BETWEEN WELL-BEING AND POVERTY IN EDUCATIONAL CONTEXTS. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF TEACHERS? A NARRATIVE LITERATURE REVIEW
1Free University of Bolzano; 2Sapienza University of Rome
Several researches have highlighted how the global pandemic emergency impacted on many dimensions concerning poverty and well-being of the actors involved in educational and training processes and contexts (Save the Children, 2020). These two concepts are becoming increasingly central in the pedagogical debate aimed at understanding the perspectives and the challenges that education has to face in order to pursue values of equity, sustainability and good quality of life for all in the design and management of educational instances. In this scenario it emerges how important the role of teachers is in fostering equity and well-being not only for pupils but also for the whole educational community (Benvenuto, 2011). In such a vision, the school is in constant dialogue with the environment through the interdependencies existing between the actors and their connected systems (family, social, recreational, etc.). Thus, allowing the sharing of responsibilities and actions in full continuity and educational integration (Bronfenbrenner, 2010). In Dewey's (1992) vision, the school is at the center of this process, not only as the product of a democratic system, but also as a producer of democracy and, indeed, able to revive it in its best forms, even becoming a social and political laboratory. In this approach, teachers become guardians of democracy, assuming an active role that requires a specific action of systemic reflexivity (Luhmann & Schorr, 1999), functional to the assumption of specific educational postures (Nuzzaci, 2009) to implement actions to overcome the educational poverty and to promote well-being.
The contribution proposes an in-depth review of the concepts of poverty and well-being, assumed in their multidimensional character (Ghedin, 2017) and seen as two sides of the same coin (Sen, 1987), through a narrative analysis of the literature on the issues. The aim is to reflect on which dimensions of these notions should be considered for the implementation of educational pathways aimed at equity and authentic democratic participation, and to reflect on the role that teachers and educators play in their implementation.
Keeping these aspects in mind means implementing the possibilities of educators to fulfil their role of promoting social change by breaking the reproduction of inequalities by empowering individual potential in a context of educational equality.
Benvenuto, G. (a cura di) (2011). La scuola diseguale. Dispersione ed equità nel sistema di istruzione e formazione. Anicia.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (2010). Rendere umani gli esseri umani. Bioecologia dello sviluppo. Erickson.
Dewey J. (1992). Democrazia e educazione. La Nuova Italia.
Ghedin, E. (2017). Felici di Conoscere. Insegnamento inclusivo e apprendimento positivo a scuola. Liguori.
Nussbaum, M. (2012). Creare Capacità. Liberarsi dalla dittatura del Pil. Il Mulino.
Save the Children (2020). L’impatto del Coronavirus sulla povertà educativa. Save the Children Italia Onlus.
Sen, A. (1987). The standard of living. Cambridge University Press.
Luhmann, N., & Schorr, K. E. (1999). Il sistema educativo. Problemi di riflessività. Armando.
Nuzzaci, A. (2009). La riflessività nella progettazione educativa: verso una riconcettualizzazione delle routine. Italian Journal of Educational Research, (2-3), 59-75.
LARGE-SCALE ASSESMMENT AND INCLUSION: NOT NECESSARILY AN OXYMORON
1Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy; 2Università di Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy
The learning of mathematics plays a prominent role in the educational path of a student. It requires the accomplishment of high cognitive standards, in terms of creativity, rationality, control of several semiotic registers, metacognition etc. Mathematics can be a field of knowledge where the individual’s self-esteem and self-efficacy can flourish.
We can also recognize a social and political value in the learning of mathematics, since it is a fundamental tool for contemporary citizens to have access to the complexity of our society. Mathematics is at the core of science and technology that are moulding the world in unpredictable, unexpected and rapidly changing scenarios. The Italian national curriculum in mathematics attaches significant importance to the “mathematics for the citizen” as an important guideline for mathematics teachers. Mathematics can be both an instrument of equity or discrimination according to how and how many students can grasp its cognitive and metacognitive potentials. The important accomplishments available through mathematics clash against the serious and acknowledged difficulties that research in mathematics education has precisely outlined.
We believe inclusive mathematics is an unavoidable milestone in the accomplishment of a democratic school that fosters equity. Furthermore, inclusive mathematics addresses a two-fold objective, in that it allows both high learning standards in mathematics and access to all students to the competences, which transform them into an aware citizen of our complex world.
Our notion of inclusion goes beyond the idea of a practice devoted to a specific individual with sociocultural disadvantages or some kind of physical, intellectual or sensorial impairment. In our view, inclusive education should not work to restore a so-called condition of normality; instead, promote the construction of subjectivities who position themselves in their cultural-historical environment according to their specific needs, potentials and difficulties. We are referring to a broad perspective of inclusive education, focusing on meeting social and academic needs for all pupils and contributing to an equitable and democratic learning community. Thomlinson’s notion of differentiated learning and open learning methodologies allow us to realize such a broad notion inclusion. Open Learning focuses on learning instead of teaching and encourages the development of class settings where learning processes are decentralized and plural: several students working on several tasks and each of them is going through his/her own valuable learning process.
Large-scale assessment data, when interpreted with the lens provided by Mathematics education research, can be used to realize in the small-scale of the classroom inclusive learning of mathematics in the sense mentioned above. The structure of Gestinv database, a collection of all the items administered in Italian national INVALSI tests, allows teachers to design open learning environments that allow each student to act and learn according to his/her specific potentials and cognitive needs. Gestinv provides materials for mathematics activities, organized according to features that foster open learning. Gestinv has been used in many teachers professional development programs to enhance the capacity of designing inclusive learning environments.
The presentation will show practical examples of differentiated learning based on the implementation of Gestinv.
TEACHING PRACTICES AND USE OF DIGITAL IN THE DADA MODEL (DIDACTICS FOR LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS)
Sapienza University of Rome, Italia
The opportunities and changes that digital technologies bring to learning and teaching contexts are at the center of the reflection of several international studies (OECD, 2015; OECD, 2016), which declare that digital has the potential to improve learning, to provided that the use of the tools is linked to an effective pedagogy (OECD, 2016). The paper presents the results of the monitoring of digital augmented teaching, in a lower secondary school in Rome, which adopts the DADA model (Didattiche per Ambienti Di Apprendimento - Didactics for Learning Environments). Based on a radical pedagogical-didactic and organizational innovation, the Dada model is characterized by the presence of “classrooms - learning environments”: each space is assigned to one or two teachers of the same subject and the students move from one classroom to another, during school hours. The monitoring study included one hundred and twenty hours (one week in December 2019) of systematic non-participant observation of the four “experimental” classes. During the observation, designed according to the principles of Research-Training (Asquini, 2018), particular attention was paid to the use of digital devices (iPads) by teachers and students. A grid was used to collect the data, designed to identify the time dedicated to three moments of teaching: the activities carried out (e.g., construction or transmission of meanings, consolidation, planning), the functions of these activities (e.g., introduce new knowledge, monitor and verify learning or manage the organization) and actions (e.g., frontal lesson, design, discussion). The research questions investigate the use of the digital device in relation to other media, such as the IWB (Interactive Whiteboard), and what are the educational activities, which involve greater use of the digital device. In general, the analysis of the observations revealed the distribution of time on five functions indicated in the grid: Manage the organization and relationships within the classroom (38.65% of the total time), Introduce new knowledge (23.84%), Monitor learning (17.63%), Manage organization and relationships within the Institution (17.21%) and Empower students towards study activities (2.68%). Differences between the classes in the use of time were found, based on the different actions carried out with digital devices, but it should be noted that more than 50% is dedicated to management and organization activities, while teaching (and therefore also learning) covers just over 40% of the activities. The 2018 European Parliament Recommendation establishes the role of digital skills as key competences for lifelong learning: they have an impact on education, training and learning and lead to the development of more flexible environments. The potential of digital becomes propulsive for a democratic attitude, oriented towards the construction of active citizenship and social justice. Bringing a non-linear logic into the school of organized knowledge could lead to dedicating more time to learning.
Asquini, G. (2018). La Ricerca-Formazione. Temi, esperienze, prospettive. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
OECD (2016). Skills for a Digital World. Paris: OECD.
OECD (2015). Schooling Redesigned. Towards Innovative Learning Systems. Paris: OECD.
THE EPISTEMOLOGICAL QUESTION OF DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP AT THE TIME OF THE PANDEMIC
Università degli Studi della Basilicata, Italy
The last few months have been marked by profound changes. Uncertainty, fear and risk have found their place more and more in the individual and collective imagination in people who have had to change their lifestyle due to the pandemic. The education system has suffered the impact of the pandemic and has had and is facing a new educational challenge called Dad (Distance Learning) and Did. Was the school system organized to deal with this unexpected emergency situation? It is still too early to state this clearly, even if for years he has been talking about the school's technological and educational innovation processes. One question is clear: the school has the task of welcoming the educational challenges of contemporary society and has the cultural and institutional duty to reflect on the transformations taking place, paying particular attention to the crisis of the educational systems. The global, European and national political system has devoted much attention to the crisis of the educational systems and the relaunch of the school as a laboratory of democracy, even if the predominant idea is that of a school based on the epistemological paradigm of a pervasive assessment regime and oriented to training for work in contemporary society, arousing numerous criticisms that identify in this school model, a school-company, which reproduces social divisions and inequalities and does not train citizenship and solidarity. It is therefore necessary to bring out a new image of the school that is the point of reference for a new dimension of democratic citizenship. Being a citizen and, even more so, exercising citizenship means acquiring values, skills, qualities that, starting from participation, acceptance, care, a sense of responsibility, refer to specific categories of pedagogical thought. The challenge of pedagogy therefore lies in the possibility of finding value and comparison networks so that the current sense of loss, the characteristic loneliness of the global citizen, the new social emergencies such as a disruptive individualism, racial hatred, gender disparities , the various dimensions of violence become a stimulus and not an obstacle through which to build an educational project that is able to bring the person back to the center of educational relationships, to define a new educational humanism. This condition can only occur if the subject - person who feels part of a community, cooperates for the construction of a new shared paideia, capable of supporting and nourishing horizons of humanization and educational and political choices characterized by meaning and responsibility. What educational challenge does the teacher of the 21st century face in this new situation? In this short contribution I will try to reflect on the importance of digital citizenship expressed by the concept of human development and democracy for the definition of teacher training in the context of the contemporary pandemic situation that is fundamental for a democratic school and an inclusive society.
THE INFLUENCE OF TRAINING ON TEACHERS' TEACHING STRATEGIES: STUDY OF A SAMPLE OF LOWER SECONDARY AND HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS
1La Sapienza, Roma, Italia; 2La Sapienza, Roma, Italia
In recent years we have witnessed the evolution of society which has affected not only the world of schools but also the teaching staff. Teachers are no longer required to simply transmit knowledge, but to have a style of teaching capable of stimulating students' participation in learning through discovery, group work and use of technology. Initial and in-service training, therefore, not only become the basis for professional development, but are also fundamental practices as they allow the acquisition of didactic-pedagogical techniques and strategies necessary to train a reflective professional who knows how to relate to the heterogeneity of classes, with special educational needs and with the need for an inclusive school. Nowadays, professional updating is foundamental to acquire relevant transversal skills to face daily educational challenges and it is considered as an openness to change and an interest in innovative aspects that should increase with the growth of knowledge acquired throughout life (Vieluf et al., 2012; OECD, 2019).
Starting from these assumptions, this paper analyzes the results obtained thanks to the implementation of a field research conducted by DPSS at Sapienza University of Rome which involved 701 lower secondary and high school teachers. Through a self-administered questionnaire with five-point Likert scale the objective was to evaluate how often teachers use some teaching practices that were grouped into four strategies: consolidation, work on strategies, transfer of meanings and active construction of meanings (Cesareni & Rossi, 2013). The first results show on one hand the relationship between some aspects concerning the ongoing training received by teachers and the teaching strategies, on the other hand the correlation between the interest in innovation, the predisposition to change and the amount of training hours received in the year preceding the administration of the questionnaire.
In an increasingly complex and diversified society where educational institutions are required to provide the tools to be able to understand the present and future reality and to help train the proactive citizens of tomorrow, the relevance of this contribution is to stimulate reflection on importance of teacher training, as it can influence teaching practices which in turn affect the quality of education and students' school performance (Helms-Lorenz et al., 2013; Baldacci et al., 2020).
Baldacci, M., Nigris, E., Riva, M.G. (2020). Idee per la formazione degli insegnanti. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
Cesareni D., Rossi F., (2013), Quotidianità a scuola: le pratiche di insegnamento. Comunicazione a convegno, Simposio Tenere la classe XXVI Congresso AIP Sezione Psicologia dello Sviluppo e dell’Educazione. Milano-Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore 19-21 Settembre 2013.
Helms-Lorenz, M., Slof B., van de Grift W. (2013), First year effects of induction arrangements on beginning teachers’ psychological processes, European Journal of Psychology of Education, Vol. 28/4, pp. 1265-1287.
OECD (2019), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume I): Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris.
Vieluf S., Kaplan D., Klieme E., Bayer S. (2012), Teaching Practices and Pedagogical Innovations: Evidence from TALIS, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris.
THE PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS’ DEMOCRATIC TEACHING BELIEFS
Alma Mater-Università di Bologna, Italy
Today the data on the phenomenon of scholastic dropout, especially in secondary school, are alarming (Eurydice, 2014) and the evaluation and communication methods of teachers continue to be implicitly selective and present in our classes since the kindergarten. It is now known that the learning outcomes of students are also influenced by systems of variables (Fenstermacher & Richardson, 2005) connected to both psychological and motivational factors of the students; both to social factors, related to their family and socio-cultural environments of reference; and again to contextual and organizational factors, linked to constraints and resources present within schools; and finally to political and institutional factors that influence practices, cultures and therefore innovative pressures or resistances within the institutes. Precisely, with regard to the cultures present in schools, it is interesting and fundamental to observe how some teaching or evaluative practices of teachers, sometimes unfair, are supported and guided by specific beliefs. For this reason, it is of great importance that the initial training of teachers promotes teaching beliefs oriented towards the quality and equity of the didactic process. In this perspective, this contribution intends to present the design, the results and the reflections of a survey on the democratic beliefs of students enrolled in the PTE Degree Course of the Alma Mater-University of Bologna, carried out through the administration of an online questionnaire.
With regard to the specific design of the survey, developed by an interdisciplinary research group of the Department of Education "G.M. Bertin" of Bologna, it is characterized as a longitudinal - cohort - correlational survey on the beliefs of democratic teaching (Ciani, Vannini,20017; Ciani, 2019). These beliefs of PTE students were analyzed both in their evolution over time and in their correlations with other pedagogical-didactic factors such as the motivations for teaching, the perception of competence on individualized teaching, images of teaching profession and visions on didactic planning.An interesting picture emerges from the correlational analysis: building the planning, teaching, evaluation and relational skills of future teachers supports the formation of democratic teaching beliefs, which in fact are consolidated over the years, strengthening one's relationship with a positive vision on didactic planning and the one with a reflective and collegial attitude.
Ciani A., Vannini I. (2017), “Equità e didattica. Validazione di scale sulle convinzioni di insegnamento democratico”, CADMO 2, 5 - 32.
Ciani A. (2019), L’insegnante democratico, Franco Angeli, Milano
Eurydice (2014), “La lotta all’abbandono precoce dei percorsi di istruzione e formazione in Europa. Strategie, politiche e misure”, Quaderno n.31 di Eurydice, Agenzia esecutiva per l’istruzione, gli audiovisivi e la cultura, Bruxelles.
Fenstermacher G.D., Richardson V. (2005), “On making determinations of quality in teaching”, Teachers college record, 107, 1, 186-213.
THE SCHOOLYARD AS A TEACHABLE SPACE: A RESEARCH-TRAINING PROJECT WITH TEACHERS AND PARENTS
University of Parma
The covid19 pandemic forced schools to reorganize. By and large Italian schools were not ready for online didactic. Teachers had to learn tools and reinvent their teaching rapidly and without a clear institutional mandate. While this process proved to be extremely stressful, it also fostered a greater sense of agency, independency, empowerment in teachers (Jones, Harris, 2014). It also consolidated informal professional learning communities (Watkins, 2005). These gains are proving to be lasting and are bridging across different sectors. In summer 2020 teachers at a primary school in Reggio Emilia (Italy), started a deep reflection on the new school year and how to make the best of the difficult and uncertain situation ahead of them. More specifically, the schoolyard was identified as a ‘teachable space’ that is a healthy environment, given the pandemic, where teachers can extend classroom learning to natural and authentic environments (Feille, 2019). Teachers had no lasting experience on outdoor education (Humbestone, Prince, Henderson, 2016), so they reached out to outside experts (environmental educators and researchers). A research-training project (Asquini, 2018) has been structured and is currently on the way to redesign the schoolyard on the basis of the educational potentials highlighted in the literature and in the training path itself. This study refers a preliminary account of this process that involved both the teachers and the parents of the school. It will present: the documentation of the process of co-projecting; the results of a survey, analyzing teachers’ perceived self-efficacy (Glackin, Hohenstein, 2018) and believes regarding outdoor education before the project started; the presentation of the reflective notebooks that accompany the teachers throughout the training meetings (Moon, 2003).
Asquini G. (2018), La Ricerca-Formazione, Franco Angeli, Milano.
Glackin M., Hohenstein J. (2018), “Teachers’ self-efficacy: progressing qualitative analysis”, in International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 41, 3, pp. 271-290.
Humbestone B., Prince H., Henderson K.A. (eds.) (2016), International handbook of outdoor studies, Routledge, London.
Jones M., Harris, A. (2014), "Principals leading successful organisational change: Building social capital through disciplined professional collaboration", in Journal of Organizational Change Management, 27, 3, pp. 473-485.
Feille K. (2019). A Framework for the Development of Schoolyard Pedagogy, Research in Science Education, 1-18.
Moon, J. (2003), Learning journals and logs, Reflective Diaries, University of Exeter - Center for Teaching and Learning, Exeter, UK.
Watkins C. (2005), Classrooms as Learning Communities: What's in it for Schools? Routledge, London-New York.