Title: On John Dewey’s Footprint: The Active School According to Rebeca Wild
Stream: Teaching Experiences, Pedagogy, Practice & Praxis
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Francesca Berti, Free University of Bolzano/Bozen, Italy
This paper explores the influence of Rebecca Wild's thinking in the Free Active Schools (Freie Aktive Schule) in Germany. The founder of the Pesta School in Pernabuco is, in fact, often mentioned as an inspirational figure, alongside Montessori, in Free Active Schools: around 150 independent schools brought together under the umbrella organisation "Freie Alternative Schule Verband".
The research involved the systematic analysis of the philosophy (Konzeption) underlying about 40 schools, together with 10 semi-structured interviews with children, teachers and parents in the Freie Aktive Schule Tübingen and Stuttgart.
The research has revealed that not only does Wild’s book Education for Being: Report on an Active School illustrate a step-by-step guide to the initial questions and the phases of the foundation of several of these schools, but more importantly, that many of its passages reflect the principles of the progressive school enunciated by John Dewey at the beginning of the century. The comparison between Dewey's writings and a description of a typical day in the Free Active Schools is striking, as it demonstrates how the principles of the progressive school education can be taken individually and adapted to very different contexts: the centrality of the child, lessons in the form of differentiated offerings, playful learning, cooperation in the classroom, peer-to-peer learning, week plans, outdoor projects, free play, etc.
This contribution ultimately attempts to offer a reflection on the idea that by starting from Wild's interpretation and Dewey's re-interpretation, an active and inclusive approach can also be triggered in public schooling.
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