In 2014 EERA is celebrating its 20th anniversary. This event offers an excellent opportunity to look back on the development and impact of educational research in Europe – as well as looking forward to its future. The EERA/ECER conference in Porto 2014 provides a time and space for the educational research community to be self-reflexive – to evaluate its strengths, weaknesses and possibilities. Educational research currently faces a number of challenges. It covers an extremely wide and varied range of activity, incorporating most disciplines within the academic world. The recent calls for interdisciplinarity create issues of academic identity. Moreover, the economic crisis in Europe is squeezing research budgets – and this at a time when policy-makers increasingly see education as the solution to a whole range of economic and social problems. Educational researchers need to consider how they can provide sound evidence with which to address these ambitious agendas.
Lessons from the past might be crucial to imagine different educational models and alternatives which demand a complex understanding of changes and the definition of values towards which education research would be committed. To interrogate what society expects from future generations is a key point to discuss different strategies, understanding expectations, aspirations and curiosity. To comprehend the core of education research in the past and in the present might turn into a reconceptualization of the school in itself. Given this, a number of questions are pivotal: What have been the major successes and failures of education research communities over the last decades? What can we learn from our past to help build our future in these turbulent times? Do the ways in which educational research has been used in practice and policy within Europe provide a good foundation for the future? Or do we need to develop different strategies? Can research be seen as a means to purpose radical alternatives? Can education research purpose robust suggestions and solutions? How can we ensure that, within the climate of increasing Europeanization, respect for national and local research priorities and practices is balanced with the need to find shared research aims, themes and methods? And finally, would it matter if educational research as a distinctive field disappeared?
Knowledge about learning German as a second language is an increasingly important skill for aspiring teachers. Yet, as a study by the German Mercator Stiftung recently found out, only about half of them encounter these topics during their teacher training at university. Due to the federal structure of Germany, there are no comprehensive policies on how to include language learning in the teaching curriculum. Furthermore, teacher training also depends on which school track students are prepared for. Whereas preparation for primary school teachers is relatively advanced, only one third of the future teachers in lower and vocational secondary education receive training on language acquisition. The study warns that this piecemeal approach is a major obstacle to promote educational equality in German schools. Furthermore, it reports that two thirds of the students surveyed do not feel prepared to adequately support children whose first language is not German.
There are currently more than one million kids living in the UK whose native language is not English. In the past, most studies in the field of migrant education have therefore concentrated on the link between language proficiency and school performance. Now, however, a new study provides a fresh approach to the topic by looking beyond the traditional indicator of language acquisition. A team of researchers, led by Professor Madeleine Arnot from Cambridge University and Dr Claudia Schneider from Anglia Ruskin University, are investigating how linguistic development and academic performance correlate with social integration both in and outside the classroom. The first part of their study for which they interviewed around 40 students, parents, practitioners and policy makers was recently finalized. It outlines the difficulties of knowing what type of policies and educational support programs will “work”, how to communicate with non-English speaking parents and whether bilingual education in schools helps or actually hinders integration. The second part of the study will focus on longitudinal tracking of recently arrived pupils and analyze how their educational achievement correlates with social integration.
The purpose of the Council Directive 2004/114is to determine the conditions and procedures for admission of third-country nationals to the territory of the Member States for a period exceeding three months for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training or voluntary service. The implementation of this directive shows a number of weaknesses. This is why the European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL) strongly supports the European Commission’s efforts to improve the rules by revising the existing directive. EUCIS-LLL made some concreterecommendationsin order to have a more coherent and efficient system in the EU.