An ethnography of forms of learning, participation and agency in the school and in the mosque

Charo Reyes Izquierdo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


© 2017, Universidad Complutense de Madrid. All rights reserved. In spite of the increase in the numbers of foreign students in compulsory education in the last two decades, the same levels of recruitment have not been reached in post-compulsory studies. The analyses of the devices that have been designed to incorporate some of the foreign students in school have concluded that, on the whole, the resources and devices used to achieve successful school trajectories, have contributed in the generation of segregation processes that determine the educational possibilities of the students. However, the school is not the only learning environment to which these students have access. They also have access to the mosque, which provides key experiences for these girls and boys, but which have not been studied either enough nor comparatively in research. This work adds a community perspective of the learning possibilities of immigrant students, which has not been investigated in depth in the national context, following the perspective of authors such as Moll and González (2005), Gregory (2008, 2012), and Kenner (212). Specifically, an ethnography research is presented which has been carried out in two different learning environments: the welcome class in the Catalan school and the mosque. This comparative approach has revealed some of the strategies that the students with Moroccan, Senegalese and Gambian background —some of the least represented groups in post-compulsory education— develop in their learning process, transferring knowledge from the community environment to the school environment and vice versa, and its impact on their identity strategies. Through the contrast between the different ways of learning, participating or agencing of the students in one or the other space, it is hoped to move forward in the reflection about the limitations of the school structure as how it is currently viewed, and about the possibilities of improvement through the incorporation of community knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-735
JournalRevista Complutense de Educacion
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Immigration
  • Intercultural education
  • Learning strategies
  • Multilingualism
  • Participation
  • School-community relationship


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