There have been deep changes in societies during the last decade. As a result, schools face new challenges, such as avoiding exclusion by promoting inclusion. In this paper, we present the findings of our efforts to use collaborative work as a mediation tool in order to achieve more inclusive learning settings. This work starts with the assumption that learning should be seen as a communicative process. This builds on the ideas of Vygotsky, who stressed the importance of social interactions in the development of complex functions and of working in the zone of proximal development in order to promote children’s development. The study used a critical and ethnographic approach and thus peer interactions were implemented as a daily practice. Data were collected through participant observation (audio and videotaped), questionnaires, tasks inspired in projective techniques, interviews, reports, and sets of materials gathered by the teachers. The findings illuminate the role of collaboration in facilitating more positive attitudes towards academic learning and mathematics, promoting students’ socialization, their socio-cognitive and affective development, and their school achievement.
Research Professor. Director at Learning Change Project – Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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