Summary

In Europe around 15 million children have Special Educational Needs (SEN) . They frequently leave school with few or no qualifications, before moving into specialist training. People with disabilities or SEN are much more likely to be unemployed or economically inactive, and even those who are relatively successful in the job market often earn less than their counterparts. The child with SEN remains far behind in reading-writing or reckoning in comparison with his/her intellectual abilities, with the amount of home and school exercises.

Unfortunately, there is a huge number of cases of children with SEN in the partner countries and also a constant increase of the teachers’ requests to be provided with training  and informative sessions on this topic. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the Communication Department of the applicant FSLI, 32.452 teachers would like to receive information and best practices on children with SEN, and 8697 of them want to take part in a training course in the next 6 months. The greatest interest relates to new teaching methods and the use of compensatory instruments in didactic activity (83 % of respondents).

Furthermore, in Romania, at the beginning of 2016, was adopted the Law 6/2016 on the education of people with specific learning disabilities for the completion of the National Education Law no. 1/2011. According to the law (art. 473), a Methodology should be developed within 90 days to provide the necessary support for pupils with learning difficulties to enable the law to be enforced and to change the status of these children in the Romanian school. It is the first time that dyslexia, dyscalculia etc are recognized by a law in Romania.

In Greece, when a child is diagnosed with a Specific Educational Needs, depending on the extent of the problem may go to a special school, which are either private or public (Special Education and Training Schools – SMAE). Nevertheless, for various reasons, many children remain to the normal schools, leaving the problem to be solved by the teachers, without having, in most of the cases, the proper specialization or tools.

Also the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research expressed the need to provide teachers with pedagogical tools and methodologies in order to acquire more articulated and cohesive skills and competences required to respond to the formative needs of subjects with SEN.

While the numbers of teachers in the Irish education system, including SEN teachers has increased over the past 15 years, many teachers lack adequate training on SEN to enable them to identify and effectively support students with dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties/disabilities.

Given this situation, the main objective of MAGIC SENS is to enhance the skills and competences of teachers, teachers trainers and all those subjects from the educational chain in dealing with young people with Special Educational Needs such as specific learning disabilities, specific language problems, ADHD deficit (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), ASD deficit (Autistic Spectrum Disorders) and Borderline Intellectual Functioning.

Project Actions

Project Actions

  • Activation of a process of comparison between the countries participating in the project, based on an effective transnational cooperation which might affect the cultural paradigm of reference.
  • Identification of good practices, legislation and methodologies related to the SEN issues  in the partner countries in order to identify the most significant and effective tools, standards and policies that the different countries use and implement.
  • Sharing of the results through the creation of a SEN Toolkit for teachers.
  • Definition and creation of an Online Platform dedicated to all subjects from the educational chain that aims to strengthen the network and increase the quality of exchange between the project partners as well as to disseminate and maximize the project results at European level.
  • Design and creation of an Online Training for teachers that could be implemented both online and offline, adapting it to the specific national needs and requirements.
  • Dissemination of the project  results to professionals through training courses, promotional campaigns, targeted meetings, social media and other information channels.

The implementation of this project at transnational and trans-sectorial level allows:

  • To raise awareness on the strengths and weaknesses on the SEN issues in the educational sector.
  • To facilitate the progressive change of the teaching methodologies from a static / external position  – in which the difficulties of a SEN are simply ascertained –  to a more dynamic / active position – in which it is really possible to answer to the needs of students with SEN.
  • To create models of sharing and exchange of good practices and experiences.
Expected Results

Expected Results

With the aim to contribute to the rationalization and the empowerment of the educational methodologies for young people with SEN – in a transnational and trans-sectorial perspective – the project foresees several operational actions that start from the empirical investigation of the different teaching practices and arrive at the definition of approach strategies and operational tools for teachers and at the expansion of the logic of the graduated approach, with reference to the different contexts, in order to provide more quality, inclusive and targeted provision for subjects with SEN by enhancing the skills and competences of all those subjects from the educational chain.

In fact, partners strongly believe that by intervening directly on the professionals of the educational chain, this can contribute to guarantee a better quality of the services and a more inclusive education, to encourage the coordination and the cooperation of various actors (both at national and international level) and to increase the diffusion of knowledge and some specific tools on the issues regarding SEN among the education professionals.

The project foresees the realization of 3 Intellectual Outputs that will be translated in three languages (IT, GR, RO):

  1. SEN Toolkit for Teachers
  2. Online Platform
  3. Online Training for Teachers

Besides the Intellectual Outputs, the project expected results during its implementation and on its completion are the following:

  • the creation of a transnational network among the partners and therefore a strengthening of their level of internationalization.
  • a strengthened cooperation among subjects that operate at different levels and sectors of the educational chain.
  • the improvement of the quality and of the effectiveness of the education and training provided by the partners and by all the organizations and subjects directly and indirectly involved in the project activities, through the diffusion of common approach indications and the trans-cultural and trans-sectorial sharing.
  • the enhancement of the skills and competences and the acquisition of specific tools for the professionals of the partner organisations and by all those organizations and subjects directly and indirectly involved in the education of young people with SEN,  in order to contrast the formative gaps and to empower the autonomous choice processes of students with SEN.
  • N.8 video interviews of teachers on concrete examples of successful cases of graduated approach.
  • N.24 trainers participating at the short staff training mobility.
  • N.4 Trainings for teachers (one per country) using the Online Training and adapting it to the national needs.
  • creation of  N.4 Stakeholder Committees, one in each partner Country.
  • Quality Assurance Handbook, published on Online Platform.
  • N.4 focus group at transnational level.
  • N.4 dissemination seminars held in the partner Countries with at least 250 subjects informed on the activities and the results of the project.
Innovation of the project

Innovation of the project

The innovation of MAGIC SENS stands in:

1)Bottom up approach and systematization of tools and knowledge for  teachers and trainers, through a transparent communication among the institutional subjects and public and private stakeholders involved in the educational chain. In fact, the activities and the outputs foreseen by the project are the result of a reflection and comparison among the project partners, defined by indicators of the concrete national needs and all that subjects and social key-actors that have a consolidated experience in this field.

For this reason and in a bottom up approach, the project proposes to:

–  Answer to the needs individualized through strategic actions for the collection and analysis of good practices in use in the participants countries and in  Europe for teaching strategies and methodologies of subjects with SEN;

– Systematize the emerged experiences and teaching tools under a perspective of transnational comparison (the different European partners involved) – and trans-sectorial (school-training centres –trade unions- policy makers).

2) The creation of a SEN Toolkit for Teachers, Online Training for Teachers and an Online Platform. The partners internal reconnaissance aims to collect the good practices in teaching subjects with SEN, the national laws, policies and the effective tools (with the purpose to systematize them in indications), The Toolkit and 4 Modules of the Online Training for teachers and to disseminate them through the Online Platform and the 4 National trainings and Multiplier Events.

This allows to intervene in an univocal and transparent manner and to align the approaches and the interventions, in order to empower the teaching processes and to provide the opportunity for the social actors of the educational chain to enhance their knowledge and to acquire qualitative information and tools. Furthermore, the platform will connect professionals with the indirect target of the project, such as the young people with SEN, their families, the private and public sector, in a logic of community of practice in which all the involved subjects can contribute to the definition of the strategies and of the responses to the needs.

3) The partnership structure itself, that foresees the involvement of subjects that operate in the educational field with different approaches, experiences and expertises, is representative of a plurality of sectors, professionals and approaches (school representatives, training centres, centre for the diagnosis and the support of subjects with SEN, communication experts, private association operating for the social welfare). The different composition and cultural context of the partnership represent a further added value: the integration among different approaches in a strategy to operate for the overcoming of plural ethnocentric visions.

As it regards the complementarity of MAGIC SENS with others projects at European level, we can say that the Online Platform will be built following the model elaborated by the project REVEAL2 (Erasmus+ 2014-1-IT01-KA204 -003994).

Furthermore, under the program Erasmus+, in September 2015 has begun the strategic partnership “SEN Employment link: Working with Employers and Trainers to support Young People with Special Educational Needs / Disability into Employment” (2015-1-UK01-KA202 -013651) that aims to create one “Mini Guide for the employers of young people with SEN and disabilities”. The complementarity among SEN Employment links and MAGIC SENS lays in the fact that, while from one  side the first one set its objective in supporting the employers in the choice of subjects with SEN, the second one aims at the improvement and the adaptation of the teaching processes of those subjects toward an inclusive and quality education able to support young people with SEN to stay in step with the other pupils thus receiving the same development opportunities.

MAGIC SENS is complementary also to the project Dezvoltare Profesională Prin Conectare Europeană, which is just concluded and, although was focused on similar aspects – the needs of teachers’ specific competences to deal with SEN students – has worked on ICT skills and tools. In the preparation phase MAGIC SENS partners have deeply discussed about the relevance of ICT competences and have concluded that, especially in Romani, training activities for teachers must be delivered in blended modality according to the National law. Moreover with MAGIC SENS project partners will go further of what the project Dezvoltare Profesională Prin Conectare Europeană has worked on, experimenting the co-creation of training modules for teachers, involving them directly in a transnational training activity.

Target Groups

Target Groups

Educational / training professionals who deal with individuals in the range of age 10-18 with Special Educational Needs such as specific learning disorders, specific language disorders, deficits from attention and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mild autism spectrum disorder and borderline or limit intellectual functioning. Each teacher/trainer holds primary responsibility for the learning of every student in the class and plays a key role in ensuring that the specific needs of students with disability and additional learning and support needs are met. In fact, their role should consist of:

  • identifying and responding to the additional learning needs of students
  • facilitating and coordinating a the approach to improving the learning outcomes of every student
  • coordinating the planning processes and resourcing for students with disability and additional learning and support needs
  • designing and implementing the supports required so that all students access quality learning
  • developing collaborative partnerships with other teachers/trainers, parents and carers, other professionals and the wider school community.

Unfortunately, often teachers/trainers don’t have a proper specialization or tools to respond to all this key criteria. For this reason and with the aim to enhance and improve the skills of the professionals in supporting students with SEN, the last will be involved in the preliminary investigation of needs through:

  • focus groups during which will be distributed questionnaires to identify and analyse their starting skills regarding the target of subjects with SEN;
  • the definition of the methodologies useful to improve their performance;
  • the definition and the production of the Toolkit that will represent their Reference Manual for dealing with young people with SEN;
  • participation in seminars and the definition of the Online Training and the Online Platform.

As already mentioned above, the project aims to undertake an active collaboration intended as a community of practice, which is characterized with a continuous process of confrontation regarding both, a reflection on the issue of an inclusive and quality education / training for all and  the continuous updating of teachers/trainers skills and competences for the definition of appropriate operational models and strategies, which can contribute to the definition of a recognizable profile and a minimum standard of competences for the support of subjects with SEN under a trans-sectorial  and transnational perspective.

Indirect Target

Indirect Target

Thanks to the various types and numerous dissemination activities foreseen by the project, the indirect beneficiaries, in addition to the members of the Stakeholder Committees are:

1) the students with SEN, ther families, the public and employment services in the various Countries involved;

2) Supervisory authorities of primary and secondary education

3) Directors of public and private schools.

4) National Federations and unions of organizations for mental health

5) Professionals who deal with children.

6)  the labour market organizations, for which the overall improvement in the performance of education and training for students with SEN, as well as the desired change in mentality and different cultural approach of the stakeholders of the sector, is certainly an added value.

The project foresees the involvement of at least 4000 indirect beneficiaries, even if one of the main functions of the Online Platform is to reach, without limit, anyone interested in the issues of SEN and in the various tools and / or methodologies for their concrete support. Anyway, a precise estimation of the number of the indirect beneficiaries cannot be made without taking into account the type of tool – a web portal – and its intrinsic characteristic of being accessible in a capillary and transversal manner.