Minorities Education Through the Arts


Children come to school as integrated people with thoughts and feelings, words and pictures, ideas and fantasies. They are intensely curious about the world. They are scientists, artists, musicians, historians, dancers and runners, tellers of stories, and mathematicians. The challenge we face as teachers is to use the wealth they bring us. They come with a two-sided mind. We must encourage them to use it, to develop both types of thinking so that they have access to the fullest possible range of mental abilities.

Linda Williams, Teaching for the Two Sided Mind

In recent years, Western scholars and researchers have been intensifying the study of the use of art in education, especially as regards children from disadvantaged or migratory backgrounds or with learning difficulties. Thousands of projects of different dimensions, micro and macro, have been designed all over Europe to foster innovative pedagogies involving all types of arts in primary schools. Some of them have been very “empirical”, while others have been supported by assessment and evaluation from different disciplinary perspectives: social sciences, pedagogy, psychology, anthropology, cultural studies and intercultural dialogue among them.

The META project ‘ Minorities Education through Art’ is based on the idea that arts improve students’ motivation, concentration, confidence, teamwork, cognitive ability, critical thinking, verbal skills, among other key competences. In other words, the use of arts in the class is closely related to students’ academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, equitable opportunities of inclusion not only in the classroom but in Society as a whole.

META therefore aims at providing an in-depth knowledge of effective methodologies and tools that use different art forms to reduce disparities in learning effecting pre-primary and primary students from minorities groups including Roma and developing an innovative and collaborative teaching and learning methodology for European teachers  that will contribute to social cohesion, European citizenship social economic inclusion and economic growth.

Introducing music, dance, singing and the visual arts in the classroom seeks to involve children into concrete, innovative and entertaining educational paths so as to facilitate their integration into the school world which may otherwise present insurmountable obstacles.

An inclusive Europe of cultures and people cannot afford that still too many children from disadvantaged backgorunds leave school very early, even without completing minimal educational curses. As education experts and activitists for change, we cannot accept that children with migrant background or belonging to minorities groups are disproportionally overrepresented amongst early school leavers and belong to the lowest performing percentiles because they have a number of critical, and specific, education needs that are not currently met through mainstream education policy.

Nevertheless, the risk of drop out or alienation in the classroom does not concern only children from minorities groups or from migrant background: such innovative pedagogies have been proven to be very effective for all children and can also contribute to awareness-raising for teachers and foster involvement of all parents.

In a Europe of turmoil and fear, where the main victim of terror is faith and solidarity among citizens, migrant education appears to be the most important issue facing European education over the next decades.

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The META project addressed the following needs:

  • Improvement of pedagogical approach and didactics for all children, but in particular for children belonging to minorities groups (Roma included)
  • Improvement of access to education for children belonging to minorities groups (Roma included)
  • Equal and better life learning chances for all
  • Enhance active citizenship, foster intercultural dialogue and social cohesion among people of all origins belonging to the same local communities

Therefore the main objective of META is to contribute to the eradication of any possible barrier of access to education for children aged between 5-11 belonging to minorities groups, especially Roma, economic migrants and, particularly in recent times, young refugees and asylum seekers. Reckoning that inequity in European education systems still persists,  META will develop a META Pedagogical Methodology and an Advocacy Toolkit, based on research material, good practices and the assessed needs of stakeholders that will contribute to reduce disparities in learning outcomes for minorities groups and provide a new set of tools to teachers facilitating the setting up of multiculturality.

The innovative educative methodology was based on previous experiences and new piloting of  practices of the arts, especially the ones that appear more familiar with the different minorities groups (be it music, dance, theatre or other) to learn curricular subjects and develop key competences of EU citizenships.

Social inclusion and multicultural values will be mainstreamed not only at the School level, but with the whole local communities involved.

META intended to:

  • Interact, consult and engage with a wide range of stakeholders, institutions and public authorities in order to provide them with evidence-based tools.
  • Enhance access, participation and completion of young students, belonging to a minorities group and beyond, in Education

Outcomes and policies

META aims to mainstream innovation by promoting “practices that work” both towards Education & Traing policy makers and towards a number of Arts integration for empowering learning communities, through web dissemination among the participating partners and several mainstreaming international events.

At the end of the project lifespan, the META project will be able to provide recommendations in the form of a white paper for policy and practice on how to contribute to closing the understanding, networking and mainstreaming gaps that hinder the meaningful exploitation of Arts integration for the promotion of equity in education.

The partnership has the ability to potentially influence the European policy Agenda by setting up the basis for a Forum/Platform for joint reflection and European cooperation to:

  • Identify and promote innovation and best practices exchange to foster Migrants’ inclusion through the practice of the arts,
  • Be recognized and act as one of the major counterpart able to provide high level expertise at European international fora on migrants’ inclusion through the practice of the arts as a tool to foster social cohesion and cultural inclusion.