DIS-CODE Policy Recommendations on Early School Leaving Published

The Early School Leaving phenomenon was examined in depth during the DIS-CODE project coming to an end in December. After two years of collaboration between teachers, students and organisations from Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Italy and Portugal, the policy recommendations are available for policy makers and other stakeholders. The project conducted research and workshops in order to define which innovative teaching methods would benefit students that face the risk of dropping out, or are in the need of assistance.

The introduction of computational thinking, project-based method, gamification and the flipped classroom approach were examined as potentially beneficial for teachers; whereas a wide range of recommendations towards policy makers and other professionals within the domain of education were conceptualized and analyzed.

Find below the recommendations:

Innovative teaching approaches to address early school leaving that emphasize on collaboration

Communication and collaboration between peers, classmates and later in the workspace is one of the most fundamental skills to possess in the 21st century. It provides the opportunity for group work that results in peer feedback and opinion exchange; and it additionally ensures that each contributing member will provide an additional value.

For this reason, teachers are encouraged to incorporate in their lessons approaches that promote collaboration in the classroom like the project-based method and the flipped classroom approach, particularly today with all the digital means in our disposal that facilitate students to look for and exchange information.

Promoting networking opportunities for teachers, establishing collaboration on European level, and reward actively involved teachers

Teachers are encouraged to be proactive in forming professional networks on European level, as well as online communities that will facilitate the exchange of information and materials. Similarly, policy makers are advised to consider ways to reward actively engaged teachers who participate in international initiatives, competitions and educational activities involving their classrooms.

Parents and families as factors of stability

Policy makers are advised to seek for ways to improve effective family-school partnerships, as well as overall support for parents including medical, social and training opportunities. It is crucial to ensure that as many as possible currently unemployed parents will have the chance to return to the workforce, providing stability for their households.

The importance of setting a strong base early on

Whereas early school leaving is not a pressing issue before middle school, teachers are called to be very attentive during the first years of education in order to detect early signals of disengagement and respond accordingly. In addition, teachers are encouraged to experiment and try with their students to game-based activities that will introduce them to mathematics and ICT during the early stages of education.

Empowering students through computational thinking

Computational thinking as a problem-solving method encourages students to be analytical and critical, and to build solutions keeping only the information they need. This is particularly important today with the information overload that we are exposed to, and it also helps students approach challenges in every subject.

Embedding education in spaces outside school

Policy makers and teachers are welcome to explore ways to accommodate educational activities in spaces outside the traditional school space. The benefits would be multiple: students would realize that opportunities for education and engagement could occur outside school boundaries; and opportunities for mobility and exchange could be offered.

Exploring and assessing new trends in education

Gamification and edutainment are examined and assessed as potential additions in the classroom; and teachers are asked to evaluate to which extent they should be incorporated in lessons. Additionally, policy makers and professionals in the field of education are called to evaluate the edutainment materials used in class in order to ensure that they maintain all the quality standards.

Link numeracy and mathematics with real life skills, digital competences and entrepreneurship

Teachers are advised to find ways and reverse the prejudice many students have that mathematics and other STEM subjects are challenging, by introducing them with more creative ways in their class. Additionally, the long-term benefits of numeracy and digital skills; and the way they can impact students' lives should be explored.

Read the full publication here.