Implementation Process Of An Approach To Teach Mathematics In Elementary School

Crescentini, Alberto and Castelli, Luciana and Ragazzi, Serena (2012) Implementation Process Of An Approach To Teach Mathematics In Elementary School. In: Abstract book 3rd International Conference on Education & Educational Psychology, 10-13 October 2012, Istanbul.

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In 1987 a teacher working in school for child with special needs in Ticino (the Italian Speaking part of Switzerland) started an experiment about how to teach mathematics to his students. He worked in the main stream of socio-constructivism with the aim to help children in becoming autonomous. In 1991 he proposed to try his approach in primary school. His proposal has been accepted and this approach has been disseminated for 20 year in most of the Ticino primary schools. Nowadays it is hard to figure out who is using these methods and how it is used. Purpose of Study: In 2010 we started to analyze the process of dissemination and the shared perception of the methods. the theoretical framework refers to the works of Cousins and Leitwood (1986) and of Johnson et al.( 2009). Evaluating an innovation that is mostly already implemented has some specificities and problems that can’t be ignored (Stame, 1990) Research Methods: We have used different techniques to collect data. Firstly, we have collected and analyzed all the official documents about this implementation (contracts, communication) and all the books and articles written on this method. Secondly, we have observed some teachers (6) working with this methodology. Thirdly, we have interviewed all the subjects that have covered a decisional role on this implementation. Fourthly, we have conducted focus group with those teachers that managed the project. Fifthly, we have administered a questionnaire to all the teachers of Ticino, in order to figure out the actual diffusion of the approach and teachers’ perception about it. Conclusions: The diffusion of the methods and the opposition to it, seem to be connected more to the communication of whom is carrying the innovation, than to an evaluation of the costs&benefits ratio related to the approach. On one side the high level of personal involvement of those who promoted the innovation had driven other subjects to overlap promoters and the innovation itself (with positive and negative connection); on the other side, this involvement made promoting subjects to spend much energy in order to make the innovation effective.

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