Academic journal article Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research

Towards School Transformation. Evaluation of a Coexistence Program from the Voice of Students and Teachers

Academic journal article Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research

Towards School Transformation. Evaluation of a Coexistence Program from the Voice of Students and Teachers

Article excerpt

Roser Grau1* , Laura García-Raga2 , Ramón López-Martín3

1 Department of Comparative Education and History of Education, University of Valencia, Spain froser.grau@uv.esl

2 Department of Education Theory, University of Valencia, Spain (laura.garcia@uv.esi

3 Department of Comparative Education and History of Education, University of Valencia, Spain (ramón, lopez@uv.esi

Received on 30 March 2016; revised on 18 April 2016; accepted on 19 April 2016; published on 15 July 2016

DOI: 10.7821/naer. 2016.7.177

*To whom correspondence should be addressed:

Facultad de Filosofía y Ciencias de la Educación Universität de Valencia). Departamento de Educación Comparada e Historia de la Educación. Avda. Blanco Ibañez. N° 30, 3er piso. CP 46010. Valencia (Spain).

ABSTRACT

Learning to coexist continues to be one of the challenges faced by the current educational system, especially for those schools located in contexts at risk of social exclusion where the violence rate increases on a daily basis. The main aim sought by the present study consists in assessing the impact of a program developed at an educational center located in a vulnerable neighborhood of the city of Valencia (Spain). It is a quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest research with a control group that involved a total of 109 teachers and students. It deserves to be highlighted that this paper forms part of a broader research initiative, for which reason the results obtained in the qualitative part through the implementation of a content analysis are presented. The results show the success of the program applied in accordance with the perceptions of the teachers and students involved, who state that all the program strategies have significantly improved school coexistence.

KEYWORDS: SCHOOL, INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS, DEMOCRATIC VALUES, CONFLICT RESOLUTION

1 INTRODUCTION

School coexistence has been and still remains a challenge for educational centers, especially for those which find themselves in environments at risk of social exclusion where violence, conflicts and clashes are frequent. Their educational professionals require a revision of the ways to manage coexistence and cope with conflicts for the purpose of improving interpersonal relationships and promoting competences that can go beyond the school limits and be extended to society as a whole. Without a doubt, betting on an education that encourages social inclusion constitutes a goal of the present-day educational system (Callado, Molina, Pérez, & Rodríguez, 2015) and learning to live together is still one of the main aims of education at an international level (UNESCO, 2015). From this perspective, a need exists to train teachers in strategies that advocate peaceful and stereotype-free coexistence (Elarbera & Sakade 2009; Elerrera & Bravo, 2012; Puig & Morales 2015).

In our view, the school -together with the family, the context, and the society in general- is responsible for the educational and social development of those who start their compulsory studies. The school can help to build a fair citizenship through an education in and for democracy, teaching to participate, to listen, to talk, and to share (Silbert & Jacklin 2015). Nevertheless, we are frilly aware of the difficulty involved in this task, which requires the development of strategies favoring dialogue, participation, respect, and tolerance. The main purpose is to build spaces where feelings, emotions, life experiences, worries, and difficulties can be shared, which seems essential to us within the educational model that we believe in. Along these same lines, Fisher & Kettl (2003) state that 76% of teachers consider that educational centers need to put in practice preventive strategies, ultimately seeking to create spaces where both sharing and learning to coexist are possible.

Offering a response to the challenge of school coexistence, authors such as Boqué (2005), Fernández (2008), Ortega & Del Rey (2003), Torrego (2012), Vails, Soler, & Flecha (2008), Naylor & Cowie (1999), Pellegrini & Bjorklimd (1996) and Durán & Blanch (2015), to quote but a few, have carried out a variety of research works related to this topic, presenting strategies which can undoubtedly prove of interest to deal with coexistence learning and to improve the atmosphere at our educational centers. …

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