The Cohesion of Schools as Communities in the Management of COVID-19 Pandemic: Reflections, Narratives, Fears and Hopes from the Voices of Children in England and Italy
by Angela Scollan Prof. Claudio Baraldi Prof. Federico Farini – [ Journal of Dialogue Studies Vol 9 ]
AbstractThe classroom can be a community of dialogic practices where personal and cultural identities are constructed and negotiated and a key context for integration of children with migrant background. However, for the first time in many decades, children across Europe, and globally, have been removed from their primary contexts of socialisation in the public health scramble to contain the pandemic, primarily through extended lockdowns. The consequences of the management of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cohesion of schools as intercultural communities of learning impacted on teachers, children and families. Public health measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic affect the quality of children’s learning experience and deny access to the classroom as a space of socialisation and intercultural dialogue. Developing from the analysis of 50 focus groups with children in Italian and English primary and secondary schools, this contribution discusses the perspective of children on how the management of the pandemic: 1) impacted on the learning experience, in particular the progression of children with limited access to suitable spaces and resources for home learning; 2) affected the networks of social relationships and intercultural dialogue that have the classroom as their substratum.