Mixed classes And Pedagogical Solutions (MAPS)

Urban and school segregation in cities result in diversification of the actual educational environments, where children study and spend their time in urban schools. Especially in (lower-)secondary education the levels of school segregation have increased in the capital areas of Finland, Iceland and the Netherlands. How about in (pre-)primary schools? Mixed classes And Pedagogical Solutions (MAPS) intends to offer a comparative view on policies and practices of inclusion in (pre-)primary education. We approach educational inclusion from a holistic and an intersectional perspective highlighting ethnicity, social class, gender, and educational needs when comparing the three cities: Helsinki, Reykjavik and Amsterdam.

The proposed study contributes to the research literature dealing with social justice in education, policies and practices of ethnic and social mixing, mixed ability-grouping and learning, and teachers' pedagogical solutions in socially diverse educational environments. Given that pupils educational experiences contribute mightily to societal cohesion and stability via socialising, discussion of such arrangements culminate in questions about teaching children with different social backgrounds and educational needs together or separately; whether to introduce socially segregating policies and practices, or to promote inclusive education.

This comparative study aims to provide in-depth understanding on how the policies and practices of inclusion are formulated (macro), interpreted (meso) and articulated (micro) in the everyday-life in schools with socially and educationally mixed pupil compositions. The main research question is, how are different policies and processes of inclusion embedded and applied in socially, ethnically and educationally mixed (pre-)primary schools in Finland, Iceland and the Netherlands, and what are their social and pedagogical implications in the everyday-practices in schools?

The analysis is constructed on literature review, policy-analysis, quantitative analysis on existing register data, and school ethnographies. The main hypothesis is that the policies of inclusive education remain relative and are articulated and implemented in local contexts in such ways that the simultaneous investigation of educational policies, local and school-level grouping practices, and class-room cultures is required in order to grasp the different manifestations of inclusive education, which may contribute to socially just education.


Siri Bjarnar. Photo: NordForsk

Siri Jørgensen Bjarnar

Chief Operating Officer