20 SES 02, From International to Multicultural Classrooms Experiences
In the last decades the population in Italian classrooms has become increasing more multicultural. Even if the law guarantees to all students the access to school, the gap between Italian students and migrant ones is becoming more and more evident in the results of national surveys in Italian Language and Mathematics and in the high dropout rates. In wide spectrum of Italian research studies, to date, a great deal of attention has been focussed on integration processes and on the subject of interculturalism. Relatively little, however, has been dedicated to specifically didactic and disciplinary matters.
A preliminary investigation was carried out to highlight the main difficulties faced in mathematics by these students, particularly related to problem solving and critical thinking. The research aimed therefore to the development and testing of an educational intervention that, taking into account cultural and linguistic differences, aims at strengthening the aforementioned skills.
The interventation was tested in an experimental research design with a control group. The sample comprises 453 fourth and fifth graders. The intervention took place once a week, for twenty sessions of two hours. Activities comprising the intervention aim to reinforce problem solving by developing cognitive processes like (Coggi, 2015); encourage comprehension, representation, categorization, planning, monitoring, identification of multiple solution strategies; develop argumentative skills, both as a strategy for communicating knowledge and also for the purposes of self-clarification (Boero et al. 2008). For this purpose, both quantitative and qualitative analysis was conducted (pre-post-test specifically constructed, video recordings, interviews with teachers).
Results showed that argumentation in multicultural classes can become the moment in which it’s possible to share different reasoning and solving strategies and to enable critical thinking, in order to constitute an enrichment for all, Italians and immigrants.
Boero, P., Douek, N., & Ferrari, P. L. (2008). Developing mastery of natural language. Handbook of international research in mathematics education, 262. Coggi, C. (2015). Enhancing school success. The Fenix Program, Lecce, Pensa Multimedia. Wren, D., & Cashwell, A. (2018). Mission Possible: Measuring Critical Thinking and Problem Solving. Educational Leadership, 75(5), 70-75.
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