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NAOS “Professional capacity dealing with diversity”

The central topic of NAOS is professional capacity of teachers concerning dealing with diversity related to migration (in all its different forms). Professional capacity includes innovative forms of cooperation between educational professionals and other professionals dealing with children.

The objective of the Erasmus+ strategic partnership would be to strengthen professional capacity in the partner countries (Netherlands, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Estland, Greece, Norway, Lithuania and Portugal) and their respective schools, with the ultimate goal to increase educational attainment and reduce drop out and unemployment rates among groups of migrant children. The project is called ‘NAOS’, a star that refers to the fundament of a Greek building. By choosing this name, we emphasize the idea that professional capacity is the fundament of good quality education.

A review of the literature (Severiens, Wolff & Van Herpen, 2014)  shows that strengthening professional capacity with the aim to stimulate school success among diverse groups of migrant students asks for expertise in five content areas. Urban teachers (or teachers in classrooms with diverse student populations) should first of all know about language development in classes of pupils whose first language is not the language of instruction. Secondly, these teachers should be competent in using didactic resources that support the learning of all their pupils. Diverse classes need different didactic resources and different types of instruction than homogeneous classrooms. If schools and teachers are committed to encouraging the talents of all their pupils they should have knowledge of the use of teaching materials, methods and types of instruction designed for diverse classes. In addition, urban teachers should know about social psychology issues such as stereotyping, teacher expectations and ethnic-identity issues. And finally, urban teachers that succeed in engaging the parents of their diverse pupils as well as cooperate with community organisations on a basis of equality will further support school achievement in their urban schools.  The review by Severiens et al. concludes that if schools are committed to increasing achievement among migrant groups, and closing the achievement gap, they should facilitate high levels of professional capacity in these five areas of expertise.

On the basis of the review, Naos intends to organize activities in each of these five areas. The idea is to collect and exchange information from the participating countries on effective pre-service teacher training as well as in-service professional development activities.