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Ricerca per l'innovazione della scuola italiana
Innovazione metodologica e organizzativa del modello scolastico

Networking and mentoring in educational improvement and innovation processes

Ambito: Ricerca endogena

The “Network” as a tool to support the processes of innovation in organisational and didactic practice. It is already part of INDIRE’s research, both in the experience of the Educational Avant-garde Movement and the Small Schools Movement. The Special Interest Group has been created in parallel to this, focused on “Small and rural schools” at the European level, involving 12 countries. The objective is to trace the practices of small schools and the use of digital tools in teaching, understanding the value of the network.

Research questions

Q1: What are the characteristics of small European schools with regard to teaching practices and managing multi-age classes, the use of technology to counteract educational and social isolation, and the relationship with the region? (EUN Special Interest Group)

Q2: What is the role perceived by small European schools with respect to the “networking dimension” in supporting the educational offer? (EUN Special Interest Group)

Q3: Can networked mentoring solutions facilitate professionalisation processes and the adoption of new teaching approaches, integrated with ICT, in schools? (Horizon-Mensi projects)

The research project influences the quality of the training experience in schools with the aim of intervening on school visions that make the most of the network’s size while, at the same time, proposing new ways of mentoring characterised precisely by working in local networks.

The project explores theoretical and practical mentoring and analysis models of widespread policies to accompany schools in the use of ICT. Sharing policies and practices will make it possible to recommend and develop guidelines that will take the form of a “Mentoring Policy Exchange” and a MOOC for teachers.



  • 24 small schools from the 12 MOEs involved in the creation of the European Network of Small Schools
  • 20 Italian schools from the I and II cycles to experiment with mentoring networking models
  • School Policy Bodies (MOEs)


  • Other local governance (for Italy: Ministry of Education, UST [Ufficio Scolastico Territoriale – Territorial School Office]/USR [Ufficio Scolastico Regionale – Regional School Department])
  • Significant Stakeholders for Italy: Ministry of Education; Universities and Scientific Associations to rethink the network dimension and mentoring in the processes of innovation and professionalisation