This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Approaches for inclusive science teaching currently tend to focus on only one dimension of diversity at a time. This neglects the fact that diversity is multidimensional in nature and the consideration of only one dimension of diversity can yield inclusive practices of only limited scope.
The goal of the DiSSI project (Diversity in Science towards Social Inclusion – Non-formal Education in Science for Students’ Diversity) is, therefore, to promote inclusive teaching practices for dealing with several dimensions of diversity simultaneously. Researchers from Ireland, Germany, the UK, Slovenia, and Macedonia, will develop a teaching approach that considers the needs of (i) students with a low socio-economic status, (ii) students of ethnic minorities or with cultural backgrounds that differ from the mainstream culture, (iii) with low linguistic skills, and (iv) gifted students. These groups are particularly disadvantaged in science education as it has been shown in research.
Methods and examples of good practice for dealing with these dimensions of diversity in science education will be developed. For this purpose, a pedagogical model of differentiation has been developed and will be further improved as the project progresses. The teaching will be inclusive, in the sense that it allows for cooperative learning, while supporting the learning progress of the four disadvantaged groups of students together. The development will take place in non-formal education settings because these offer the extra-curricular freedom to try different approaches. Furthermore, DiSSI pedagogical approach will be tried out in a context that is free from formal assessment pressures.
In order to implement the DiSSI concept in formal education, pre- and in-service teacher training on the DiSSI approach for inclusive science teaching will be provided. In addition, the researchers will seek to implement the DiSSI approach in different school curricula and beyond, through strong partnerships and further network building with teachers, school principals, and policy makers.