University of Padova (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 8353-8361
ISBN: 978-84-09-55942-8
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2023.2137
Conference name: 16th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 13-15 November, 2023
Location: Seville, Spain
This research stems from the desire to analyze the evolution of the school subject "science" in primary education from the early years of the twentieth century to the present day. The investigation focuses on examining changes in methodologies, teaching practices, teacher training, and its content from a legislative, social, and educational perspective. Moreover, this study also aims at dissecting the relationship between science and schools, starting from the process of scientific publications, and progressing to school education. In this regard, besides the legislative references and the contributions of prominent authors from the twentieth century to the present days, a more concrete and practical approach to the practice of science teaching in today's schools has grown. It focuses on the design of competencies and the construction of teaching innovations, promoting laboratory experiences aimed at developing students' natural curiosity. The “Indicazioni Nazionali del 2012” and the “Nuovi scenari del 2018” (official reference documents in defining learning objectives and competence goals in primary school) support the STEM approach, which aims to introduce children to practical scientific applications and to promote discovery-based learning, metacognitive teaching, laboratory practice and interactive and cooperative methods. Therefore, the driving force that stimulates children in their learning process is their motivation and curiosity, gradually discovering the scientific world through the problem posing in which the child is the protagonist. Indeed, curiosity activates the brain's reward centres and areas involved in memory consolidation, such as the hippocampus, which are crucial for facilitating learning techniques (Gruber, Gelman, & Ranganath, 2014). Among the cutting-edge educational approaches, such as problem setting and investigation, student research, and a lifelong, life-wide, life-deep perspective effectively stimulating children’s curiosity, we find Cooperative Learning, Outdoor Education, and the “School Without a Backpack” (“Scuola senza zaino”). For the scientific disciplines, Outdoor Education offers many possibilities, turning the world into the classroom, where everything the child encounters becomes science, physics, biology, and so on. The essential elements are the experience of environmental education, respect for the time offered by nature, and respect for others. The “School Without a Backpack” (“Scuola senza zaino”) is built on three pillars: hospitality, responsibility, and community. These values enable children to broaden their learning perspective and to be able to extend and apply it in their lives, by building meaningful relationships. In this scenario, teachers have an obligation to continue their own professional development and play a fundamental role as promoters of a school that nurtures the potential of each individual, realizing the "leave no one behind" principle of the Agenda 2030, pushing towards a school that emphasizes competencies and capabilities while fighting an educational system focused solely on rote learning. This approach promotes the acquisition of meaningful knowledge and fosters a school community where knowledge serves the growth of others given its fundamental social dimension, since it cannot be considered genuine knowledge if it is not shared.
Science, teaching, methodologies, change, development.