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INSETRom in Cyprus Loizos Symeou, Department of Education Sciences, European University Cyprus Yiasemina Karagiorgi, Ministry of Education and Culture.

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Presentation on theme: "INSETRom in Cyprus Loizos Symeou, Department of Education Sciences, European University Cyprus Yiasemina Karagiorgi, Ministry of Education and Culture."— Presentation transcript:

1 INSETRom in Cyprus Loizos Symeou, Department of Education Sciences, European University Cyprus Yiasemina Karagiorgi, Ministry of Education and Culture Eleni Roussounidou, Counselling Psychologist, Ministry of Education and Culture Comenius Project 134018-LLP-1-2007-1-CY-COMENIUS-CMP Teacher In-Service Training for Roma Inclusion

2 Roma Education in Cyprus  The constitution of the Republic of Cyprus: Roma pupils living at the south part of the country enrol in Greek-Cypriot schools Roma who fail to send their children to school are not considered to violate the law  Social services try to convince Roma families to urge their children to attend and stay in school Parents are presented with various incentives, such as uniforms, shoes, school equipment, in order to keep their children in schools  The numbers of Turkish and Roma pupils in Greek-Cypriot primary schools:  2000-2001: 30  2003-2004: 90  2004-2005: 91 (29 in Paphos and 62 in Limassol)  2008-2009: 100

3 Roma Education in Cyprus  Studies on Roma pupils’ attendance:  Roma parents in Limassol saw no reason to send their children to school, as they understood nothing; they got into fights and felt excluded (Hatzitheodoulou-Loizidou & Symeou, 2003; Trimikliniotis, 2007)  Racial prejudice towards the Roma, as well as negative attitudes of the Roma towards education (Demetriou & Trimikliniotis, 2007)  Problems related to:  Measures adopted to provide education for Roma were not evaluated  Inadequacy of the school curricula  Absence of relevant teacher training  Language barriers  Overall failure of the system to recognise Roma culture and contribution to society (Demetriou & Trimikliniotis, 2007)

4 The INSETRom Project in Cyprus  Sample 3 schools: 2 primary (P1 and P2) and 1 secondary Number of Roma pupils:  P1-urban area: 44 Turkish-Cypriots or Roma, 9 Turkish speaking, 57 Greek-Cypriots, other  P2-rural area : 6 Roma  Secondary: 10-12 Turkish-Cypriot or Roma Irregular attendance Language of communication: only Turkish School characteristics:  Presence of Roma, Turkish-Cypriot and non-Greek speaking students  Low socio-economic composition of the region  Large numbers of children facing educational difficulties  Belong to the Zones of Educational Priority

5 Stage 1: Needs assessment  Fieldwork in schools: A needs assessment of teachers providing the basis for curriculum development for teacher in-service training on Roma educational inclusion  Semi-structured interviews of a sample of teachers’, Roma parents and Roma children  Comparison between the outcomes of the three groups: similarities and differences in perceptions on the emerging themes

6 Stage 2: The Curriculum  A common analytic curriculum for teacher training  Goals, modules and methodology  Targeted curricular sections responding to each country’s specific educational needs  The training modules: Culture and enculturation Stereotypes and prejudices Roma history and Roma culture, Cultures of the schools-The arts and cultural diversity Intercultural education Classroom management and methodology Curriculum development Teacher-parent communication (

7 Stage 3: The Training  Structure:  Five three hour afternoon meetings during February-April 2009  Aims:  Supporting participants to apply intervention strategies and social- psychological strategies to involve Roma parents in their children’s education by effectively communicating with Roma parents and developing an action plan at class and/or school level  Training Modules:  Culture and enculturation  Roma history, Roma culture  Intercultural education  Classroom management and methodology  Curriculum development  Participants:  17 (14 teachers and 3 local social agents)  All teacher trainees had Roma children in the class, ranging from 15% to 75%.

8 Instruments  Pre- and Post- training questionnaires  Reflective interviews of the Greek-Cypriot teachers who participated in the training

9 Findings from the needs assessment study  Teachers Inadequate Training Background No support or specialized knowledge on teaching methods for multicultural classrroms. The existing curriculum and teaching materials designed for Greek-Cypriot pupils. Roma children predestined for failure. Areas of concern: Student motivation and absenteeirsm, parental invovlement, needs- based action at schools, student integration, Roma cultural identity  Parents Concerns about the social and academic role of the school Issues of bullying, language difficulties, cultural issues, social isolation  Roma children Needs similar to parents Language barriers, fight prone environment of school, language issues, wish that teachers knew more about the culture

10 Findings from the evaluation of training  Somewhat useful but not adequate  Teachers continued to lack sufficient knowledge, skills and confidence to work optimally with Roma children and parents  Need for further training in view of parctical everyday classroom challenges  Evaluation as expected by trainers  Conclusions in line with those of other studies underlining teacher concerns about the difficulties of implementing integrated schooling.

11 Conclusions  Teachers must be viewed as cultural entities with beliefs, perceptions, attitudes and expectations about the Other  Teachers must be viewed as reflective individuals and professionals who possess their own, personal culture and identity on which any intervention should build on  Teachers are culturally and historically situated

12 Conclusions  Is schooling in its traditional form appropriate for Roma needs?  Making education contribute to a better life for Roma that would fit their values for life  Programmes involving bodies and individuals in the Roma communities  Minimazation of conflicts  Language issues  Social relationships of Roma and the school and the school and the Roma

13 Concluding remarks and recommendations  Need for policy and institutional changes (both structural and cultural)  Teacher training to improve teachers’ understanding of Roma history and culture and to respond to the challenge of teaching in multicultural classrooms  Teacher training to focus on the multicultureness of today’s society, on the inter-culture relating to the Other, and on how humans become cultured

14 Absenteeism  All of a sudden, they ‘disappear’… Similarly, they ‘appear’ after a year. During the first year, after the first rains they would ‘disappear’ … (just like snails coming out after rain, these people would do the opposite, i.e. disappear after the raining period starts’). (teacher 1)  They come to school regularly but they do not attend all their classes. (teacher 5)  …As time goes by, more and more Roma children are enrolled in our school from early ages whereas Greek Cypriot pupils avoid enrolment in our school because of the Roma presence… They go to other schools… (teacher 2)

15 Motivation  They are happy just living as they live. They do not want anything else from school and do not expect anything else from us. (teacher 4)  They [the Roma pupils] are not interested in learning, they come to school to play and socialise, they search for an excuse to go out of the class… these are aspects of their culture. (teacher 3)  Roma pupils lack skills to comply with rules. It is very difficult for them to integrate in the classroom. I do not believe that these pupils benefit from school. (teacher 4)  Roma [pupils] feel like strangers at school. (teacher 2)

16 School adjustment  The children do not get integrated and they never will. They may acquire a number of desirable attitudes/habits such as the love to learn, the habit to hold a spoon and a fork to eat; however, they will always stand out as different. (teacher 1)  They are close to their family….they only communicate with their family members…. they form a clique against others….they feel to be treated as ‘them’ and ‘others’.(teacher 3)

17 Teacher training needs  Once one of the female teachers got into conflict with a student, who threatened to beat her up. I ask the student ‘Don’t I get angry with you as well?’ The student answers ‘Yes, but you are ‘human’ (man)’. This is a social dimension of their culture; that it is OK for a man to get angry but not for a woman. We need social research studies to know more about Roma culture. (teacher 2)  …to know about their history….from where they came… they appeared in our country…..why they were not affiliated in the system…. (teacher 3)  What do we (the formal society) want from them? What exactly are the needs of these people… and do we really want to fulfil their needs and how? Can someone give us an answer? (teacher 5)

18 Teacher training needs  I do this job without having any training that would enable me to teach this specific group of pupils. Part from what I know for these people comes from my experience and part of it from what I read. I would like to know more from organized seminars that would be designed for our -teachers in this kind of schools- needs. These seminars should be designed and executed by experts.(teacher 2)  I have not acquired any knowledge on Roma culture on an organized basis. I have read by myself several books. For the first time, I learned about the Roma through my school experiences… I would like more organized seminars from specialists. (teacher 5)

19 Social isolation  They (the teachers) do not know how we live here. They never came to see us. Nobody knows us. Nobody asked us what we need. (parent 4)  I would like my teachers to know more about the way we live. We celebrate different things, we eat different food… (child 1)  The Turkish-Cypriot play football and with the computers at school and the Greek-Cypriots read. (child 1)

20 Language barriers  There should be a Turkish teacher as well in school ….Some children do not speak Greek so well. If there was a teacher speaking Turkish this would be very helpful for them. (parent 4)  If our teachers could speak to us in Turkish, I think I would have stayed in school. (child 4)

21 Bullying  Other children hit my children. My daughter has a broken arm… My son was hit on his ear. (parent 3)  He [his son] was older than his classmates. They were making fun of him […] He went to the school nearby but got in quarrels with other children. He did not have a good time there. They called him “Turk” […]; my girls went to school but did not finish because of the fights. (parent 2)  I like school, but I do not like it when children fight each other. Turkish- Cypriots and Greeks fight each other. There are a lot of fights, but I am not involved. (child 4)  This teacher, he teases us and make us fight between each other... (child 2)

22 Training evaluation  “We did not receive answers for the essential and practical problems we teachers face in dealing with and helping Roma children in specific” (teacher 12).  “Even though it was very experientially presented, we deal with even more complicated situations in our everyday life. Instead of receiving practical advice, we gave so many things to the discussion”. (teacher 6)  Roma are not as the rest children in a multicultural school. Children from different than the majority of the school cultural backgrounds don’t [teacher’s emphasis] come to school with serious lack of experiences, knowledge and so forth; they just don’t speak the language. This is not the case with Roma. Most of these children have also behavioral problems. (teacher 4)

23 Training evaluation  I would like to pursue the idea of home visits of my Roma pupils, so that their parents are convinced to come to school. I will thus be also able to establish positive relations with the Roma families. (teacher 14)  Thus I will become more able to handle my own prejudices first and then teach Roma pupils and other pupils to face their prejudices against Roma. (teacher 4)  I plan to work more on accepting Roma uniqueness. Then, I will utilise in my teaching elements on their own culture, so that they accept me and realise that since I can get from them they can get from me. (teacher 7)

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