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Ricerca per l'innovazione della scuola italiana
Didattica laboratoriale e innovazione del curricolo - Area linguistico-umanistica

Laboratory teaching in basic disciplines of upper secondary schools

Ambito: Ricerca istituzionale

The research starts from the need to understand how active teaching methods of basic disciplines can be introduced and implemented in upper secondary schools, especially in the first two-year period. The opportunity to start this project was provided by the request for help made to INDIRE at the beginning of 2018 by the secondary school “Enriques Agnoletti” of Sesto Fiorentino (FI). This concerned consolidating and disseminating in the school some good laboratory teaching practices carried out by some teachers, in particular within the then newborn Mathematics specialization of the Liceo Scientifico. This specialisation, also present in other Italian schools, provides for an increase in the hours of mathematics and physics from the first two years and, in this particular institute, also the adoption of laboratory approaches in all subjects. INDIRE had recently concluded a qualitative monitoring on the Reorganization of the 2nd cycle of Education in 2010 and in the subsequent qualitative monitoring it had found that their real impact on the curricular structure and on the educational system of the school had been very limited, if not even non-existent. The teaching practices of the few teachers of the “Agnoletti” institute who tried to keep curricular innovation and active teaching strategies together, seemed to us a good starting point for an in-depth reflection on the topic, as well as an opportunity to reread in a transversal and interdisciplinary perspective some reflections that emerged in the context of research on teaching Italian and sciences. Therefore, we can speak of a two-fold motivation that moved the research: on the one hand, the need of the school to innovate and disseminate active teaching practices of its teachers and, on the other hand, INDIRE’s desire to know better the reality of the schools of the second cycle, starting from basic subjects.


  • To support and promote didactic-disciplinary innovation processes in secondary school teaching practices.
  • To identify common and transversal elements in curricular design and in the implementation of laboratory courses for basic disciplines.

Research questions

  • How is it possible to implement active methods (laboratory teaching) in the different disciplines in secondary schools? Are there commonalities, despite the differences?
  • How is it possible to build an institute’s curriculum based on the laboratory approach?