FROM THE AGE OF THE INDIVIDUAL TO THE AGE OF THE KNOWLEDGE COMMUNITY: ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF CURRICULUM INTEGRATION IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION
University of Minho (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:In this paper, we present part of a research project entitled "Contexts and collaborative practices of curricular research in elementary education", which is currently being developed by a team of researchers from the Child's Studies Centre at the University of Minho (Portugal).
The central tenet that sustains the research concerns the nature of knowledge and knowledge construction. Knowledge is no longer seen as a linear product but rather as a collaborative, contextual and functional construction. One of the consequences of this foundational idea is the recommendation that schools develop the 'culture of project', assuming a broad, strategic and integrated knowledge building procedure, which is focused on students' learning and on a continuous collaborative way of sharing knowledge and experience.
However imperative they are, related concepts such as 'knowledge communities' and 'learning communities' are still not clear in educational literature, though mentioned as an ocean wave that takes the human being from the “Age of the individual to the Era of Community” (Feldman, 2000, p.xiii). Thus, two central research questions emerged, which our project intends to answer:
1. How can we make the curriculum of elementary education integrated and relevant, offering all students, regardless of their diversity, the best learning opportunities to ensure their educational success? That is, how can we successfully construct 'knowledge communities' and 'learning communities' in elementary education?
2. In what ways are the processes of curricular development and professional development of teachers and researchers influenced by taking part in this project, which focuses on generating knowledge communities in order to create a "sharing culture" by constructing knowledge about curriculum integration?
The research community taking part in our project joins academic and practical researchers (students of the Master in Curricular Integration and Educational Innovation) trying to develop processes of educational change and professional development, more specifically skills and reflective attitudes inspired by collaborative action research. This paper presents the goals and the results of the first task of this Project. We will present and analyze the forms used to build this community that brings together academic and practical researchers trying to study strategies to make the curriculum more integrated and relevant for all students by applying skills and reflective attitudes inspired by the collaborative action research literature.
Keywords: Curriculum Integration, sharing culture, Knowledge communities, learning communities.