The Future of Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Construction of an Inclusive Learning Environment: Towards a New Ecological Class.

Silvio Bagnariol, Cà Foscari Venice University (Italy)


The Italian school inclusion and integration process still involves considerable troubles and difficulties: “Integration is not at issue, yet it is often unsatisfactory. “ (Ianes, 2011).

Junior high school and high school students with intellectual disability tend to take little part in the learning process or, even worse, to remain in a situation of separation most of the time (Canevaro, D’Alonzo & Ianes, 2007).

This two-group experimental study focused on six classes from a vocational high school.

The assumption was that a learning environment expressly designed (Montessori, 1952) to encourage “analogical” tools, processes and languages can effectively help all students – not only students with intellectual disability  - learn better and relate to each other.

The “ecological” approach (Vayer  &  Duval, 1992) started from a rearrangement of the traditional classroom, which was divided into different “learning environments”, specifically designed for staticness, movement, materials and new technologies. 

The “setting” of student tables and of the teacher’s desk - which is no longer an “active mediator” in high school (Damiano, 2013) - was rearranged in order to allow all students to play an active part in the learning experience.

Throughout a few weeks, the new learning environment based on the “capability approach” made it possible to set (Wenger, 2006) the specific analogical languages of that student with intellectual disability   – such as  images, pictures, charts, cards, drawings, videos, concept maps –  allowing the whole class to experience a laboratory learning training.

Cognitive tests proved that the experimental classes managed to develop better learning processes in specific cognitive domains. Furthermore sociometric test results, which were recorded in a few sociograms, showed an increase in popularity and involvement of the students with intellectual disability.



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