School is traditionally perceived as a place where information is exchanged, where teaching takes place, where learning takes place. But school is first and foremost the place where interpersonal relationships are woven between colleagues, between students, between teachers and pupils; and it is essential to recognise the most typical mechanisms of these relationships in order to know how to manage them. The Project “Cooperative Learning: Learning and Democracy” dwells in particular on the analysis of the dynamics that involve the figure of the teacher, clarifying the reasons for his or her sometimes lack of participation in classroom life and proposing a new professional model: with the Cooperative Learning approach, a new generation of teachers can be formed, more open to resolving the ever-increasing need for participation and collaboration among colleagues in order to achieve more ambitious teaching objectives. In the new participative school, in which teachers will collaborate with each other professionally in educational and organisational planning, those social skills that are neglected and never valued in the traditional school will finally be exalted, and among them, in particular, the skills of Leadership and Conflict Resolution.
This volume is the English version of the Research Report commissioned by the Autonomous Province of Trento to the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Trento, published in 2003 as n. 30 of the Quaderni del Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale. It is an important example of Action/Research conducted on a large group of Italian schools (32) and classes (98), for a total of 2644 pupils of various levels involved in the Project “Cooperative Learning: Learning and Democracy”, subjected to evaluation according to a design of experiments ‘only after’ through Input/Context, Process and Result measures.