REINVENTING UNIVERSITY TEACHING DURING THE PANDEMIC: STRATEGIES AND METHODS PROPOSED DURING THE READING EDUCATION LABORATORY
Università degli Studi di Perugia, Italy
The pandemic in the past year has disrupted many of our certainties and habits, and the University world has had to adapt to the circumstances in order to continue with teaching. Digital platforms have offered new possibilities for teaching and new ways of engaging students. If Distance Education has disrupted our habits, we must note, however, that it has also opened up new perspectives that should be taken into account even after the health emergency is over.
In May 2020, Prof. Batini led the Reading Education Laboratory, aimed at students of the degree course in Primary Education Sciences at the University of Perugia. In the didactic planning, given the new way of teaching delivery, we preferred not to reproduce the classic frontal lesson, forcing the medium to our purpose. Instead, we used it by modifying the teaching techniques and making the laboratory experience interactive and engaging.
The laboratory, organized into four modules for a total of 15 hours, aims to enable students to understand the importance of reading for primary literacy and emergent literacy, and to provide them with the basis for structuring a path of reading aloud from early childhood to secondary school.
The proposal to alternate between different types of activities (exercises, videos, group works, experts' interventions and participation in conferences) has made it possible to bring into the teaching process experiences other than those of the individual teacher (as happens instead in a frontal lesson). This has allowed us to address the pivotal theme of the laboratory from several points of view, giving students a well-rounded learning experience. As shown by students’ final evaluations, the laboratory has been extremely effective in terms of both learning and enjoyment, even changing students' personal relationship with reading.
This experience deserves a closer look, as it demonstrates how through a conscious use of digital tools we can improve teaching techniques, expanding the teacher’s possibilities to teach by adding to the more rigid frontal lessons less passive forms of learning for students. Moreover, this digital context facilitates encounters with multiple figures that would be unlikely to occur in a traditional setting.
It is necessary to reflect on the fact that this emergency has forced the University world to seriously deal with Distance Education for the first time on a massive scale. However, the skills acquired will become part of the routine in the future, and we think this is a good thing, precisely because of the completeness of the educational experience that is enriched with tools that are now indispensable.
We are in the early stages, and the possibilities - the spaces that open up - are wide, so that these techniques and practices can be integrated into traditional in-person classes and can continue to play a key role in study accessibility.
This contribution therefore aims to provide new proposals and teaching methodologies, useful even after the emergency is over, to make a laboratory or a lesson engaging and effective in relation to the learning objectives that a university course sets.
HOW SERVICE LEARNING CAN BE A WAY TO PROMOTE CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY
University of Verona, Italy
The University of Verona is characterized by long-standing experimentation of the service learning approach, which, within the Master's Degree in Primary School Education, has taken on the specific connotation of Community Research Service Learning. The studies carried out to identify the added value and the critical issue of this program stress the presence of several advantages. This paper aims at exploring, in particular, its impact in terms of civic skills. The results of the phenomenological analysis highlight the relevance of the service perspective and the collaborative dimension. These elements are functional both to optimize the program and design the application of CRSL in the economic field where stakeholders and students can collaborate to critically respond to the contexts' real needs.
FOR AN INCLUSIVE UNIVERSITY: PARTICIPATION EXPERIENCES AND PRACTICES
Università di Macerata, Italy
The development of critical thinking has gradually assumed greater Importance over time among the training skills provided by University courses, in particular aimed at the educational professions, increasingly pushed to face new challenges, determined by the consistent changes in society, in the world of information and technologies (Kozikoğlu, 2019). Numerous researches document, from the perspective of critical thinking, the importance of dedicating space and listening to all students, even with disabilities, legitimizing their perspectives (Bellacicco, 2018; Bevilacqua, 2019). What has been stated requires us to consider the capacity of self-determination and self-representation of all students, in such a way that they become co-creators and protagonists of an inclusive University and didactics. This requires a rethinking of teaching and learning processes in University contexts as processes of empowerment and full active citizenship (Giaconi et al., 2018). The achievement of these objectives represents an inclusive challenge for the University which requires from teachers themselves the ability to transform the teaching approach from traditional to learner centred especially during the pandemic we are experiencing. In this educational emergency situation across the entire education system, one of the most relevant challenges continues to be to ensure the right to study and participation of students with disabilities and SLDs. It has been therefore necessary for the Universities to critically rethink and partially reinvent, on the one hand, the educational and didactic practices, and on the other, the types of services provided to support these students. Through the 3.0 Inclusion Project, the University of Macerata has adopted a series of actions, aimed at promoting students' well-being and self-representation, participation in an academic community of equals as well as the right to study in e-learning courses, even in this period of pandemic. In this direction, the authors will present the three main lines of intervention in this paper: the new Wellness Service, the involvement actions through University gaming and radio and the re-adaptation of specialized tutoring and e-learning courses (Del Bianco et al., 2020).The implementation of these specific practices has shown how the university can be the privileged place to transform the unexpected of the pandemic, the diversity and differences into resources to rethink and redesign spaces for active citizenship.
Bellacicco R. (2018), Verso una università inclusiva. La voce degli studenti con disabilità. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
Bevilacqua A. (2019), Sperimentare la co-costruzione di un percorso formativo con gli studenti. Che cosa può imparare chi insegna dai loro feedback in itinere? Encyclopaideia – Journal of Phenomenology and Education, 23, 54, 1–15.
Del Bianco N., Paviotti G., Perry V. and Giaconi C. (2020), Inclusive processes at the University during the Covid-19 time: strategic guidelines and case studies from the Inclusion Project 3.0, Nuova Secondaria, Anno XXXVIII, 2, pp. 511-529.
Giaconi C., Capellini S.A., Del Bianco N., Taddei A. and D’Angelo I. (2018), Study Empowerment for Inclusion, Education Sciences & Society, 9, 2, pp. 166-183.
Kozikoğlu I. (2019), Investigating critical thinking in prospective teachers: metacognitive skills, problem solving skills and academic self-efficacy. Journal of Social Studies Education Research, 10, 2, 111–130.
RESEARCH AND TRAINING ITINERARIES FOR CREATIVITY IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Università degli Studi di Reggio Calabria "Mediterranea", Italia
Higher Education plays an important role in promoting intelligence and skills
for the future, among which creativity and critical thinking take a leading
position (Gardner, 2006; EU, 2007; WEF, 2016). Creative skills can represent a
possible solution to the existential disorder and the forms of flexibility and
uncertainty that characterize everyday life, because they express an alternative
form of thought that is opposed to convergent and rigid cognitive modalities
(Lin, 2011; De Bono, 1969; Wechsler et al
., 2018).The issue of creativity and
critical thinking in Higher Education first of all concerns the way in which
in the university context the educational needs are effectively integrated with
the guidance ones and, therefore, falls on the ways in which students are
socialized to the professions. On the teaching level, the theoretical discourse
can be declined through training path on professional prefiguration processes
which can lead students to build integrated and creative professional identities.
The process of construction of professional identity in the early stages takes
the form of a pre-professional identity (PPI), that is a sort of less mature
identity including qualities, behaviors, cultures and ideologies that the student
shows in relation to the profession (Jackson, 2016) and which is supported by the
ability to creatively connect personal and professional values (Trede, Macklin &
Bridges, 2012; Cunti & Priore, 2020). We refer to the link between the cognitive
and emotional dimensions that are at the basis of the relationship that the
individual builds with the profession, that is beliefs, representations, but
also emotions felt and experiences lived. On the training level, the attention to
these areas can become a possible connector between Higher Education and future
professional practices. Starting from the theoretical framework outlined, we
propose a research and training project carried out with 150 students focused on
reflective path on the meanings and knowledge needs of students and the search
for visions, connections, contradictions, often implicit, which, once revealed,
can creatively enrich the forms of knowledge and know-how to be professional and
Cunti, A. & Priore, A. (2020). Prefigurarsi il lavoro. L’orientamento universitario tra ricerca, didattica e formazione. Educational Reflective Practices, 2, 178–195.
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Jackson, D. (2016). Re-conceptualising graduate employability: the importance of pre-professional identity. Higher Education Research & Development, 35, 5: 925-939.
Lin, Y. (2011). Fostering Creativity through Education-A Conceptual Framework of Creative Pedagogy. Creative Education, 2(3), 149–155.
Trede, F., Macklin, R. & Bridges, D. (2012). Professional identity development: A review of the HE literature. Studies in HE, 37(3): 365-384.
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TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING AND PRACTICAL CREATIVITY. AN EXPLORATORY STUDY
1University of Florence, Italy; 2University of Siena, Italy
Purpose–This research analyses transformative learning in relationship to workplace education, intertwining it with the theoretical frameworks of informal and incidental learning (Watkins, & Marsick, 2020), and practice-based studies (Gherardi, 2019). Our purpose is to examine the contribution that a practice-based view of transformative learning offers to the study of creativity (Bracci, Romano, & Marsick, in press).
Aim - We are interested in detecting how and under what conditions professionals in a wide-range of fields can learn and practice to design and realize innovative creative products. The ability to develop innovative products can be a source of competitive advantage for companies; the generation of ideas for new products or ‘creativity’ is the first step in this innovation process (Thompson, 2018). In order to expand our understanding about how to cultivate practices of creativity, the strategic aspects we analyzed and valorized are the comprehension, identification, and development of learning and knowledge situated in material work practice.
Design/methodology/approach–Drawing on key literature themes, we adopted an interpretive case study approach involving 20 professionals expert in creativity practices. Those interviewed included human resource senior managers (n=2), career developers (n=2), creative directors (n=5), fashion graphic designers (n=2), social media specialists (n=5), CEOs of innovative enterprises in the media & tech field (n=4), and a photographer.
Findings–The main findings of the study aimed at drawing implications for a practice-based view of transformative learning in workplaces that prioritize creativity and innovation.
Originality/value–We offer insights for practitioners and adult educators as to what types of learning paths they might construct to increase the performative potential of creative material practices.
Keywords: creativity; practice-based approach; transformative learning; performativity; innovation.
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Taylor, E., Cranton, P., (2012) (Eds.). The Handbook of transformative learning: Theory, research, and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Thompson, N. (2018). Imagination and Creativity in Organizations. “Organization Studies”, 39, 229 - 250.
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HOW TO TRAIN CRITICAL THINKING IN HIGHER EDUCATION
1University of Naples Parthenope; 2University of Siena, Italia
Creativity in learning might constitute the development of the capacity of learning in a generative way. People are creative if their approach to knowledge, disciplinary and not, assumes global and transversal features; the creative learner is that professional who is able to intercept what has going to be, to connect dimensions naturally intertwined with emotions and cognitions, to listen with a mindful mind and to think with a holistic and systemic perspective (Kasl, & Yorks, 2002).
Creative learning requires to self-directed learning, capacity to self-orient our path and to be present in the construction of one’s own “Cultural and formative self”, which is the representation that someone has about himself/herself as individual capable to participate in cultural sites.
Higher Education systems have to accompany people through inquiry processes, more than explicative ones; the innovative and transformative knot entails disciplinary knowledge, but also unexpected and novel declinations, considering the needs and the instances of individuals, groups and community.
In this sense, the active role of learners is not functional to the achievement of the academic success. It opens up understanding about new issues and scenarios that society, science and training will have to face to contribute to that Morin (2020) define as “envelope” more than “development”, where the interdependency and the cooperation will prevail on individualistic dimensions. Creative learning is not an individual thinking; technology amplifies the possibility to share thanks to which creative learning may occur.
To cultivate creative thinking also means to educate to diversity and differences. Creativity, therefore, means overcoming contrasts – starting from those that are inside us and that cause inhibition to acting or reacting. Education as guidance pursues the task to find the way, to weave bonds, to see new opportunities, to intercept hidden resources. Creativity means to open to new perspectives, understanding languages, methods and views of the world, even if very distant anthropologically and scientifically, which help taking distance from self-referentiality and limited reality views.
University has a strong responsibility: to play with teaching and learning methods that provide conditions to solicit confront and engagement, such as critical and deep approach to one’s own and others’ interpretations (Mezirow, 2003; Taylor, & Cranton, 2012). Unveiling the distorted premises, understanding the sources, contextualizing, revealing the role of social and emotional factors are essentials elements that accompany the active dimension of learning. This latter doesn’t cover all the practice dimension, but consists in being present with one’s own experiences, motivations and expectations; it means to be available to reflect on oneself and to contribute to the work with the others. From this viewpoint, to build and to sustain a collective mind is the key instrument for creativity in learning and thinking.
GENDER AND ROLES IN ITALIAN GRAMMAR TEXTBOOKS TODAY
Università di Siena, Italy
The study addresses the topic of the debate on stereotyped and discriminatory uses of language. It does not delve into it; it was born instead from the hypothesis that these uses are common in italian, and they also are accepted in school grammars of all levels. In order to verify the hypothesis a sample of nine grammar textbooks has been identified and analysed considering four aspects:
1) quantity of female (F), male (M), generic male (MG) and female and male referents together (F and M) within the linguistic material used in both theory and exercises;
2) analysis of roles and contexts with which female referents are associated;
3) the use of the definite article with surnames;
4) treatment of professional titles for women.
The study also takes into consideration the images present in the textbook (of course with regard to points 1 and 2).
The results have confirmed a quantitative and qualitative imbalance in the treatment of women and girls. In fact, women and girls are less represented in numbers. Furthermore, girls and women are represented in limited contexts, unlike their male peers. Finally, there are uncertainties about how to call women in prestigious positions, demonstrating that Italian culture does not yet accept this possibility. This happens despite editorial and ministerial guidelines recommending attention to gender discrimination in educational texts.
The work concludes with some simple suggestions on how to avoid presenting a sterotyped reality in grammar textbooks, by changing both the contents and the language used in them.