Towards a Big History Model for Italian Schools The Convergence of Knowledge from Many Disciplines

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Adalberto Codetta Raiteri
Marina Porta
Giovanni Grieco
Renza Cambini

Abstract

To quote the psychologist Jerome Bruner, “Schooling is only one small part of how culture inducts the young into its canonical ways.” This “small part” has become much smaller in recent decades. In fact, scholastic curriculum has embraced only a small part of the enormous and complex changes that scientific and technological research has generated in everyday life and in the way people view the world. A new culture is now spreading through a multiplicity of media forms that scholastic institutions have struggled to catch on to and understand. The formation of global citizens is an emerging problem. OPPI is a small teacher training institute that for more than 50 years, in cooperation with schools and universities, has been keeping teachers aware that technological innovations are changing people’s consciousness and that education must adapt to these changes. OPPI has identified Big History as an important means to adapt scholastic instruction to youths’ consciousness and has begun to study how to implement it. Its activities begin with a questionnaire investigating the spontaneous ideas that students have acquired about the universe, not only from previous school studies, but also from social networks, the media, and their family environment. Discussion of this questionnaire is the main topic of this article. The second topic concerns the presentation of an intervention model, which is planned for students ages 16–18 and their teachers.

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