Research Topic

Overcoming Inequalities in Schools and Learning Communities: Innovative Education for a New Century

About this Research Topic

Educational inequalities have strongly impacted disadvantaged and underserved populations such us indigenous, Roma, migrant children, students with disabilities, and those affected by poverty. A wide array of research has contributed to explaining the mechanisms and effects of inequalities in the achievement patterns, dropout rates, disengagement in the school experiences of children and youth traditionally excluded. Research also suggests the negative consequences for child development – including cognitive, language, and social–emotional functioning – of poverty and lack of quality education in the early years. Consequently, the current unequal access to optimal learning environments for every single child to succeed in education and to have a better life perpetuates the exclusion and neglects the right to education for those minorities. This Research Topic aims at moving beyond causes and shed light upon effective solutions by providing successful pathways for integration and inclusion of the learners most heavily affected.

Scholars worldwide are looking for successful actions with children, youth, and communities of learners historically underserved to overcome educational and social exclusion. These transformative approaches go beyond the deficit thinking and are grounded in theories, empirical evidence, and multidisciplinary interventions oriented towards achieving social impact, which refers to the extent to which those actions have contributed to improve a societal challenge. The international network of “Schools as Learning Communities” is advancing knowledge on deepening and expanding the impact of what has been defined as Successful Educational Actions (SEAs); that is, those interventions that improve students’ achievement and social cohesion and inclusion in many diverse contexts, regardless the socioeconomic, national, and cultural environment of schools.

Drawing on the evidence generated by this network of researchers to address the global challenge of inequality by studying educational actions oriented towards achieving social impact and potentially transferrable to other contexts, this Research Topic aims at deepening on this approach. Papers advancing knowledge in educational psychology to improve most underserved peoples’ lives are welcome under this topic, including roles of families, communities, civil society, teachers and teaching staff, educational psychologists, among others. In short, our purpose is that the contributions included in this Research Topic contribute to reduce educational and social inequalities and especially benefit those populations most in need.

Potential contributors to this Research Topic will principally include the following topics directly connected to the analysis of schools serving as Learning Communities and the implementation of successful educational actions:
• Dialogic learning and interaction to foster cognitive, social, and emotional development.
• Family Education and Adult Education to overcome inequalities.
• Widening participation: increasing the access of Roma and indigenous communities to higher education.
• Successful Teacher Education programmes that improve the lives of students attending low-SES schools.
• Inclusive education strategies which are improving educational opportunities and the results of all students, particularly those students with disabilities.
• Examples of generative changes in multicultural schools (i.e., with migrant, refugees, African-American backgrounds).
• Effective interventions which are reducing bullying and gender violence at schools.
• Innovative pedagogies to deal successfully with cultural diversity.
• Research Methodologies in education enabling social transformation.


Keywords: educational inequalities, learning communities, vulnerable populations, diversity, school-community-based research


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Educational inequalities have strongly impacted disadvantaged and underserved populations such us indigenous, Roma, migrant children, students with disabilities, and those affected by poverty. A wide array of research has contributed to explaining the mechanisms and effects of inequalities in the achievement patterns, dropout rates, disengagement in the school experiences of children and youth traditionally excluded. Research also suggests the negative consequences for child development – including cognitive, language, and social–emotional functioning – of poverty and lack of quality education in the early years. Consequently, the current unequal access to optimal learning environments for every single child to succeed in education and to have a better life perpetuates the exclusion and neglects the right to education for those minorities. This Research Topic aims at moving beyond causes and shed light upon effective solutions by providing successful pathways for integration and inclusion of the learners most heavily affected.

Scholars worldwide are looking for successful actions with children, youth, and communities of learners historically underserved to overcome educational and social exclusion. These transformative approaches go beyond the deficit thinking and are grounded in theories, empirical evidence, and multidisciplinary interventions oriented towards achieving social impact, which refers to the extent to which those actions have contributed to improve a societal challenge. The international network of “Schools as Learning Communities” is advancing knowledge on deepening and expanding the impact of what has been defined as Successful Educational Actions (SEAs); that is, those interventions that improve students’ achievement and social cohesion and inclusion in many diverse contexts, regardless the socioeconomic, national, and cultural environment of schools.

Drawing on the evidence generated by this network of researchers to address the global challenge of inequality by studying educational actions oriented towards achieving social impact and potentially transferrable to other contexts, this Research Topic aims at deepening on this approach. Papers advancing knowledge in educational psychology to improve most underserved peoples’ lives are welcome under this topic, including roles of families, communities, civil society, teachers and teaching staff, educational psychologists, among others. In short, our purpose is that the contributions included in this Research Topic contribute to reduce educational and social inequalities and especially benefit those populations most in need.

Potential contributors to this Research Topic will principally include the following topics directly connected to the analysis of schools serving as Learning Communities and the implementation of successful educational actions:
• Dialogic learning and interaction to foster cognitive, social, and emotional development.
• Family Education and Adult Education to overcome inequalities.
• Widening participation: increasing the access of Roma and indigenous communities to higher education.
• Successful Teacher Education programmes that improve the lives of students attending low-SES schools.
• Inclusive education strategies which are improving educational opportunities and the results of all students, particularly those students with disabilities.
• Examples of generative changes in multicultural schools (i.e., with migrant, refugees, African-American backgrounds).
• Effective interventions which are reducing bullying and gender violence at schools.
• Innovative pedagogies to deal successfully with cultural diversity.
• Research Methodologies in education enabling social transformation.


Keywords: educational inequalities, learning communities, vulnerable populations, diversity, school-community-based research


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

21 December 2017 Abstract
30 April 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

21 December 2017 Abstract
30 April 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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