The background and history of the network


17 years ago, in 2000, the principal of the school, started to look for alternative teaching methods in order to boost its pupils learning performance - at the time significantly lagging behind the national average. We were quite desperate because of the children’s behaviour, they were under-motivated and generally the situation was quite hopeless. When searching for alternative methods they came across the Complex Instruction (CI) and decided to add it to the school’s pedagogical repertoire. In the eyes of the Hejőkeresztúr teachers, the major share of the school's success can be ascribed to this specific instructional system. CI was developed by Cohen and Lotan at Stanford university and we translated the method into Hungarian circumstances. It took 3 years to create the Hungarian CI, as an innovation, is called Komplex Instrukciós Program (henceforward KIP). The basic idea of CI and KIP is the same but there are many differences, especially in case of technology. In 2009 the dissemination of KIP began. At the moment (2017 February) 76 schools, 20 000 pupils and 1500 teachers belong to the network. Between 2010 and 2012 we called KIP H2O project, but after that we return back to the name of KIP.


Key pedagogical practice


The KIP is a teaching program developed in the 1970's at the Stanford University by Elizabeth G. Cohen and Rachel Lotan. Since the time of its formulation, it has been practiced as a specific pedagogical approach in thousands of classrooms in the United States and worldwide (Cohen and Lotan 2014). It aims to create more equitable classroom atmosphere in which status differences among pupils do not play a significant role and don't hinder their learning efforts. It also radically changes the teaching perspective - it allows for appreciation and evaluation of a variety of intelligence forms and capacities and it makes children active actors of their own learning. This pedagogical practice is thus successful in introducing high quality education to diverse classrooms, in which social backgrounds and intellectual capacities of pupils differ substantially.


The program mainly builds on three methodological pillars:  multiple ability assignments, group-work and status treatment.


  1. a) multiple ability assignments

The children are assigned tasks that are open-ended and require different approaches and skills in order to be completed successfully. These kinds of tasks offer a chance for success and recognition also to those pupils, who are for instance more creative than exact or handier than verbal - latter qualities usually appreciated in the general school system. To provide an illustration, if a child has a difficulty to remember grammar exceptions, but at the same time has a strong visual memory and likes drawing, upon completion of a task that requires creating a crossword from the problematic words, they can be appraised for completing a task successfully and they get a chance to remember the grammar in a less-conventional way. 


  1. b) group-work

Most of the assignments are dealt with in the groups of four or five pupils. The group-work changes the atmosphere in the classroom from one of a competition to one of collaboration and it also alters power relations. It is no more just the teacher who is a source of knowledge, but the pupils become sources of knowledge for each other. As a consequence, the pupils begin to consult their classmates, they start to ask for help, but also to offer it, the communication increases (K. Nagy 2015). In this respect, KIP builds on the premise that the more children talk about the task and the more they collaborate, the more they learn. However, in order for the interaction to be productive, the group-work has to follow certain rules. The key to success of this program lies in the division of roles in the group - only when children know exactly what their responsibility is can they cooperate effectively. In this respect KIP differs from other kinds of group-work which, as other research show, do not always guarantee success (Cohen and Lotan 2014).


  1. c) status treatment

The open-ended tasks and group-work are means leading to the third pillar which is status treatment, or suppressing status differences in the classroom. KIP builds on the presupposition that in any kind of a classroom setting, there are always children with higher and lower status. In this case “status" does not refer solely to the socio-economical status of children and their families, but is rather understood as a sum of socio-economical circumstances (such as e.g. class, ethnicity, family background…), peer status (mainly given by popularity) and intellectual capacities of a particular child. Even though the status of a child could vary in time and across subjects, research data show that children are always aware of their internal ranking and it is usually high-status pupils who get the most attention from their classmates as well as from the teachers. It was further proved that status differences impede effective learning as the low-status students are cut out from the learning process (Cohen and Lotan 2014). Thus, the principal goal of KIP is to lessen status differences and allow all children to experience success in the classroom.  This is done primarily through the inclusion of children with lower status into group-work, appreciating their specific contributions, enhancing their self-confidence and through all of this strengthening their position in the classroom.     


Practical implications of the program


Moving forth from the KIP’s methodology, there are three rather practical implications of the program. These are defined with respect to pupils’ intellectual abilities, their social competencies and classroom management (Cohen and Lotan 2014, K Nagy 2012, 2015).

         First of all, during KIP lessons, the children are obliged to cooperate and they spend more time in interaction with their peers than they would in a regular class setting. If we accept a premise that meaningful interaction over tasks helps to acquire a deeper understanding of the things learned and it enhances intellectual capacity, following research results might be interesting. As part of the research conducted in the Hejőkeresztúr school the level of a meaningful interaction during “normal” frontal classes and KIP classes was compared. If during a frontal lesson low status pupils interacted 0,33 times and high status 0,9 times, after introducing KIP the interaction of the low status children would increase nine-fold and of high status ones six-fold. The level of interaction thus not only significantly rose in both cases, but it also became more even between the low and high status students (K. Nagy 2005, 2015). This research thus contradicts the popular argument that education in heterogeneous classrooms harms the intellectual gains of the faster learners/ "clever children". Similar results were proposed also by other studies in different contexts (see e.g. Boaler 2006)

         Secondly, group-work on open ended tasks requires cooperation and communication. This interaction does not only help pupils intellectually; it also enhances their social skills. When organized effectively, group-work helps to build friendships across status groups and ethnicity and reinforces empathy (Cohen and Lotan 2014). Through the development of communicative capacity and bridging status groups, KIP enhances social and cultural capital of pupils, lack of thereof often being identified to be at the roots of school malperformance (Bourdieu 1986).

         Third, forming groups and assigning clear responsibilities to pupils help the teachers to manage heterogeneous classrooms more efficiently. It is no longer just the teacher who can provide answers to the questions, these are to be found among the peers engaged in the discussion in the first place. Introduction of the Complex Instruction Program into the teaching methods can thus help the teacher to address different learning needs and at least partially compensate for the lack of auxiliary team members, such as for instance teaching assistants. Given that missing capacities are often identified by teachers as a principal barrier to inclusive education (Gallová Kriglerová et al. 2015), this last contribution of KIP is not to be underestimated.




  1. Make learning central, and encourage engagement and awareness in students of their own learning strategies.
  2. Ensure that learning is social and often collaborative.
  3. Be highly attuned to motivations and the emotions involved in learning.
  4. Be acutely sensitive to individual differences, including in prior knowledge.


The nature of learner voice and learner agency in our main pedagogical approach, including the relationship of students with teachers and peers and their room to take decisions in the teaching and learning process


The main question for us is how we can create an equitable classroom how children work and learn together.

First we have to make clear what an equitable classroom looks like, how would we know one when we see one. One of the features of an equitable classroom is that all students have access to quality curriculum, intellectually challenging tasks, equal status interaction with their peers and with the teachers. A classroom, where the students can see each other as competent; contributing; learning; colleagues and peers, while engaging in serious content, is the ideal. They solve problems that are similar to real-life problems, they address dilemmas and they have interesting topics to talk about. The aim is that they do that democratically and equitably.

What teachers sometimes mistake equity for is ‘friendliness’. We have to look for the answer in the group-work. We do see classrooms that use group-work that are indeed friendlier, because pupils know each other names, and they talk to one another a little bit more, but that still does not mean equal status interaction. They can be friendly but they don’t necessarily see particular students as competent. Therefore they are not seen as contributing to them or contributing to the group task.

We have to look for the suitable methods which are good to treat heterogeneous classroom. One of them is KIP, which is a status treating special cooperative work. The theoretical basis for the KIP particularly comes from a theory called expectation states theory. Status characteristics are features where society agrees that it is better to be in the high state than in the low state.

In classrooms, particularly elementary ones, reading ability is such a status characteristic. If we ask children to rank each other and themselves on their reading ability in classrooms, the children are able to rank themselves, where their ranking corresponded to the teacher’s ranking.

Status generalization means that we come to a situation and all we know about it is that somebody is a good reader. But the task that we have to do has nothing to do with reading – we should make a present for our friends, a model airplane with legos for example – we would still generalize from the fact that somebody is a good reader to his or her competence to building for example.

Teachers should explain to the pupils that the task requires multiple intellectual abilities, hence in order to be able to complete a particular task, they need to make sure that they understand the text; they talk about the ideas; they summarize them in ways that make sense; they can explain it; they can synthesize; they can make a visual representation of the poem that they read; or they can paint a beautiful painting out of it. This particular task requires so many different things to do, that a single person will have a hard time doing it by themselves during the lesson; so the individual will need everybody and everybody’s expertise. There is no one person that is always successful at everything, which is a huge problem for the children who are always successful at everything in schools. The reason why they are always successful is that the tasks are so narrow. On these multi-dimensional, broad, rich tasks the pupils need many different ways of being smart.

Howard Gardner talks about multiple intelligences. The most important thing that he did was that he made intelligence plural. He made ‘intelligences’, not only one intelligence. It is important to make the pupils aware that there are different pupils of capabilities, strengths and talents that they can contribute with. That comes from school, but also from our outside experiences.

Children come to school with such rich repertoires that the teachers never take advantage of, they never mind, they never give them opportunities to show how smart they are. When the students are actually working on these tasks and they require the multiply abilities, than the teacher can go around to observe and give specific feedback to all students particularly to the students who have never before been seen by their peers as contributors or as smart. So, the teachers can change expectations by praising a student more and more. The result of this is that when a student enters a new situation, he won’t automatically say that ‘this person is going to be the one who will solve the problem and I can just sit back’. They’ll all have to perform and do something to produce the task.

 The message that we are trying to give is counter normative for schools where everything is so narrow, it is counter normative for teachers and it is counter cultural in many ways. The teachers always aim to find the best person in everything. In case of the KIP, it is more about looking at the richness. The advantage is that in the end, the pupils have the reading- the writing-, and the test taking skills as well. If the teachers have a rich task and they teach the pupils higher order thinking and deep conversation skills, they will do well on the test, too.

            In the equitable classroom the children have access to a quality curriculum. All the children understand that they will have an opportunity to demonstrate their smarts in different ways by different means and at different occasions. They understand that being smart can be learnt that is incremental and multi-dimensional. In an equitable classroom – and the teachers know that that’s where they get the most resistance, and also probably a lack of understanding – the achievement is clustered around a narrow, acceptable mean, meaning that there are only a very few children who are just bellow and some children who are above. It’s not a normal curve. The achievement in an equitable classroom is not the normal curve, because in the normal curve only 60 percent of the classroom is around the acceptable mean. We talk about achievement where we demonstrate what students know, what all students know in this graph. The KIP provides this result.



Particular groups of learners


KIP is the tool of social inclusion. It helps to build more inclusive milieu on the classrooms level and serves the teachers who have decided to follow this aim. The KIP co-creates an atmosphere in which pupils can become active actors of their own learning.

KIP is a program which can be used successfully inacademically and socialy heterogeneous classroom. It is an instructional approach that allows teachers to use cooperative group-work to teach at a high level in academically diverse classroom. The goal of this instruction is to provide academic access and success for all students in heterogeneous classrooms.


Particular subjects


Note! During the school term only 1/6 of lessons is organized according to KIP and in case of every subject.

The features of the program is that multiple ability curricula are designed to foster the development of higher-order thinking skills through group-work activities organized around a central concept. The tasks are open-ended, requiring students to work interdependently to solve problems. Most importantly, the tasks require a wide array of intellectual abilities so that students from diverse backgrounds and different levels of academic proficiency can make meaningful contributions to the group task.


21st century competences


Our aim is to establish a problem based learning which involves the principles of construction, interaction, cognitive and meta-cognitive organizations. The aim of KIP is to encourage the constructive and correct criticism and to create self-criticism.

            As in the last decades labour was given much attendance, in modern societies every citizen needs developed basic skills and wide education to fulfil his commitment in both the labour market and in the private life. The main aim of our programmes is to develop these basic skills and competences. The healthy success orientations and sense of purposes which don’t degenerate into careerism, allow children tolerate failures, what is more harden on negative experiences, and courage them to achieve new results.

            We don’t prepare them for new workplace but we educate individuals for innovation who are able to develop and adapt for the fast changing world.

            We apply teaching methods and make the knowledge magnetic and attractive. We want to assure for disadvantaged children to get proper education, knowledge and skills and be motivated in learning.

             We put the emphasis on learning organization instead of learning centralization, to create an efficient institute where the situations conform to the necessities. Efficiency means the creation of cooperative abilities and skills which involves the development of adaptability, the division of work, the paying attention to each others, the creation of responsibility, to form debate skill, the treatment of conflict-solving, to know himself and peers.




The KIP is a technology on the surface but as I have mentioned, it is a status treating program under the surface.

As it follows from the program methodology, there are three key aspects of the KIP - open ended differentiated tasks, group-work with strictly divided roles and status mitigation. These all have to be present during a KIP class. Throughout the years, the teachers have already come up with a stable structure for the classes. The teacher first starts with an introduction of the activities prepared for the class. This is in itself important as the children can follow the whole process and they know what to expect. After an introduction follows a short group warm-up activity that brings the pupils mentally back to the classroom after the break. The most important part of the KIP class is the group-work, for which the majority of time is allocated. During this time, the groups work individually on their tasks and are allowed to move throughout the classroom when needed. They follow their group-roles, each of them having a specific responsibility. The greater noise is also tolerated, as the dialogue between the pupils is expected. As soon as the time for group-work is over, the reporters from each group are asked to present the group-work in front of the class. This is an important moment as presentation skills talking in front of the group requires some courage. At the end of the class, if there is still some time, the children are also assigned individual tasks. If needed, they can, however, still consult their peers. Further details on the exact structure of the class and model exercises will be presented in the following chapter.

Our motto is „Everyone is good at something”. Following this idea, the teachers try to recognize special skills in all of their pupils and support them. The recognition of special skills creates a basis for status enhancement in the peer group.

            The KIP is helped by ICT technology. In the equitable classroom the children have access to a quality curriculum through digital devices as well. They understand that being familiar with ICT and being smart can be learnt and that is incremental and multi-dimensional. Usage of ICT makes children experts and they can show their talents, abilities and skills. Kids use ICT in many ways which helps their innovative thinking.

In 2015 to use ICT, each KIP school has been granted tablets by the Vodafone Hungary Foundation to promote successful learning. 1400 tablets are available for the 42 KIP schools.

KIP online programs:

  • For KIP schools own ICT programs are available: digitalized competency tests (created a system that automatically gives the right level task to everyone, based on the data that has been collected so far. This way it does not matter in which grade a certain kid is, personal learning routes are available for practicing.)
  • Hejőkeresztúr school helped to develop the Geomatech program (www.tananyag.geomatech.hu) taking part in the modernization of teaching and learning. Experience based and playful online learning tasks have been developed since 2014 using the Geogebra software. The free online task database has been created for all the 12 grades of public education in Math. 10% of the tasks are KIP lesson plans developed by Hejőkeresztúr.
  • Working together with University of Miskolc, Hejőkeresztúr school helped to develop an English and a German language learning online program. The program will be available through Eszterházy Károly College from the school year 2016. 15% of the tasks are KIP lesson plans developed by Hejőkeresztúr.
  • Screenager program is an online learning program which has one of the best constructions and provision in our days. It was  offered by an association to the school. The staff of the school formed (filled with content) it according to its necessity. (screenager.hu)
  • For teacher education: The University of Technical Sciences, Budapest – which has a Centre for Educating Technical Teachers - organized a blended training for teachers in cooperation with the Hejőkeresztúr School. Teachers learn how to treat academically and socially diverse classrooms at secondary schools.




 The assessment of students in a KIP class is only verbal and always positive. The important aspect of a KIP class is to encourage students and praise different skills each of the student has, as an important and necessary part of the group. This directly undervalues the idea that only students that do well in Languages and Math are worthy of appreciation and gives space to applaud students for different and multiple skills they have (e.g. constructing, drawing, managing teams, being empathic and kind, presenting). Special appreciation is given to students that helped others during the group-work at the end of the class. Therefore 5 minutes’ reflection time at the end of the class is important in order to evaluate these special skills in order to, inter alia, elevate the status role of student that might be under-appreciated by their classmates, but has individual skills that should be praised for.

Note! Only 1/6 of the lessons are organized according to KIP.


Professional learning


At the beginning, when the school started to use KIP, the attitude of teachers towards the new program was very diverse: some 1/3 was enthusiastic, 1/3 was waiting how it will go and 1/3 of the teachers thought there was no need for the program. After a while, however, the teachers started to talk to each other and shared their views on what the program had brought in the area of behaviour and learning and they had realized the progress. It took about 3 years to get all the teachers on board. 17 years after, all teachers use the KIP and advocate for it. Some of the teachers themselves have become experts on the program and provide advice and mentoring to new teachers interested in KIP or to other schools in Hungary.

         KIP is not only a methodological program of teaching – it presupposes a change of paradigm of how we look on pupils, especially the most disadvantaged ones, such as the Roma pupils from poor socio-economical background very often are. KIP philosophy regards every child as capable of learning and aiming high and being intrinsically skilled – it is only the role of the teacher to guide those special skills into life. This ideological turn into how we look on pupils might thus be the most challenging one for a lot of schools.


Organisational demands of widespread adoption


The KIP clearly shows that one of the strongest assets of the program is its transferability to different cultural and institutional contexts. This capacity to adapt the exact “know-how” of the program, while still staying firm in the program’s philosophy and main methodological principles, makes it a powerful method applicable in a wide range of schools across different educational contexts.

KIP can be applied at any school without major changes in its organizational structure, funding or even teaching curricula.


The main two preconditions for the successful adaptation of the program are participation at the KIP teachers’ training and willingness to change teaching philosophy from the one focused on achievement to the one acknowledging multiple abilities. In the upcoming lines, we elaborate on both of these points more in detail. When talking about applying KIP as a good practice in another school, we further identify one more important factor and that is the wider institutional cooperation.

We had been using KIP for 9 years when we began its dissemination.


Teacher trainings


The programme is excellent. The first part of the programme is a 30 or 60 hour training – mostly for larger groups of a single school -, where teachers get familiar with the KIP methodology. The training material has been developed by the school head in cooperation with the Miskolc University and Eszterházy Károly Egyetem, Eger, where she has also been teaching KIP methodology for the future teachers. The programme enables the participants to apply the KIP methodology in heterogeneous student groups in order to help the talented, the underachieving talented and the children who are lagging behind equally; also to handle social status problems and to create a dynamic learning community where everybody is appreciated and all members improve. We have been shaping the program according to the experience, and nowadays involve learners in the process which makes the training even more convincing and valid.

On the basis of this training, participants who have been convinced and motivated start applying the KIP in their daily routines. Mentoring is provided by KIP trainers for a whole academic year. Freshly trained teachers can decide when and with what topic they want to use the method. When a lesson plan is prepared, they discuss it with their mentors online in an interactive process.

Mentoring also means bilateral visits: new KIP teachers can go and see lessons at Hejőkeresztúr or other KIP schools, and the mentors go and observe lessons at the joining schools once a month. When the academic year is over, and the new school decides to apply the methodology, there is another four-year cycle during which help is provided by the trainers. It is a slow process, but changing the pedagogical culture takes time.

For the time being, members off staff of 71 schools have been trained, 26 have been using the method as it is used in Hejőkeresztúr, and all 71 are in the informal KIP network. These are mostly primary schools (grades 1-8), but there are 16 secondary schools that have joined. By now, there are trainers at other KIP schools as well, so Hejőkeresztúr is not solely responsible for the dissemination. In an academic year, the network is able to take up and train 20 new schools.

The network has not been registered yet, but it has a webpage (http://www.komplexinstrukcio.hu/), and some common activities are organised each year (e.g. a board-game competition for the children and a professional conference for the teachers). Mentoring also means live connections.

We want to become an officially registered KIP-centre. There is already such a regional centre at Miskolc University, where the school head has been teaching the method to future teachers and at teachers courses.

In 2016, KIP network introduced their work at the Hungarian Science Academy.

As a result of network building and active participation in different national projects, the KIP programme has become well known. Because of our success with socially disadvantaged children, some key players in the government and in business sector have taken notice of the school and showed interest in disseminating the KIP methodology.

  • The University of Technical Sciences, Budapest – which has a Centre for Educating Technical Teachers – has organised trainings for teachers in cooperation with the Hejőkeresztúr School.
  • An EU founded project on maths and sciences (Geomatech, www.geomatech.hu) invited the school to take part in the modernization of teaching and learning these subjects. Experience based and playful online learning tasks have been developed since 2014, using the Geogebra software. An online task database has been created for all the 12 grades of public education.
  • Vodafone Hungary Foundation has donated tablets to Each KIP school to promote successful learning.
  • I, beside Hejőkeresztúrprimary school is/was a part time lecturer at more universities (Miskolc University, ELTE University in Budapest, Eszterházy University in Eger). I use the KIP-method at the initial phase of teacher education, my students meet this method in both practice and theory. As a part of their initial teacher education, the students can visit the Hejőkeresztúr School and this way they take part in experiential learning.
  • A Regional Methodological Centre of the Hejőkeresztúr model was established at Miskolc University at the end of 2015, within the framework of the Social Renewal Operational Programme. The centre caters for those groups of teachers who work with multiple disadvantaged children and who are ready to use the KIP method. This Centre gives place to the trainings and further network building.

The KIP program is the basis of a massive school development program, called Complex Basic Program which aims at decreasing early school leaving by training the teachers of endangered schools.

What seems to be crucial in successful dissemination of the program is that the training includes a follow-up mentorship. This is done by pairing one of the Hejőkeresztúr teachers with one of the new KIP schools. This practice helps teachers to adapt to the new method, to consult activities designed for the KIP lessons and to seek support in case of complications.

I also emphasize necessity of the school's own motivation in entering the program. We trained also schools that were forced to take part in the training through the project of the Miskolc authority but did not have a good experience with that. When the teachers are not really willing to change the way they teach, then training them in KIP is not really useful. But what could motivate the other schools to get involved in the program? The most powerful motivation usually lies within local problems. The pupils might not want to learn, they might not be motivated, their behaviour might be problematic… these kind of reasons usually lead to school's enrolment in the training cycle. As the Hejőkeresztúr case shows, the KIP can help the schools to address them more efficiently.

         For the successful implementation of KIP is teachers’ willingness to change their educational perspective. Working with KIP requires a change in pedagogues’ understanding of their role as teachers, as well as a different approach to the assessment of their pupils’ capacities and abilities. Qualities recognized in the general school system are typically performance oriented; a successful pupil is the one who can meet the criteria set by the school curriculum and perform well in tests. As opposed to this, KIP calls for acknowledgment of multiple talents and abilities. Such a perspective, first of all, requires teachers to create a working milieu, in which multiple talents can be manifested. It requires teachers to recognize those talents and to provide positive feedback. Teachers are required to step back and provide more space for creative solutions. As it follows, in order to start working with KIP many mental shifts have to be done on the side of the teachers. 


At the moment we have 14 trainers and 45 mentors/tutors, all of them are the members of KIP schools.At the moment (2017 February) 71 schools, 15 000 pupils and 1400 teachers belong to the network.


Specific aspects that must be practised for the approach to be effective


Important fact highlighted is that the whole school team has to take part in the training, not just one or two teachers. Adopting KIP requires a certain change of teaching perspective, attitude, culture and that can be done only when the experience from the training is shared. Independent visionaries are usually not successful in spreading the message and schools’ attempts to implement KIP in those cases typically end up with a partial or no victory.

The teachers have to learn their new role during the lessons: the positive reinforcement and praise are vital. The important aspect of a KIP class is to encourage students and praise different skills each of the students has, as an important and necessary part of the group.


The operation of the network


In spreading KIP as a good practice the wider institutional cooperation plays a major role. It is not anymore just the school alone that follows the program and is open to sharing it. The involvement of the scholars and civic actors makes the program accessible for the future teachers through the university courses, for the current teachers through the training, but also for the other stakeholders as a part of the dissemination and advocacy activities. In this sense, the cooperation between the three institutions, the school, the university and the non-governmental organization is rather vital and it creates an effective platform that is successful in spreading KIP to different schools.

Our website is www.komplexinstrukcio.hu.

There are four books and video-films to learn more about KIP.

We have annual meeting. This year it took place in March.




In case of Hejőkeresztúr the KIP has proved. Due to this approach, each child of the Hejőkeresztúr primary school completes their primary education and is able to take part in secondary education (starting at grade 9 in Hungary). Almost 70% of the graduates go to a kind of secondary school that provides high-school graduation, the others enrol to lower level vocational education.

The school results in the national competence tests are at an average level, despite the fact that there is a very high rate of socio-economically disadvantaged children and children who have learning and behavioural difficulties. They achieve 10-15% higher scores than other schools of the same socio-cultural background. There is no aggressive behaviour, and nobody is absent without leave. The school climate is peaceful, there is no drop-out or failure, and nobody is expected to take the same grade twice as it was frequent before, as the school head recalls.

Data is available for the last 10 years, when the programme has been in full operation. There is no recent data on raising the level of achievement, since it is a program that has been running for more than 17 years, and in the recent years we have “just” been sustaining the results that had been achieved.

The school has become a learning community over the years, and we also learnt how to teach other teachers, how to disseminate their philosophy and methodology. We created two kinds of professional networks:

  • one for making their dissemination process more effective (partnerships with universities, teaching the method in initial trainings, having common trainings);
  • one for the 71 schools which they have already trained and who started working according to the methodology.

The biggest achievement is that the children are “teachable” and cooperative. It is also worth mentioning that there is a young teacher in the staff who had been taught the program by the school headmistress at the university, spent her compulsory field practice at the school and now is doing her PhD studies on KIP.

As the principal started as an average PE and engineer teacher, and over the years, I have become a teacher researcher, have done my PhD and secondary doctorate, have written books on the methodology.

In case of the schools of the network the application and monitoring have become conscious as well. We have several close monitoring methods to follow each individual student to see how the absence and failure rates are changing, who goes to what kind of secondary education etc. Our in-school monitoring process also focuses on different aspects of the KIP lessons, compared to the traditional ones, such as:

  • teacher and student activities and the way they influence one another;
  • speech and activity frequency of children with low and high social statuses;
  • the effect of the social status on pupil performance;
  • dissolving original social status/rising the status within the group by ever-changing KIP roles in group activities;
  • sociometry to see the change of central and marginal indicators, etc.


In Hejőkeresztúr the programs which reinforce the result of KIP are the following:

  1. When we encounter a new phenomenon, we try and find some solutions and now we are working on them. One of them is the case with the low level of achievement on reading tests. We introduced a kind of reading programs for the elementary grades (one – four). It means that the pupils regularly read aloud to each other in pairs, first changing after each sentence, later after each paragraph, and in the end they tell each other what they have read (but it is a bit more complex.
  2. We were also discontented (in 2005) with the low parental engagement and introduced the “Dialogue between generations” program. Children draw their family trees and label each member with a special skill they have. They, as a class choose five family members, and invite them for a learning occasion. There are five groups and an adult speaks about the skill they have to each group. The kids pre-prepare questions to ask in order to have a more vivid conversation. They tell the other groups what they have learnt from the guest, then go on the internet to find some presents for the adults, which can be a trick or a recipe in connection with the skill they have spoken about.
  3. There has been a state initiative to introduce playful learning in which school staffs could learn how board games can raise motivation, help the talented, as well as to develop logic and social competences (in 2004). Hejőkeresztúr School found that it suited our philosophy, and have been using board games during classes and as extracurricular activities for years. This proved to be an additional opportunity to make more pupils succeed.

A teacher trainee from Miskolc University carried out a research on the effects of KIP on other lesson, and came to the expectable result that other lessons are also mostly cooperative and several elements of the KIP-methodology appear in non-KIP lessons unintentionally.


And the last one: mainstreaming innovation in school education




KIP methodology is about to be rolled out within the framework of a 5-year, EU-funded project, named Complex Basic Program which aims at decreasing early school leaving by training the teachers of endangered schools. All teacher training centres (universities and colleges), the central Education Office and the Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development participate. The program is planned to run for five years from 2017, on a budget of 9,86 billion HUF, more than 30 million Euros. In five years` time, 1500 primary schools are expected to join the program, mostly ones where underprivileged pupils are over-represented and the school’s academic achievement is below the expected level. At the moment, universities are planning the exact content and process.

Hopes are high concerning this project, and so is scepticism. As a positive thinker, I say that this initiative could be the thing that activates underachieving schools to change their outdated and failing methodology. Furthermore

  • project-mechanisms in general are not suitable for sustainable development, mostly because the preparation period always needs more time than planned, real activities in the field are always late and there is too little time until the end of the project to achieve real results;
  • real school improvement projects, innovation processes need at least eight years;
  • 1500 schools cannot get close attention which proved to be an absolutely necessary element for success;
  • when the project ends and subsidies cease to come in, schools will find themselves without help and resources; consequently most of them will lose their motivation.

A pilot project was run last school year in a smaller area with eight schools. Planning the exact realisation and a larger pilot with 100 schools takes two years.


  1. It is relatively easy to learn the technology, but the vision, believes, pedagogical concepts, culture, attitude are hard to change. Even if they change, they change very slowly and can do so only with continuous reinforcement. The focus group of teachers say that according to their dissemination experience, the very first step is the hardest: to recognise the need and the possibility to change and to take up the burden of learning and working even much more than usual, being already overloaded. They say that success is the most potent motivator, which comes right from the beginning.
  2. When there is a governmental force, organisational frameworks and there are financial resources, good practices are much more likely to spread and take root, but the project closure is always a serious threat. Participants tend to give up making efforts when financial and professional help ceases. It is changing the mindset that can sustain new methods, but this is the hardest to achieve.
  3. Planning resources for the time after the project is always missing at all levels. As for the KIP methodology, there is a strong governmental intention behind mainstreaming it in a complemented and modified way. Complex Basic Program also includes the Whole Day School concept elaborated earlier, and it is connected to the School Centres project as well, which is aiming at centralising small rural schools where available teachers are scarce. A long follow-up phase is included, but the mentoring process is very costly.
  4. The KIP methodology is supposed to take root during the initial teacher training, that is why the tender was composed in a way that teacher training institutes of all universities participate. At the moment, not all centres are convinced that this is the one and only methodology worth promoting.  The country-wide roll-out is confined to the methodology, however the heart of innovation should be changing the culture of pedagogy. The project mechanisms are not in favour of creating sustainable change. The universities believe in micro networks.
  5. KIP was chosen to be mainstreamed because it is cheaper and there are more experts than in other programs possibly capable of providing teacher trainings and mentoring. The KIP methodology gave the basis for this new Complex Basic Program (project), but it is not named explicitly in the call for proposals. The Ministry of Human Resources took part in defining the goals and the expectations of this project, and a government decree decided on the chosen model.




Boaler, Jo. 2006. ““Opening our Ideas”: How a detracted Mathematics approach promoted respect, responsibility and high achievement.” Theory into practice, 45(1).

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1986. „The Forms of Capital." Pp. 241-58 in Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, edited by John G. Richardson. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

Cohen, G. E. – Lotan, A. R. (2014): Designing Groupwork Strategies for heterogeneous classrooms. Teachers College, Columbia University. New York – London.

Gallová Kriglerová, Elena, Katarína Medľová, Ivana Rapošová, and Michaela Šedovičová. 2015. Kľukaté cesty k inkluzívnemu vzdelávaniu na Slovensku. Bratislava: Centrum pre výskum etnicity a kultúry.

Hunya, M. (2016): North-Hungary. Case Study

  1. Nagy, E. (2012): Több mint csoportmunka, Nemzeti Tankönyvkiadó, 2012.
  2. Nagy, E. (2015): KIP-könyv. Miskolc-Egyetemváros: Miskolci Egyetemi Kiadó.

UNESCO. 2005. Guidelines for Inclusion: ensuring access to education for all. Paris.



The summarize is based on Hunya, M. (2016): North-Hungary Case Study
Given that the school does not follow a different instructional program which would be contradictory to KIP principles, such as e.g. ability grouping.

Limited content is also available in English: http://www.komplexinstrukcio.hu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=152&Itemid=182

From 2016 she teaches part time at another university, which is the consortium leader of the project aiming at rolling out the CIP.

The tender is EFOP-3.1.2-16

For more information see 3.1.

KIP is supposed to be used in 20% of all classes in each subject.

The tender is EFOP-3.1.2-16

There has already been delay, the tender for schools should have been out in February.




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