Community development in primary and secondary schools using the SMETRY method

Community development in primary and secondary schools using the SMETRY method
The research project "Planned community development in primary and secondary schools using the SMETRY method" is currently being implemented at Eötvös Loránd University. 

Identification of a societal problem

The SMETRY method is an ICT-based tool system based on Mérei's multi-perspective sociometry. It includes ICT-based sociometric data collection, software-based multidimensional analysis of the collected data, and the methodology itself, ranging from participant preparation to result feedback. The SMETRY method can be applied from kindergarten to secondary school to explore the social structure of child communities of different ages and compositions. In the case of individuals with disabilities, their attained level of education does not correlate with labor market participation rates and opportunities. People with disabilities face difficulties in accessing mainstream education, and the issue of segregation needs to be addressed. In Hungary, young individuals with special educational needs lack appropriate career guidance and have limited future prospects, as financial and geographic factors play a significant role. Mildly intellectually disabled students, who typically participate in segregated education, exhibit low self-efficacy in terms of seeking help, self-regulation, leisure activities, social interaction, self-confidence, accessing support, and meeting expectations.

Expected Social/Economic/Environmental Impact of the Research

The aim of the current project is to develop a 30-hour accredited teacher training program primarily targeting professionals working with upper primary and secondary school students. This training program aims to assist educators in the planned, data-driven support of the student communities they nurture and teach, particularly in the field of community development. A crucial component of this process is the application of the SMETRY method, as it allows the involved professionals to gain an objective understanding of the social structure within the communities. Based on this understanding, they can then identify the goals of community development. Furthermore, the SMETRY method enables the professionals to assess the extent to which they have achieved their objectives in community development after providing the support.

Through the training of professionals, this project contributes to more effective, data-driven, participatory, and community-building work in schools. It also promotes an ethical, child-friendly practice regarding sociometric data collection. By implementing this training, the aim is to support educators in creating a safe, accepting, inclusive community and atmosphere for every student, thereby facilitating their emotional development. Thus, the research contributes to fulfilling the role of public education in preparing children for community life and collaboration in the workforce. A favorable social environment provides a solid foundation for higher academic performance as well.


Ágota Szekeres (Eötvös Loránd University, Bárczi Gusztáv Faculty of Special Needs Education)