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60 case studies have been identified. The case studies focus on intercultural issues, integration, non-discrimination values and human rights at school.

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ECastro inclusive – Case Study with third Cycle Classes


Name of the teacher
Isabel Alexandra Coimbra; Maria Clara Pinto de Sá
Subject taught:
Years of experience:
29 years of experience


Name of the School:
Escola Básica de Eugénio de Castro
School Typology:
Lower Secondary School
Web site:


Background and Context:
The Eugénio de Castro Lower Secondary School is a school that hosts students from the 5th to the 9th grades (5th and 6th grades = 2nd cycle; 7th, 8th and 9th grades = 3rd cycle) of basic education, attended by 666 students aged between 10 and 16 years old, distributed by 29 classes: 15 classes of the 2nd cycle and 14 of the 3rd cycle. The school is a complex of 8 blocks, surrounded by green areas and playgrounds. The school has a canteen, a cafeteria, a library with a multimedia section, a stationer’s, a gym, an outdoor sports field, two guidance offices and a psychology and career guidance service. Besides regular classrooms, there are classrooms for the teaching of specific subjects such as Information Technology, Science, Physics and Chemistry labs, Music, Drama, Art and Technological Education. This school still counts on a room for daily life training activities for students with special educational needs. There is also a structured unit for multi-handicapped students, which is at present attended by 7 students.
The school is located within the urban area of the city of Coimbra, a medium-size city with 136 964 inhabitants (2013). It is a city whose history is shaped by its University. In fact, the University of Coimbra is one of the oldest universities in Europe and one of the largest of Portugal. The city is also known for its major role in the areas of education and health-related technologies.
The school was built in 1972 in a residential neighbourhood that dates from the 1960’s and its area of influence encompasses a residential area of high population density, with a relatively young population and a socio-economic and cultural medium/high level; it is a polo centrality neighbourhood of tertiary activities, namely trade and educational services (in addition to several basic education schools, there are 2 secondary schools and a higher education school, too).
Most of the school's students have Portuguese nationality and the percentage of immigrant students is not significant. In fact, the incidence of immigrant students in the school is 4.80%, of which 3.15% are from Brazil and the remaining 1.65% from Guinea-Bissau, Moldova, Angola, Venezuela, Spain, France, Ukraine and Nepal.
The incidence of immigrant students is so low that it was decided to focus this case study in classes of the 3rd cycle where these students represent 6.20% of the total amount: 3.45% come from Brazil and the remaining 2.75% come from Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Venezuela, Spain, France and Nepal.
Factual Description:
Being an inclusive school, creating educational responses to boost the construction of civics and academic references that fade social and cultural differences has long been one of the goals of the group of schools (Agrupamento) in which this school is included. Our values are, among others, ethics and social responsibility, democratic spirit, community involvement, multiculturalism, inclusiveness, solidarity.
The incidence of immigrant students at this school however, has been increasing - therefore the hereby description concerns the period between January 2016 and May 2017.
The interaction between national and foreign students is friendly but sometimes not close.
The interaction between teachers and parents is, in general, regular and productive. Student’s parents, both national and foreign, are usually present and interested and they contact the school either voluntarily or after call when needed.
We never recorded serious problems of discrimination among students, but it is possible to notice occasional situations of discrimination, for example on the basis of sexual orientation, physical appearance, or concerning the domain of use of the Portuguese language. Other discriminatory issues concern gender discrimination and lack of sensibility towards serious world problems.
Last year the refugee crisis in Europe was very carefully discussed. Although many countries try to respond to this crisis, this school has not yet received any student under these circumstances. We continue to carry on some debate about this issue, with the aim of increasing the awareness of the students to this problem. In that way, we involved students of all classes and their teachers in several subjects, namely in the areas of Geography, History and Citizenship Education. In addressing the issue of refugees, the students at first weren’t very aware of the situation and for that reason they didn’t appear to be very concerned about the humanitarian problem involving this reality. After the debate based on updated information and plenty of counter-arguments in classroom context, many students changed their point of view and showed greater openness of mind. In this awareness-raising process, we didn’t have any particular difficulties except for the time spent in class, which forced us to reformulate the planning of other activities initially scheduled.
Activities carried out:
For the reception of foreign students, several activities/strategies take place:
- Assessment of the Portuguese language proficiency of foreign students (except for Brazilian ones, which native language is also Portuguese), as well as implementation of Portuguese Language lessons and individual support with extra lessons related to the different subjects of the curriculum;
- Use of a foreign language in class and/or in contacts with parents, to allow the initial communication;
- Emphasis, in class, on the students’ experiences and comparison of natural, cultural, social, political and gastronomical realities, between their home countries and Portugal;
- Integration of students from other countries, assessing their real needs and establishing a network of help as a result of a raising awareness among schoolmates and the school community in general. There were even situations when at the school level, campaigns to collect textbooks, clothes, footwear, home appliances, etc. were organized.
- Coordination with external entities involved in projects of support of immigrants such as the parish of St. Joseph, within the urban area of the school.
Awareness of the values of ethics and social responsibility, democratic spirit, community involvement, multiculturalism, inclusiveness, solidarity was achieved by developing activities such as follows:
- "And if it was me? Do the backpack and go" - an initiative to raise awareness of children and young people to the difficulties that the refugees face, while fleeing from war, seeking for humanitarian protection. This was held on 6 April 2016. The initiative was promoted by the Refugee Support Platform, in collaboration with the General Directorate for Education, the Office of the High Commissioner for Migration and the National Youth Council;
- Celebration of "Human Rights Day", celebrated by the international community on the 10 December, to commemorate the date of the adoption, in 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly;
- Information concerning the NGO Amnesty International, in the context of curricular activities such as the subtopic ‘Solutions to mitigate the contrasts of development', taught in the 9th grade, in Geography.
As foreign and national students spend more free time together in school having lively conversations, the progression in the domain of the Portuguese language increases among foreign students. This can be evaluated in written evaluation, in presentations of group works in Portuguese language or on reading a text in Portuguese. Their success is shared with great joy by the Portuguese students.
The parents of foreign students recognize the value of the school's involvement in the real integration of their children, not only in the school community but also in the Portuguese society. Recently, a mother said, with tears in her eyes, "I never thought I'd find people so good, here, in Portugal".
Assessment and lesson learnt:
The school managed to decrease the absenteeism of foreign students with greater difficulties of integration due to the lack of communication skills in Portuguese language. Students seem happy and balanced; they attend extra lessons provided by the school and their school results improve.
It seems harder to fight attitudes of gender discrimination, of sexual orientation, of physical appearance because these attitudes come from conservative and less tolerant values conveyed by family education, structurally more striking in some students.
All students’ parents subscribe to the reference values of the school and the strategies and activities carried out to promote them. The parents of foreign students seem to be pleased with the evolution and integration of their children in school and in Portuguese society; schoolmates and teachers are genuinely committed to this project. For Portuguese students it is also an asset the integration of these foreign students in the school community, with regard both to the practice of tolerance, as well as to the practice of inclusion and multiculturalism.
Our opinion on this case study is that integration is becoming a reality, as well as the promotion of the values of ethics and social responsibility, the democratic spirit of community involvement, multiculturalism, inclusiveness, and solidarity.
When a large number of international students say they don’t want to go back to their home country, it means that these students, despite the fact that they miss their homeland, feel safe and happy in our country and that is very significant. When a foreign student is invited for the first time to a birthday party at a Portuguese friend's house that is considered a gratifying result. When a student with a specific sexual orientation tells us that he would like us to speak with their parents, we feel very grateful.
This case study could be an important means of collecting information in the field of human and social sciences, and a relevant assessment tool on the inclusion of all kinds of minorities in our school. The relevant number of pupils and teachers that joined this project proves its importance.
The replicability of the strategies/activities listed will always be relevant, while the school reference values are not universal.

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.