‘ON MONDAY AFTERNOONS WE GO TO DISCOVER THE WORLD!’: UNDERSTANDING A TRADITIONAL ITALIAN PRIMARY SCHOOL’S ADAPTATION TO A STUDENT-DRIVEN APPROACH TO LEARNING / IL LUNEDÌ POMERIGGIO ANDIAMO A SCOPRIRE IL MONDO: MODIFICAZIONI NELL’APPROCCIO SCOLASTICO TRADIZIONALE A FAVORE DI PERCORSI D’APPRENDIMENTO GUIDATI DAGLI ALUNNI IN UNA SCUOLA PRIMARIA ITALIANA

Alessandro Bortolotti, Simon Beames

Abstract


Across the globe, increasing attention is being paid to curricular learning outside the classroom. While there is no Italian national outdoor learning policy, there is a growing wave of lecturers, teachers, schools, environmental education centres, who are developing this field. This paper examines one rural primary school’s attempts to incorporate learning outside the classroom into their rather conventional teaching practices. Michael Fullan’s seven premises of ‘change knowledge’ are employed to lend a deeper interrogation of the findings. Since the boundaries of inquiry were so clear, in terms of context, space-time, and people, a case study design was used. Data generation featured two principal methods and took place over a six-year period. First, there were open-ended interviews with each of the two principal educators; two focus group interviews with the entire staff team; and large focus groups with senior pupils. Field notes from participant observation and informal conversations were also used. The findings highlighted the importance of alliances between teachers, parents, and the wider community; the need for pupils to have the power to shape what is being learned; and the value of having pupil groups with different ages and abilities. The teachers stressed how crucial it was for pupils to learn how to critically refine the questions they were asking about their ‘places’. Further analysis of the data showed that Fullan’s premises of motivation and commitment, learning in context, capacity building, and persistence and flexibility were especially present.

A livello globale, si registra un crescente interesse nello sviluppare il curriculum scolastico all’aperto. In Italia, pur non essendoci un diretto interesse da parte di organizzazioni centrali, si assiste comunque ad un’ondata di docenti, insegnanti, scuole, centri di educazione ambientale, che stanno vieppiù sviluppando questo settore. Il presente lavoro esamina gli sforzi di una scuola elementare rurale, al fine d’inserire l'apprendimento all’aperto nelle proprie pratiche didattiche, generalmente piuttosto convenzionali. Le sette premesse di Michael Fullan per "cambiare la conoscenza" sono state utilizzate per riflettere a fondo sui risultati ottenuti. Poiché i confini dell’indagine qui sviluppata erano molto chiari in termini di contesto spazio-temporale e personale, è stato adottato l’approccio dello “studio di caso”. I dati sono stati raccolti nell'arco di sei anni, attraverso due metodi principali. In primo luogo, si sono utilizzate interviste approfondite con ciascuno dei due insegnanti principali della scuola; due incontri di focus group con l'intero corpo insegnante; e focus group allargati a tutti gli alunni. Inoltre, sono state raccolte numerose note di campo provenienti sia dall'osservazione dei partecipanti, sia da conversazioni informali. In generale, i risultati hanno evidenziato l'importanza dell’alleanza tra insegnanti, genitori e con la comunità locale; la necessità che gli alunni abbiano la possibilità di essere coinvolti nella definizione dei contenuti d’apprendimento; il valore dei gruppi d’alunni con età e capacità diverse. Gli insegnanti hanno sottolineato quanto sia cruciale che gli alunni imparino ad affinare criticamente le domande che si ponevano sui loro "luoghi". Un'ulteriore analisi dei dati ha mostrato che le premesse di Fullan su motivazione, impegno, apprendimento nel contesto, sviluppo delle capacità, continuità e flessibilità, siano particolarmente presenti.

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Keywords


outdoor learning, educational change, pedagogy, school transformation / apprendimento all'aria aperta, cambiamento educativo, pedagogia, trasformazione scolastica

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejes.v8i1.3502

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