Democracy and education have been linked as far as Ancient Greece in the writings of Aristotle (384-322 bc.) (Fraser, 1996). Democratic theories of education have been central to the institution of public schooling in the United States and Canada since the inception of free, compulsory, public education. Horace Mann (1796-1859), W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963) and John Dewey (1859-1952), were early advocates for public education in the United States. More recent scholars have built on the early writings of these important thinkers to push the notions of the democratic education and equal education opportunity. In this book, Understanding equal educational opportunity: Social justice and democracy in schooling, Howe (1997) expands on the thesis presented by Amy Gutmann (1987) in her book, Democratic education. Gutmann’s central idea is as follows:
A democratic theory of education recognizes the importance of empowering citizens to make educational policy and also of constraining their choices among policies in accordance with those principles- of nonrepression and nondiscrimination – that reserve the intellectual and social foundations of democratic deliberations. A society that empowers citizens to make educational policy, moderated by these two principled constraints, realizes the democratic ideal of education (Gutmann, 1987).
Gutmann (1987) states that the principle of non-repression prevents any group from “using education to restrict rational deliberation of competing conceptions of the good life and the good society” and that non-discrimination can be understood as “a principle of non-exclusion” (pp.44-45). However, Howe charges that Gutmann’s “general principle of ‘non-repression’ (of which ‘nondicrimination’ is a derivative) is too weak to adequately protect marginalized and oppressed groups in negotiating the participatory ideal” (1977, p.66). Nonoppressions is offered in its place, for Howe believes that a “stronger principle – a principle of nonoppression- is required in order to protect groups that are threatened with marginalization and exclusion from meaningful democratic participation” (1997, p. 67).
Nonoppression is a more powerful concept that Gutman’s non-repression. There are many non-discrimination in schools, businesses and government designed to protect minorities from unjust exclusion. These policies make it illegal to refuse admission or hiring to people based on race, gender, religion and other factors. If a business or a school is forced to admit a woman or a person of color due to these policies, it is likely that the work climate will not be conductive to the success of that minority member. Incidents that display covert racism and sexual harassment may impede the ability of that individual to work to his/her best capability. The same holds true for students in a school settings. If the climate is not supportive of every child in the school, then true educational opportunities “worth wanting” (Howe, 1997) do not exist. It is not enough to legally remove the barriers preventing their entrance, but we must also go a step further and begin to remove the oppressive language and structures that create a hostile climate for minority students.
Read more in Meyer, E. (2010). Explorations of Educational Purpose 10: Gender and Sexual Diversity in Schools, Springer.
IDEC participates as partner in the project DEMAL that developed two e-learning courses for staff in adult education sector:
The first course on Design has been launched and will run until the 20th of May 2018. The course consists of six units of learning outcomes, plus a closing and requires approximately 24 hours of self-learning, spread over a period of eight weeks. The participants that will complete the course and pass all assignments successfully will get a certificate of attendance. If you are interested to register and attend the course, follow the instructions below:
The course is structured in units. Each unit includes an introductory presentation, the core learning material, additional learning material, a closing presentation and one of more assignments. Some assignments are compulsory and you have to complete them, before the end of the course, before 20 of May. After that, you will still have access to the course material, without the option to do the assignments and get a certificate.
The course language is English and it will be attended at the same time by participants from five countries. It will give you the opportunity not only to access the learning resources, but also to discuss with other participants and exchange your experiences in adult learning. The second e-learning course on Evaluation is expected to start in April and there will be a separate invitation.
We wish you a nice e-learning and we expect to meet you online.
One of the priorities of ET2020 is the professional development of staff working in the adult education sector, with a view to improve the quality and efficiency of adult learning. Following this priority in 2010 a framework for “Key Competences for Adult Learning Staff” has been launched, which defines the generic and specific competency profile for professional staff working in adult education.
Starting from the Education and Training 2020 strategy whose objective is the improvement of quality and efficiency in education and training among professional staffs, five organizations with valuable experience in the field of adult education from five different countries (Germany, Greece, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria), representing both private and public as also profit and non-profit sectors, have created a partnership to launch DEMAL project.
The “Designing, monitoring and evaluating adult learning classes – Supporting quality in adult learning” (acronym DEMAL) project is funded by the European Commission through the ERASMUS+ K2 Programme which enhances and promotes cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices. DEMAL intends to implement two key competences which, according to the 2010 “Key Competences for Adult Learning Professionals” framework, should advance adult training staffs and improve quality in adult learning. These two competences are:
The "TOI TOI TOI" project in the framework of the Erasmus+ programme has developed a range of web tools, which shall allow project coordinators to evaluate themselves, partner organisations and whole project consortia with a view to their capacity towards ensuring sustainable impact of projects.
The tools have been developed based on in-depth analysis of past LdV-ToI projects, and by project coordinators can be used to evaluate their own and other partners' organisational and professional capacities, including a range of basic competences needed in order to effectively contribute to the creation of impact and sustainability of education development projects. The tools can be used for both, self- and team-evaluation.
Website: Toi Toi Toi Project
The Life Online project is a new project that is being developed to improve employability through an online learning platform. Through the development of a new employability and entrepreneurship course unit of e-learning materials for use before, during and after mobility, participants will develop their international and soft skills such as team work and intercultural understanding to improve their employability.
The rapid adoption of internet-enabled phone and tablets has revolutionised the way we live and work, but not yet in too many cases the way students are taught in vocational training or higher education. Although digital and mobile resources are proven to increase adult learner engagement and information retention, yet only 1 in 5 students are taught by digitally confident and supportive teachers. This absence of integration of digital learning tools is mainly caused by lack of confidence and training and as a result, very few students across Europe are taught material aided and supported by digital supports.
MENTORING is the tool of staff improvement in which the experienced worker agrees to take the responsibility and agrees to help to build a relationship and to facilitate the professional growth of one or more colleagues. The idea behind the MENTOR project is to adapt and use this tool for induction and development of a specific group of workers – the teachers.
“We encountered the benefits of mentoring in adult education with other projects that the members of our consortium implemented” explained a representative of the MENTOR project. “Also, we are aware that in the countries like the USA or New Zealand there are well-developed programs of teachers mentoring that can be good practice for us to deliver a model adjusted to national and European contexts”.
The MENTOR project is designed to prepare teachers experienced in their profession to become mentors for beginning teachers. Moreover, school leaders, other teachers and personnel in secondary and high schools, and last but not least – students - can also benefit from the mentoring program, which is supposed to result in improvements in efficiency of teaching, students’ achievement and teachers’ job satisfaction.
This new Erasmus+ project seeks to improve, monitor and evaluate the quality of validation of non-formal and informal learning (VNFIL) through means of peer review.
Peer Review – the external evaluation of VNFIL institutions/providers by Peers – is a promising instrument for quality assurance and development. It builds on quality activities already in place at a VNFIL institution/provider, it is cost-effective and it fosters networking and exchange between providers of validation of non-formal and informal learning.
The Peer Review VNFIL Extended project works with the Peer Review methodology and instruments as they have been developed in previous programmes. Most recently, in the Europeerguid RVC project, the Manual, Toolbox, and Quality Areas for Peer Review have been adapted to use in 3 countries. VNFIL providers and stakeholders in other countries have expressed a strong interest in adapting and implementing the Peer Review framework and its instruments. This project takes up further fine-tuning and transfer of the methodology to new countries through a number of capacity building activities directed at professional development of more VNFIL practitioners.
The SiQuCAE partnership has developed and tested quality assurance systems in order to: increase the quality of and access to validation of non-formal and informal learning, qualify the training and work systems in partner countries, improve the effectiveness of investment in validation of non-formal and informal learning.
Kahoot! is a web-based game created to add fun in a students assessment. Kahoot Quiz is a web-based quiz that is prepared by a teacher, consisting of multiple choice questions. The students - gamers assess the game from any electronic device (PC, laptop, tablet, mobile phone), through a game PIN, using nicknames. The game is played on real time. For each question, the gamers have to select the right answer. The score is calculated automaticaly taking into account, the right replies and the time needed to reply for each gamer. At the end of the quiz, the winners are announced. We have tested the kahoot game in the final seminar of the Qual4T project. It was fun, engaging and stimulating. The game can be used also as an ice-breaking activity in a workshop/seminar or as a short break between lectures.
Very often, quality assurance is seen as the task of a designated person ‘the quality officer’ or the relevant department ‘the quality department’. Teachers, trainers and students in schools and training organisations are barely involved in quality issues. They follow quality procedures, they fill-in some forms and questionnaires and that’s it. They do not really engage themselves and in fact nobody asks from them to be more actively involved.
However, the creation of a quality culture in an organisation requires active involvement of all affected persons, not only in the implementation phase, but also in the planning, evaluation and review phases of the quality cycle.
Acknowledging the importance of active involvement of staff and students in quality improvement, the project Qual4T organised a seminar, in which these issues been discussed: How to involve students in quality improvement? How to keep everyone in a school/workplace involved in quality?
The DAVE project has produced an adult education trainer competence profile and a methodology for validating competence of Adult Education Trainers (AETs), called Expertise Check up. The competence profile is based on desk research on existing competence profiles at OECD level and on a need analysis carried out in a number of adult education providers including the partners.
The expertise check up is based on the competence profile and includes the following steps:
The expertise check up can be used for selection of new teachers, evaluation of teachers and continuous improvement of their skills and competences.
This project is a multilateral project supported by European Commission in the Grundtvig Programme. There are 6 partners involved in the project – from Italy, Greece, France, Sweden, Germany and Latvia.
Link to DAVE project website
With the QUAL4T project seven European partners aim to provide teachers and trainers high quality materials to help them with improving quality in education.
The outcomes of the project are:
The outcomes of QUAL4T can be used in all sectors, EQF-levels and curricula of professional education.
The aim of the SAVED project is to tackle school dropout through the application of risk detector tools and, building the professional and organisational capacities necessary to deal with school dropout and absenteeism.
To effectively tackle dropout a range of tools were developed (transfered), such as a risk detector, which is an interactive electronic tool designed for counsellors to identify individuals at risk of school failure and dropping out. The technique is designed to evaluate students’ strengths and weaknesses that are considered important in the learning environment to assess not only the risk of school failure but also what type of support is most suitable for different groups of students.
Q4I means Quality for Innovation, and is the core concept around which a number of European institutions and networks have joined forces to create an easy to use approach to quality management for innovative schools. The developed model identifies the core dependencies that schools should address before and during innovative processes.
Q4I is an easy to use approach to quality management for innovative schools. The developed model identifies the core dependencies that school should address before and during innovative processes. The Q4I model is based on seven Areas of change and four Engines of Change. The Q4I Focus Areas are:
Quality Management (QM) systems have been introduced in vocational schools in various European countries over the past ten years and it has become clear that individual schools have had varying degrees of success in implementing their QM systems in full and in an appropriate manner, i.e in accordance with the underlying QM principles, in gaining acceptance from those involved and in achieving the desired impact.
Many experienced, knowledgeable and competent adult educators have no formal teaching qualification. If this situation applies to you, then the Toolkit will help you get recognition for what you have learned so far as an adult educator, by universities, colleges and employers. The resources can also be used to help you make plans for your professional development, with a view to achieving excellence in the practice of adult education.
Following new lifelong learning policies through the past years there’s a rapid growing of VET networks throughout Europe, with a strong tendency to interlocking educational activities across organisations and sectors. Apparently this shift towards multilateral and transversal cooperation in VET calls for new and innovative approaches to joint decision making, shared planning, coordinated implementation and quality control of educational provision.
BEQUAL is a Lifelong Learning Development of Innovation project that has developed a portal on the theme of quality assurance in VET and an on-line benchmarking tool to be used by VET providers to benchmark their quality assurance systems with their peers. The benchmarking tool is based on the European Reference Framework for quality assurance in VET (EQAVET) and on the EFQM excellence model. It is available in ten different European languages and it gathers benchmarking data from more than 450 VET institutions.
The project produced an online benchmarking tool, which can be used to compare quality practices of vocational training institutes (VET) with each other, and to identify best practices. The objectives are: to develop quality assurance in vocational education and training institutes, to promote the use of the European Quality Assurance Framework, to allow its practical application through the use of online benchmarking tool and best practice database.
EduPlan is a self-evaluation instrument based on the Irish project SPEAK and mainly foreseen for quality assurance and evaluation of measurements taken in vocational education- and training centres. It supports quality in planning and decision-making, ensures the transfer of educational measurements and initiatives, and leads to quantifiable results. EduPlan can be used as planning tool for quality control in vocational education and training centres.
It supports quality in planning- and decisionmaking-processes, ensures the transfer of educational measurements and –initiatives, and leads to quantifiable results. The intention is to offer EduPlan in a broad range of use within the field of education and further education in all kinds of sectors of the vocational education providers. Through the ongoing application of EduPlan it becomes a basic planning tool for quality control. Quintessentially EduPlan leads to an increasing cooperation amongst educational providers.