Despite the fact that education represents the most important factor in the prevention and mediation of the psycho-social consequences of illnesses in children and young adults, students with medical issues are still less engaged in learning and face social difficulties resulting in a lower academic achievement. The best way to achieve a good education is to boost attendance in mainstream schools, which provide not only cognitive but also social and developmental advantages to all students.
Students with medical needs either in hospital or at home, face isolation, disengagement and regression. They cannot access mainstream education due to their illness and associated therapies. Within this context, ICT can play a key role in providing better communication and enabling access to education during the period of absence from mainstream school.
The LeHo project nears the end of its 3-year funding and as a result, we have a wealth of information and practical solutions available for teachers who find themselves in the situation where a child they are teaching is off school due to illness.
Some of the outputs of the project are summarized below, but there are many others available on the LeHo website, as well as national communities for you to access in several different languages.
This is an online resource containing all the output the LeHo project. It can be searched and added to.
It contains information for teachers, parents, medics and all those who find themselves having to teach an ill child. The information in the toolkit is in the form of documents, PowerPoint slides, PDF documents, and audio-visual files.
This book (in PDF format) is intended for use by all teachers who find themselves dealing with children and older students with medical needs.
It contains background information on EU law regarding the provision of education for children with medical needs, and also lists what is and is not covered by these regulations.
It also includes:
- discussion exercises for teachers about the legal and organisational aspects of teaching ill children,
- the importance of the KEFs,
- lists potential ICT solutions.
This document is not a finished European model of Home and Hospital Education (HHE) for children and youngsters with medical needs, as the HHE situation, as well as that of education in general, is too complex and diverse across all the European countries.
However, what the LeHo project achieved was to identify important building blocks and a number of relationships between them to create a model, on the basis of which important recommendations can be formulated for policy makers and professionals at various levels.
The aim of this European model is:
• to give the policy makers of every level, from school and hospital directors to regional and national policy makers, a wide overview on the complex and evolving world of HHE
• to define a model aimed to disseminate the best practices in HHE
• to help them to integrate in their policies and decisions the use of ICT to support the HHE
The EU model summarizes several materials, like the toolkit, the practical guide, webinars, KEF, focus groups, field work analysis.
These are series of national and international live webinars across Europe that cover some of the findings from the LeHo project. Some examples of the subjects covered include:
• Relationships built using ICT
• Help with teaching in HHE environments
• Useful apps in HHE
• Which ICTs worked best in European hospital schools.
The full recordings are also available here.
The terms that are used for home and hospital education vary in different contexts and in different countries, and even in English there can be different names that refer to similar practices (e.g., home tuition, domiciliary learning). The glossary was created to help teachers and researchers establish common links.
Five key educational factors (KEFs) were defined by the project team. These educational factors were based on analysis of existing research in psychology, education and the education of children with a medical condition.
1. Relationships: the importance of interactions with others to help with learning
2. Making sense and constructing knowledge: active and meaningful processes to interpret information while gaining knowledge
3. Assuming roles: taking on new roles (e.g., such as tutor, participant, assessor, organizer, controller, etc.) when learning new skills
4. Metacognition: thinking, reasoning, planning, organizing, and controlling the learning process
5. Individualities: strategies, approaches, and capabilities used during learning that differ from person to person.
The KEFs were presented and discussed at the Hospital Organisation of Pedagogues in Europe conference in Bucharest in 2014.
Two rounds of focus groups were held with teachers and medical staff. The focus groups took place in each participating country to identify the main activities carried out by teachers and the medical staff involved in HHE (but also involving parents). This helped LeHo to identify the potential of ICTs that could solve problems encountered by children who were too ill to attend their mainstream schools on a full-time basis.
The aims of the focus groups were:
• Identification of student needs, both physically and educationally
• To highlight organizational issues
• Discussion of how to modify the curriculum to fit specific educational situations with students with medical needs
• Define the role of teachers in an HHE context.
This is a questionnaire aimed at younger children in hospital or at home, to understand what matters to them with regards to their education, what they like and how they feel about learning while they are unwell.
The scale was devised with the help of hospital school teachers across Europe. It is intended as a tool for teachers to identify key areas that are of concern and also be used as a basis for education planning. It covers all of the elements included in the KEFs.
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