EWC approach selected as innovative good practice presented to the European Commission

EWC’s Whole School Approach exemplified through its projects in Ukraine, Greece and the Baltics were selected as one of 21 European examples of good practices in inclusive education and presented to the European Commission in a validation event this summer. 

The project INNOV4DIV (Addressing educational needs of teachers in the EU for inclusive education in a context of diversity), is led by the Catholic University of Valencia- The European Institute of Education for Democartic Culture and aims to support educational policy development to promote teachers’ Intercultural Competence development.  The project is funded through EC JRC, Human Capital and Employment Unit.   

EWC’s Whole School Approach was mentioned as particularly innovative: its team approach to capacity building, comprehensive follow-up, and support during longer implementation periods as well as learning materials developed with and for teachers’ everyday practice were highlighted.   

The selected good practices were chosen based on rigorous criteria developed by the research experts, and included indicators of effectiveness, innovation and relevance.  

EWC Executive Director Ana Perona-Fjeldstad was invited to give a presentation to the European Commission in June together with three others of the selected practices.  

“To have our Whole School Approach selected as one of these good practices, is a recognition of the work done by EWC and an encouragement to increase our efforts”, she said.  

The selection was based on an analysis of three EWC projects: Schools for Democracy in Ukraine, the Regional Summer Academy in the Baltics and Schools for All in Greece and highlighted several innovative elements:  

For example, the coherent definition of a democratic school, related to the Council of Europe Reference Framework for Competences of a Democratic Culture and the whole school approach, promoting a learning environment at school where all members feel respected, valued and able to participate. 

Another innovative element highlighted was the training of school-community teams. Building a democratic school is a team effort. By bringing together headmasters, teachers and members of the community, the training activities strengthen sustainable cooperation among these stakeholders, ensuring improved relations within the school and between the school and the community, the researchers noted.  

The focus on peer learning and on promoting national or transnational regional cooperation and dialogue between practitioners, was also highlighted, as was the systematic evaluation of the projects and the close collaboration with national authorities and adaption to the local situation and needs. That the practical materials developed and used in the projects are linked to real life situations and produced in partnership with the teachers, was also underlined.  

Inno4Div research focused on the identification and analysis of 21 innovative practices on the development of intercultural and democratic competences in pre-service and in-service teacher’s education. The cross-case analysis of practices has allowed for the production of an innovation model in practices and a series of draft education policy and research recommendations.