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Ricerca per l'innovazione della scuola italiana

Teaching Workshops in Institutes of technical and vocational education and training

The project Teaching Workshops in Institutes of technical and vocational education (School-based TVET) deals with the transformation of the traditional teaching model, from lecture-based and teacher-centred to an active teaching workshop, especially in the core subjects (Italian, Mathematics, Sciences and Foreign Languages). The highest number of failures to achieve the required standards, school year repetitions and drop-outs are recorded during the first two years of technical and professional institutes. This represents a very significant problem in Italy, which has recorded higher percentages (18%) than the European average, and higher than the threshold set by the EU2020 European Agenda (10% by 2020).

As a result, the Tuscany Region financed a training project, designed and managed by INDIRE, which in the AY 2015-2016 saw the birth of a synergy between different players (Institutes of technical and vocational education and training, INDIRE, the Tuscany  Region, schools belonging to the Educational Avant-garde movement, engaged in a training-assistance scheme led by teachers and expert headmasters (selected from technical and professional institutes both in and outside Tuscany) in order to foster new educational projects based on workshop methods. The training scheme is carried out in person and online on a dedicated platform.

The enabling role of ICT is central in this scheme, e.g. for certain active educational proposals such as the “flipped classroom”, game-based learning, debate, TEAL, which encourage the authorship of teachers and students instead of using textbooks. Significant effects are also to be hoped for in terms of organising the classroom setting, teaching times and interdisciplinary planning.

One of the objectives of the project will be also to identify innovative models for sustainable teaching workshops, implementable on a large scale.

As well as the more operational project, which includes monitoring, study and observation, the teaching workshop theme is central to INDIRE’s research activities, as laid down in the “Three-Year Work Plan 2015-2017”: “This initiative comes out of the same line of research into the potential of ICT to transform the traditional educational model. In particular, considering the high percentage of early school leavers and the number of children who fail in the first two years of secondary school, the goal is to find appropriate solutions for a widely-used teaching workshop in basic subjects. The point is to redevelop these schools both by modernising specific workshops and through an extension of active methods in daily educational practice.”

The research project focuses on three main activities:

  1. A historical, theoretical and normative documentation of the teaching workshop ideas, taking into consideration their actual meaning in this delicate phase of deep transformation and redefinition of educational methods.
  2. Observation and description, carried out identifying some case studies
  3. A more experimental mathematical approach

A further objective of the research is to carry out a systematic literature review to identify previous studies that have demonstrated greater effectiveness of the workshop approach compared to traditional teaching methods. Lastly, the other aspect investigated by the research is evaluation, which needs to be reconsidered, in the workshop activity, in terms of evaluating skills, self-evaluation, and evaluation between peers.