A teaching model that is spreading and that is focused on training students within four specific subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), according to an integrated and interdisciplinary approach, based on practical and significant learning experiences. Even for pre-primary school children STEM-based activities can be provided within the four different subjects, according to an inquiry-based approach, that comes from a question – both asked by the teacher or by the children themselves. The activities, linked to the solution of common and daily problems, can dispose children towards subjects such as mathematics and sciences. There is also an alternative to this model, the STEAM, that integrates within the subjects also arts, making more interdisciplinary this model, which, otherwise, could be focused only on scientific subjects
2. Integrated Didactics
This approach requires the integration of disciplines that traditionally are addressed separately so that students can achieve a higher and more authentic level of understanding. The integrated teaching model has many advantages for teachers, such as the possibility of joining interdisciplinary teams to break down barriers, which are still difficult to break down in secondary school and which lead to considering subjects as compartments.
3. Didactic For Scenarios
A teaching model that comes from multi-annual testing was carried out as part of a European project, called iTEC, “Innovative Technologies for an Engaging Classroom”. The key concepts of the iTEC approach are Learning Scenarios, Learning Activities and the so-called Learning Story. The transformation of the student’s role is part of the process of educational innovation, required within this model, in fact students participate in the activity planning and development, adopting peer tutoring, even replacing, in some moments, teachers and taking on the role of producers, designers and experts, especially where technologies are employed.
explanation of the European project, called iTEC: http://itec.eun.org/web/guest;jsessionid=5940A425F4B546CBCFC05B073EAFB0FF
4. Flipped Classroom
The model aimed at innovating teaching, flipping the traditional lessons. The frontal lesson is replaced with collaborative teaching, within which teachers can deepen topics, already explained before in video lessons, in order to ensure better comprehension and a more personalized learning process. The key factors of the Flipped Classroom model are the first and second inversion. Within the first inversion, theoretical learning, which was characterized by traditional school lessons, is moved to home. Students at home are introduced to topics through recorded video lessons or other didactical resources and autonomously explore, according to their learning rhythms. The second inversion of the model is based on the movement, at school, of homework. In class, in fact, students can have debates with teachers and among themselves, in order to clarify doubts and deepen topics. According to the students’ difficulties, the teacher will provide materials in addition, or adapt the collaborative and laboratory activities. The strategies that can be adopted within the Flipped Classroom model are cooperative learning, peer education, problem solving and laboratory didactics.
5. Blended Learning
An educational model based on the strategical integration between face-to-face teaching and online teaching. This model can take four configurations:
- Flipped Classroom, which flips the traditional teaching so that through video lessons.
- Station Rotation, in which stations are set up. Each workstation can accommodate a small group of students, which can be better followed by the teacher with personalized teaching.
- Class Rotation, which, unlike Station Rotation, involves the rotation of an entire class group, which leaves the class and moves to another space set up with technological workstations.
- Flex Model, in which most of the processes are online, ensures a high flexibility level for students to work according to personal rhythms
6. Service Learning
An approach that promotes educational initiatives conducted in real-life contexts, thanks to which students develop, in addition to disciplinary skills, transversal, professional and active citizenship skills. It comes from Dewey’s experiential learning theory and Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, and it is characterized by learning in which there is no difference between school and the world. Eventually, the external actors play a central role in the contribution they can give in the design and implementation of the initiative, making it available to the school experts, providing people to interview, or welcoming students for activities to be carried out in their organizations.
7. Maker Education
The educational model that comes as a cultural movement, focused on doing, planning and prototypes realization.
8. Project-Based Learning
A widespread model based on authentic educational activities and tasks that are presented to students as challenges to solve; these activities are usually focused on everyday life activities, and are proposed to a little group of students that work together in order to achieve a common objective. Thanks to the PBL students learn not only content, but they can develop also important competencies that they can spend in their future adult life. These abilities include communication and presentation competencies, organizational and time management skills, critical thinking development, research and scientific inquiry skills, meta-reflection, self assessment, and leadership skills. In the climate that emerges within the class mistakes are tolerated and change is encouraged; this has proved to be a particularly suitable approach for students who have little profit. Teachers play the facilitator role, rather than the knowledge giver, and are responsible to guide and help students.
It refers to the action of telling stories from a book, whereas digital storytelling replaces books with multimedia stories, based on an e-book or a multimedia file. The creation of stories can be used to face many subjects, not only humanities, such as mathematics, science, arts (pictures creation to be used for the story), technology, geography, history, music and physical education. It can encourage the creation of an inclusive learning environment, allowing to actively involve even students with special needs in the story creation, according to their cognitive competencies and linguistic skills, motivating them and maximizing their individual results.
10. Cooperative Learning
Structured and systematic approach in which small groups of students collaborate to achieve a common goal. Similar to Cooperative Learning, the Team Game is based on the subdivision of the tasks within the group, with the difference that, instead of the individual test, students participate in competitions with members of other groups, in a sort of competition between teams. The evaluation takes into account the individual contribution of each student in the group and can be conducted using observation grids, self-assessment and peer evaluation.
11. Peer Education
Students, belonging to a group, guide their mates, their peers, in knowledge acquisition or competencies development. Peer education activities can be proposed in all school orders because students with difficulties, doubt and need clarification, are used to pay more attention to the mates explications, rather than teachers’ ones, because mates use more informal approaches, to give explications and to support the learning process. Peer educators develop therefore transversal skills (problem-solving, critical and creative thinking, effective communication, empathy) which are important for their growth and future and their presence within the class fosters a positive climate.
A methodological approach consists in a debate in which two teams of two or more students, debate with respect to a topic that has been assigned by the teacher to stand for or against a point, supporting and justifying their position through logical reasonings. The topic can be chosen within the disciplinary curriculum or can be a controversial or provocative issue. The debate is not a free discussion, but a formal discussion, in which there are specific rules and times, and for which students must be prepared by reading up and studying research and reliable sources, followed by a critical elaboration of the collected information.
13. Circle Time
It is one of the most effective methodologies in socio-affective education in which students sit in a circle with the teacher who leads the exchanges and urges the interventions. This approach is adopted mostly in pre-primary and primary school in order to develop self-confidence and promote positive behaviours. The approach, in fact, promotes self-knowledge, ideas, opinions, and emotional sharing, with respect to topics that teachers or pupils intend to address, in a calm atmosphere. There are two kinds of circle time: A circle time, already planned as a part of a path that provides for a progression of personal and social development of students and that is achieved through structured and guided activities A circle time related to a topic decided at the moment.
The basic principle is to make pleasant and engaging disciplines that are not normally pleasant and engaging and since the game is the key entertainment activity, gamification allows us to accomplish this step, transferring game elements to other contexts. The key elements of the game are points, levels, rewards, missions, status, leader board, and voluntary participation. Moreover, through game, it is possible to establish goals (achieving a goal makes sense, that promotes competitivity, and guides gamers’ actions), respect rule (imposing limits to possible actions to achieve a goal and enhancing creativity and lateral thinking development) and receive feedback (allowing gamers to know how close they are to reach their goal).
15. Creative Problem-Solving
A process, a method or a system to face a problem in a creative way that becomes an effective action. It means seeing a problem as a challenge, that if successfully overcame, offers and opens to different opportunities, generating multiple solutions thanks to creativity. The traditional problem-solving approach is composed of four steps:
- Challenge understanding
- Ideas creation
- Action preparation
- Approach planning
Creativity is to be understood as the attitude to research and generate new ideas that can give greater possibilities to solve a specific problem, or better to accept a challenge. Blocks to creativity are usually caused by: Available time, and hurry to find a solution; Resistance to change situations and subjects with which to work; Habit of not being creative and following the same attitudes and routines; Fear of sounding strange and non-compliant with the conventions, even social ones.