Mixed classes And Pedagogical Solutions (MAPS) was carried out in collaboration between the universities of Helsinki, Amsterdam and Iceland.

The project was funded by NordForsk for a three-year period in 2018-2020.

Understanding inclusion and school segregation

School segregation is a current issue in many cities across Europe. It can be understood as ethnic, gendered, and performance-based differentiation of schools, as well as social segregation borne of residential choices of often more advantaged citizens. To battle the negative effects of school segregation, it is vital to understand the totality of social inclusion in educational environments.

Bridging across research traditions and policy and practice

The MAPS project aims to analyse inclusion in education from a holistic and intersectional perspective. This means we seek to bring together and analyse divisions based on ethnicity, social class, gender and educational needs across urban environments. We investigate the interplay of policies and practices, macro, meso and micro levels of educational inclusion in the everyday life of three (pre-)primary schools in the urban areas of Finland, Iceland and the Netherlands.

MAPS will serve not just as a guide through complex terrains, but also as a device that can help bridge across different streams of policy-relevant research which are often isolated from each other: we will bring together sociological discussions about just education policy on the one hand, and pedagogically and psychologically driven studies on teachers’ classroom practices in urban areas on the other. MAPS promises to have an impact not only on sociology of education and educational policy studies, but also on other fields of comparative education, teacher education, educational governance and urban planning.

Aiming for practical solutions

In practice, the MAPS project will contribute to a sound basis for policy-makers seeking judicially and politically feasible ways to achieve greater balance across ethnically and/or socially divided populations. MAPS will also help reinforce the knowledge base and infrastructure for teacher education development and in-service training in each national and local context.