SCHOOL-WORK ALTERNANCE: A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF THE ITALIAN MODEL
The partnership between world of education and world of work is considered in Europe (CEC 2000; CEC 2010) and in Italy (Decree n.77/2005; Decree n. 761/2014) a way by which individuals can have the opportunity to take part in knowledge society in an active manner, through their significant partecipation and their professions. International studies conducted on experiences of work-based learning or work-related learning, demonstrate the efficacy of these programs, through which school’s and work’s world cooperate in order to offer students the possibility to know labour world, to develop professional and soft skills (JA Worldwide, 2009), to develop motivation for learning (Hopkins, 2008 ), to experiment the efficacy of a relationship with adults as mentors in workplaces (Bennet, 2007), or the inclusive workplaces’ environments (Bennet & Gallagher, 2013) that promote positive results on disabled students and on workers’ performance. Therefore workplace is a learning environment and the school-work partnership a way to develop students’ competences, overcoming the crisis of learning that still, in Italy, registers negative rates referred to drop out (17%), unemployment (21,7%), NEET population (29,3%). The Italian policy, in order to face these problems, has been trying to implement some programs known as “school-work alternance”that connect the two contexts, since 2004. Since then many fragmented experiences has been realised in different Italian Regions, but we haven’t still have an organic and coherent school-work alternance system. Although the INDIRE(Institute of research), is in charge of monitoring the school-work alternance programs, we don’t have significant qualitative data that can point out the strongest aspects of this system. The aim of this paper is to identify the strenghts of some northen Italian experience, selected within a rank order list obtained with the “DidattiVa” national competition 2014, in order to define, a model of school-work alternance. For this research one or two secondary schools (in total eight) per northen Region, were chosen, taking account of the score obtained, the kind of school (Technical, Vocational, Liceo). School-work alternance, is investigated as situated learning practice and through the activity theory of third generation (Engestrom et al., 1995), because the acquisition of the expertise can be ensured only by two ingredients: polycontestuality and boundary crossing. In this perspective individuals need to act in different contexts and the systems need to create shared and strategic boundary objects and to promote boundary competences in those people who have the responsibility to create dialogue between systems. To conduct this research is used the mixed method (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007) as a way to gather as much as possible information about a complex phenomenon. The research foresees an exploratory stage with some onterviews for five people of different institutional contexts; a second stage will include interviews for responsible of school- work alternance programs and tutor, focus groups with school-committee and parents, an online questionnaire for students, interviews for some people responsible of the same system in foreign countries (France and Spain); the return of results to the schools: this last stage will include the sharing definition and vision of the model. The analyses of these practices will conduct to a definition of the italian school-work alternance model.