ELTE_19_Top End – Open Days

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Proposal description

The underlying idea of my project is as follows:
In societies with a segregated school system, high performance and low performance schools face each other, which in society’s eyes are considered schools that are “better” or “worse”. I assume that this development is subject to a self-reinforcement effect, since parents from better socio-economic backgrounds do not want to give their children (who thus have a starting advantage – for example by consuming cultural goods) to such “worse” schools. This means that children from poorer socio-economic conditions cannot benefit from them.
In extreme cases, these poorer schools represent “problem schools”, in which the
proportion of foreigners (and therefore more linguistic and cultural challenges) and
the proportion of schoolchildren with special needs are relatively high.
In addition, one should not neglect the influence of the “title” of these schools. To
adress the schools as “better” or “worse” has an impact on the learner´s
An interesting study to this topic provide Robert Rosenthal and Lenore
Jacobson. In their study they wanted to find out what influence the expectation of the
teacher has on the performance of the learners. They determined this with a test. At
random they entitled some learners as „sprouts“. These sprouts ultimately delivered
better results than everyone else: “The results of the experiment we have described
in some detail provide further evidence that one person’s expectations of another’s
behavior may come to serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy. When teachers expected
that certain children would show greater intellectual development, those children did
show greater intellectual development. ” (ROSENTHAL et al. 1968, p. 20)
I conclude that the performance of learners across schools is similarly dependent on
society’s expectations.
In order to counteract this development, I designed the following project. The
underlying idea is that if the parents get to know not only the school, but also other
parents (who may have a migration background or children with special needs), their
choice of school is less influenced by the public image of the school (“better” or
“worse” school ).
The project would take place annually before the start of school at the urban NMS
(especially in the urban areas there is a discrepancy between “worse” and “better”
As already mentioned, this project focuses on schools as well as parents. In this way,
the teachers, the school as an institution and with its guiding principles, the parents
and, last but not least, the pupils relate to each other.
The project is based on that of the “Open Day”. However, it is different that not only
the parents should relate to the school, but also the parents to each other. They do
this with their children by visiting various stations that the school is preparing. A
station could be cooking together, in which the parents bring the ingredients and
cook a dish together – thus the different cultures may also come into contact. Another
station could be an “Olympiad”, in which families compete against each other. Sprint,
long jump and impact ball could be disciplines. So that the teachers are not
neglected, they could introduce themselves and their subject with experiments and
guided workshops.
In order for parents to visit multiple schools, schools are assigned to the parents of
the prospective student (with the assigned schools located in the same district where
the families live) that they can attend.
It is foreseeable that this project will be a major effort. Both the school (which has to
prepare the stations) and the parents (who have to go to several schools and get in
contact with the other parents) have to be motivated so that this project has a chance
of success. There will probably be some resistance especially from parents, as they
may have already considered a school for their child – so why should they visit other
schools? Perhaps the solution is to design the project less as an obligation and more
as an event that you would like to go to. Together you could plan an exciting day in
which the individual stations make up a big picture. While some families prepare
lunch together, other families contest the “Olympics”. Lunch is eaten together and in
the afternoon the teachers can introduce themselves with their experiments and
ROSENTHAL Robert/ JACOBSON Lenore (1968): Pygmalion in the Classroom,
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Asked on 19/02/2020 11 h 37 min