Research funding for a comparative project on social mixing and inclusive education in urban schools

By on 01.11.2017 in Funding

MAPS – Mixed Classes and Pedagogical Solutions – is a three-year (2018 – 2020) comparative research project across cities of Helsinki, Amsterdam and Reykjavik and will be conducted as a shared research consortium, coordinated from the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki, together with University of Amsterdam and University of Iceland. It has got a funding of 750 000€ from Nordforsk call Inclusive Education Across Borders: Research projects oriented towards practice and policy (

Personally I am delighted by the fact that a project that is implementing an intersectional approach and taking a fairly critical stance on studying educational policies and practices in inclusive classrooms in urban areas, is being funded, says assistant professor Sonja Kosunen, leader of the consortium.

The international research team is multidisciplinary and draws together people from the fields of sociology of education, special education and urban studies.

Sonja Kosunen, leader of the MAPS – Mixed Classes and Pedagogical Solutions consortium

Sonja Kosunen, leader of the MAPS – Mixed Classes and Pedagogical Solutions consortium

“Even if we will probably face some usual challenges during the different phases of the project, I see that primarily as a strength and a possibility for theoretical and methodological development within the field we are operating in,” Kosunen continues.

“The multi-methodological approach in the crossroads of different traditional disciplines is also a possible spot for personal enhancement for us all as researchers, which makes these sorts of projects highly inspiring, hopefully for all of us involved,” she states.

“I think we have a great team of researchers from different stages of academic life involved in MAPS. I’m looking very much forward to working together with this combination of people, as we had both intellectually highly stimulating discussions as well as a good time already in the application phase,” Kosunen concludes.

In the consortium the Finnish team are Sonja Kosunen (leader of the consortium, JustEd), Venla Bernelius (team leader Finland), Piia Seppänen (JustEd), Heidi Vartiainen (JustEd), and Sirpa Lappalainen (JustEd). In the Icelandic team, there are Berglind Rós Magnusdottir (team leader Iceland, JustEd), Anna Kristín Sigurdardóttir and Gígja Bjargardóttir. In the Dutch team, there are Bowen Paulle (team leader the Netherlands), Willem Boterman and Lisa Kaldenbach. Doctoral students are to be recruited.

About MAPS

Urban and school segregation in cities result in diversification of the actual educational environments, where children study and spend their time in urban schools. Especially in (lower-) secondary education the levels of school segregation have increased in the capital areas of Finland, Iceland and the Netherlands. How about in (pre-) primary schools?

Mixed classes And Pedagogical Solutions (MAPS) is a comparative study that aims to provide in-depth understanding on how the policies and practices of inclusion are formulated, interpreted and articulated in the everyday-life in schools with socially and educationally mixed pupil compositions. We approach educational inclusion from a holistic and an intersectional perspective highlighting ethnicity, social class, gender, and educational needs when comparing the three cities: Helsinki, Reykjavik and Amsterdam. The proposed study contributes to the research literature dealing with social justice in education, policies and practices of ethnic and social mixing, mixed ability-grouping and learning, and teachers pedagogical solutions in socially diverse educational environments.

Given that pupils educational experiences contribute mightily to societal cohesion and stability via socialising, discussion of such arrangements culminate in questions about teaching children with different social backgrounds and educational needs together or separately; whether to introduce socially segregating policies and practices, or to promote inclusive education.

Text Mari Peltonen
Photo Linda Tammisto

Tags: , , ,

About the Author

About the Author: Coordinator of JustEd. .


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Comments are closed.