Training Trainers for Migrants and Roma
Lifelong Learning Programme,
GRUNDTVIG MULTILATERAL PROJECT 2012-2014
The approach most common in EU countries as regards vocational training and adult education programs is the “mainstream” one. This means that the learning needs of the participants/learners are addressed through the pedacogical and psychological lens that is dominant in education systems of all types and degrees.
Also in most EU countries, the same programs are regarded as a means towards social inclusion of the less privileged social groups. The underlying rationale is that by upgrading educational qualifications the mechanism of equal chances is set in action; this mechanism is supposed to result at social equality and social justice, thanks to the upward mobility opportunities that education can provide in the realm of modern western societies.
However, empirical data doubt the power of vocational and adult education to meet these aspirations. Social services of all kinds have often to deal with cases of individual members of certain social groups that don’t seem to benefit from their participation in vocational and other training schemes as much as members of other social groups.
The questions raised refer first of all to the quality of adult training systems, especially to their capacity to be inclusive. Second, or rather on the flipside, they refer also to the inclusion chances offered to vulnerable groups and consequently to the effectiveness of the fight against social exclusion in which VET has as significant role to play.
What is the Project’s rationale?
In trying to find out why VET and LLL courses do not bring out the same positive result for learners of various disadvantaged social groups, the TTMIRO partnership has observed that the above courses focus more on the educational – pedagogical aspect of the learning procedure, thus treating the participant/learner on the basis of the individual learning style, skills, competencies etc. Apart from training programs targeting especially immigrant newcomers or Roma neighborhoods that aim usually at social inclusion, all other training programs treat adult learners as such, regardless of their origin, cultural background or social capital. Also, socially vulnerable group members are usually referred to adult and/or vocational training programs through social services. However, the information and knowledge that these social services have on the particular needs and “profile” of the individual are usually not transferred to the training organization.
It is our estimation that the above observations represent missing linkages between vocational/adult training as such and the measures taken against social exclusion. The partnership’s premise is that the reproduction of social inequality through educational processes, well known and documented in the realm of the sociology of education, is not mere numbers on the macro-level of social reality. It is also the result of everyday practices that take place in classrooms and in the interactions evolving therein. Both members of these interactions though act upon pre-conceived and already formulated points of view: as far as the trainer is concerned, he/she reacts to the learner’s behaviour and stance by interpreting what he/she sees through the educational-pedagogical lens that he/she carries. The learner that belongs to a socially excluded group, as in the case of immigrants or Roma, brings into these interactions his/her “social exclusion history” that affects or even determines his/her learning strategies, motivation and accomplishment. Such factors are usually related to the social exclusion field of reference, according to which the individual’s social origin may determine his/her biography, migrating and Roma population being at the top of the list of groups considered at risk of social exclusion.
So, as long as the impact of social factors on learning processes is not taken into account, then the situation cannot be reversed. To accomplish this a shift of attitude is necessary, allowing the trainer to better understand learning behaviours and stances of adult learners with a social exclusion life-trajectory.
FINAL CONFERENCE IN ATHENS; 6-7 FEBRUARY 2014
In the conference that is took place from the 6-7 February 2014 in Athens (Titania Hotel), the partners who created the educational material "Training Trainers for Migrants and Roma" invited to an open discussion concerning the results of their work and sharing their thoughts on the following matters:
- Training and Counseling: Two worlds apart?
- Inequalities and «Difference»: The adult classroom as the Point of micro and macro phenomena’ convergence
- Policies on Training: What should be done and for whom?
The partners of the TTMIRO Project want to thank all participants in the conference. Special thanks to the speakers, representatives of trainer institutions, vocational training centers, organizations working with and for migrants and Roma, universities and state authorities. Their contributions, as well as the discussion that followed each session of the Conference, shed light on and enriched the results of our work on the educational material “Training Trainers of Migrants and Roma”. The presentation of the TTMIRO training material initiated an interesting exchange of views and ideas on issues relevant to the TTMIRO main topics, such as:
- Training and counseling: current circumstances of unemployment and recession make the forging of links between the two a necessity, so that inclusion of disadvantaged group members can be facilitated
- Inequalities and “difference”: in exploring the adult classroom as the point of micro and macro phenomena’ convergence, the importance of the culturally loaded educational practices emerges. This sheds light on the mechanisms of inequality reproduction
- Which skills should the trainers have in order to be able to respond to the individualized needs of learners who come from different educational environments? How can they obtain these skills?
Topics of interest were the quality dimensions of VET provision and Life Long Learning in the current circumstances of rising concerns on recession and unemployment all over Europe, particularly as regards its effectiveness in securing equal chances for all. The TTMIRO educational material, which will soon be available in five languages (www.ttmiro.eu), aspires to contribute to this objective by providing the trainers with means that will help them confront the inequalities reproduction right there where it happens, i.e..in the classroom.
See more conference pictures: FACEBOOK EU WAREHOUSE
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.