of EU report (2010/2011) tackling the issues of equity and social cohesion, aims at enabling parents with a migrant background to be more actively involved in their children education, and at the same time offering them the chance to improve their ICT skills, leading thus to better professional perspectives and providing access to equal educational opportunities. 

It’s motto is the following:

“Inclusion is a sense of belonging: feeling respected,
valued for who you are; feeling a level of supportive energy
and commitment from others so that you can do your best work.”
(Miller, Frederick A. and Katz, Judith H. 2002)

Applicants’ research confirmed the role of digital media in that process (cf. www.carrer-guide.eu, www.aumil.de, www.tu9.de/mooc) both as learning technology and as gate opener for less connected audiences-like the chosen group migrant pupils. Indeed social (educational) media seem to be a very powerful instrument in the hand of this respective group, including their parents, when they need to identify their entrance into different EU cultures. Digital empowerment holds a central role in the inclusion strategy of adult population at risk of exclusion and reflects the latest EU Council conclusions on the social dimension of education and training; Social inclusion is a basic principle of human rights and is closely linked to concepts of social justice. ICT plays an important role in promoting social justice in terms of educational quality .

The proposed project will reinforce teachers’ awareness, motivation, knowledge and skills that will enable them to strengthen parents’ roles in schooling. Using social media properly is one of the best parent engagement strategies. It allows teachers to securely keep parents updated on their child’s progress, school announcements, events etc. Plus it is incredibly easy to use and is built to be incredibly user friendly. Therefore, it is easy to implement within the school.

To this end a training framework will be designed, tailored to their learning profile and needs, equipping them with all the attitudes, values, knowledge, skills and life-long learning competences to enable them support and sustain parental engagement in school communities. The envisioned framework will provide comprehensive guidance to teachers how to promote and encourage effective cooperation between parents and teachers; as such, training seminars will take place across the partnership (both F2F & online) addressing parents, teachers, stakeholders, policy makers, whereas a two phases implementation is envisioned (with all the necessary revises/ amendments, etc.) till the final version of training framework is delivered.

Teachers, in particular head teachers and class teachers, but also school personnel working in advisory and support systems, will constitute the main target group of Open School Doors; as key-agents, they will be trained to develop positive attitudes and particular skills in order to invite, motivate, support migrant parents and collaborate with them to deal effectively all obstacles of school life.

The indirect target group of the project is parents with a migrant background and in most cases with socially, educationally and economically disadvantaged background. Migrant pupils will be the long-term beneficiaries of the project approach, since schools’ and parents’ partnerships, that the project sets out to foster, have been found to have significant positive effects on important aspects of young people’s development, e.g. achievement from early childhood until adolescence and adulthood, social and cognitive development, school drop-out reduction, social integration and fewer behavior problems. A supportive material for the migrant parents, enhancing effective communication with teachers, will be also delivered.

Finally a Guide of Good Practices will bring together a range of relevant resources and evidence, synthesising background policy and research with original empirical research findings to produce specific guidance for policy makers and training curriculum developers. As such, it will illustrate how to increase parental engagement, effectively communicate with teachers through web2.0 tools, and map all potential members of Open School Doors community of interest at regional, national and EU level building thus upon the sustainability of the whole initiative.