Creative Education
2014. Vol.5, No.2, 63-69
Published Online February 2014 in SciRes (
Changes in the Classroom: Accomplishments and Obstacles
of an Innovative Proposal in the View of Teachers
Letícia Portieri Monteiro , Ka tia Stoc co S mole
Mathema, São Paulo, Brazil
Received December 6th, 2013; revised January 6th, 2014; accepted January 13th, 2014
Copyright © 2014 Letícia Portieri Monteiro, Katia Stocco Smole. This is an open access article distributed under
the Creative Commons Attributio n Licen se, which p ermits u nrestrict ed u se, dis tributio n , and reprod uctio n in any
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Monteiro, Katia Stocco Smole. All Copyright © 2014 are guarded by law and by SCIRP as a guardian.
In 1999, the Judaic Education Council of Rio de Janeiro implemented the Educational Innovation Pro-
gram (EIP) in the Israeli schools of that city so as to meet the new trends in Brazilian education. The pre-
sent work was designed to evaluate the modifications taking place in the school environment as a result of
EIP implementation, a program whose core idea is to work on knowledge building from the Piagetian
perspective, active learning in Dewey’s conception, and multiple intelligences as presented by Gardner. In
order to assess the chosen program, we used a qualitative approach through semi-structured interviews
with the participants and observation of classrooms from the first to the fifth grade of elementary school.
The results of our study showed that from the implementation of the program, the professionals involved
were more motivated to search for information and update their knowledge so as to meet the differences
between students, using a diversity of strategies and dynamic activities which led to encouraging student
autonomy as regards their learning. The reported difficulties for the work to proceed were mainly about
the schoolwork timetable planned for both the project and the subjects, and teachers having to cover an
extensive curriculum, common to other Brazilian schools. In every innovative program, it is important for
the professionals involved in it to continually re-evaluate its development, searching for changes or alter-
natives as difficulties are encountered. The aim of the present paper is to report the main findings of this
research, as well as indicate the strengths and precautions to take in educational innovation proposals
whose primary focus is classroom innovation.
Keywords: Innovation; Multiple Intelligences; Active Learning; Teaching Methods; Curriculum
In most countries, education is today a national priority that,
according to historical characteristics, promotes reforms in
educational systems so as to make them more efficient and
equitable for the preparation of a new citizenship, where indi-
viduals can be able to face the technological revolution that is
occurring in the production process and its political, social and
ethical developments (Mello, 1998).
In recent years, there has been a growing trend of introducing
changes and innovations to the classroom and the educational
structure in general. The innovations in education encompass
different fields, ranging from the redefinition of educational
outcomes to the redesign of educators profile and, in particular,
the organization of educational spaces including the classroom.
Our main objective here is to describe the sorts of gains a
school has from implementing an innovative educational pro-
The educational systems of nowadays have as their main
goal to contribute for students to be active, caring, critical, and
democratic citizens. The teaching and learning that take place
in the classrooms represent one way of building meanings,
reinforcing and forming social interests, forms of power, of
experience, always with a cultural and political meaning. In any
effort to form this type of citizen, it is crucial to take into ac-
count the cultural content, as well as the teaching strategies, the
learning and the required evaluations to undertake such task.
Perhaps that’s why research into school institutions has lately
been increasing and aroused a lot of interest and concern. In
this sense, changes occurring in various parts of the world and
which are inspirational for educational projects in Brazil are
important as sources of research, as is the case of the Educa-
tional Innovation Program (EIP) developed in Israel, which is
the object of this work.
When the State of Israel was founded (1948), a complete and
functional system of education was already in place; neverthe-
less, right after the establishment of the State, the educational
system was faced with the huge challenge of integrating a great
number of children from over 70 different countries, some of
whom coming with their parents and others by themselves.
New teaching methods had to be developed in order to absorb
young people coming from different cultures within one single
school environment (Sechter, 2001). Among the innovations
that arose is the Educational Innovation Program (EIP), which
takes into account the heterogeneity of the clients to be reached
by it.
The State of Israel proposed to build an educational system
that influenced the character of society and the products of
education. For this reason and because of the varied back-
ground of the population, the national policy was from the start
based on the principle of the heterogeneity of the classes, in
both elementary and high schools. This policy was conceived
from the perceived need to improve the results attained by stu-
dents as a whole and to promote processes of social integration.
Within this concept, some educational programs have arisen,
which are still in place in Israel today. In the present work, we
will assess one of these programs, the EIP, which is targeted to
diversify education.
In the Brazilian model, the problem centers around the chal-
lenge of testing a program that has been successful in Israel,
cautioning, however, that the reasons in our reality lie on the
multiple abilities to be developed in elementary school students
(from first to sixth grade), abilities which are crucial for their
progress considering the individual differences that are so
present in the classrooms.
Education for Diversity
The basic assumption of the diversified approach, consider-
ing the existence of differences between students, leads to the
socializing concept of teaching, which aims to maintain the
most diverse educational processes in the heterogeneous class.
This class is conceived as being a social and organizational
context, which provides students with ample social contact and
an opportunity to improve their learning. The concept of hete-
rogeneous class points out not only the different paces of
learning but also a set of individuals who differ in several re-
spects: backgrounds, personal characteristics, learning styles,
tendencies, needs, wills, abilities, difficulties and other va-
Education for diversity suggests recognizing the existing he-
terogeneity in each class in all of its dimensions, as a starting
point for the plan and organization of teaching and learning,
and acting to create an environment that provides students with
possibilities of study and personal and social development,
taking into account their differences (Glubman & Yram, 1996).
Modern society is going through rapid and frequent changes
as result of the economic and technological developments. Be-
cause the school occupies a central place in society, it has be-
come an institution to where all expectations converge for
meeting these changes.
Within this new conception, the Council of Judaic Education
of Rio de Janeiro implemented the EIP in the Israeli schools of
the city in 1999, with the main aim of getting these schools
ready for preparing the citizens of the twenty-first century,
preserving their cultural and moral values. The education of
critical citizens requires their inclusion in a society in which
scientific and technological knowledge is increasingly valued.
This program is in agreement with the teaching reform that is
under way in Brazil, where the greatest innovation of the Law
of Guidelines and Bases is to prepare citizens, developing
competencies and skills, where the school must diversify its
methods, investing the contents with meaning, attempting to
teach how to learn and respecting individual differences. One of
the principles that also appear in the Law and that dramati cally
innovate the history of formal education is expressed in article
1: “education must be linked to the world of work and to social
practice”, and comes to stress the importance of implementing
the EIP.
The Importance o f the EIP for the Judaic
Schools in Brazil
According to article 1 of the Law of Guidelines and Bases of
National Education (Law 9.394):
Education encompasses the formative processes that de-
velop in family life, human relationships, at work, in edu-
cational and research institutions, social movements and
organizations of civil society, and in cultural manifesta-
tions (Brazil, 1996: p. 1)
Starting from this principle and in keeping with current
trends, the EIP intended to make changes to the school, under-
standing it as an organization and a totality. These changes
should occur in the pedagogical, methodological, social and
technological fields; in the field of organization and relation-
ships between people; and in the way of planning and making
The principles of the program are constructivist and also
humanistic, as they give priority to the transmission of values.
They are democratic and work in democratic schools which
accept to work this way. Work is based on the idea of diversity
in intelligence, learning, interest, pace, previous knowledge,
modalities of communication and organization of tasks. Each of
these characteristics should be identified by the teachers, in
themselves and in the students, so that they may lead the child
to recognize his/her own diversity and then be able to build a
work plan that meets these.
Most teachers of today are the result of a model of profes-
sional formation that demanded their paying attention to the
definition of goals and methods, failing to consider as their
mission the explicit selection of cultural contents.
According to the documents assessed in this program, the
role of the teacher has changed a lot. The teacher is no longer
the center of the class, neither the only source of information
for children, to become someone that accompanies processes of
search and selection of information. The teacher provides the
child with resources to organize himself/herself, still being the
one who transmits knowledge, but most of all helps the student
build his/her own formation. The teacher is a learning counselor,
someone whose primary task is no longer the lecture and who
takes over the role of tutor.
Education based on copy or mere transmission of knowledge
becomes pointless and begins to take as its primary strategy of
development the construction of knowledge through research,
work by one’s own, and continual update. In the present rate of
scientific and technological innovations, the ability to get pro-
fessionally updated is crucial all over the world. Taking these
aspects in consideration for implementing the program in
schools, it was important to promote the formation of teachers
who take part in the IEP. During this process, many profession-
als traveled to Israel to get to know the schools that adopted the
program. In Brazil, they discussed and studied the curriculum
and the methodology to be adopted. Continued education also
happens under the supervision of specialists who come to Rio
de Janeiro and through meetings in the school itself, with the
board of directors, coordination and teaching staff, where expe-
riences are exchanged.
In the educational institution under study, the Judaic culture
is part of the curriculum. According to Santomé (1998), a
democratic curriculum, one which respects the political, cultur-
al and linguistic diversity, has to offer the possibility that all of
the students understand the history, tradition and customs of
their own community. This means also getting to know those of
other peoples, in the context of a philosophy of respect, colla-
boration and solidarity.
In this work, we use the term curriculum in Gimeno Sa-
cristán’s sense (2000): a set of knowledge and learning expe-
riences offered to students that includes not only the list of
schools subjects that should be taught but also the way of orga-
nizing classes, the organization and management of time, the
selection of materials and resources for the teaching and learn-
ing process, the forms of control and monitoring of students,
the values preserved and lived daily at schoolultimately, the
whole way of school life.
Educational Innovations
In schooling, the history of innovations always appears
linked to ideological, social and economic issues. Any innova-
tion depends on the global context in which it arises, who are
its promoters, the impact and extension that it acquires.
Hernández (2000) states that the innovations that had the great-
est impact were those that gave an alternative response to the
needs of the school or society and thus remained at the culture
of the school and favored the quality of teaching and the dif-
ferent educational systems.
In the mid-sixties, talking about innovations was already part
of the pedagogical discourse and school culture. In the US, this
period was marked by the proliferation of innovation in educa-
tion and as an attempt to solve the social problems that were
Innovations are usually produced by some external pressure
(educational reform), by the will or desire to change of a group
or institution. That was the case, for example, of the Projects of
work that emerged in 1983 in Spain, from the need felt by ele-
mentary school teachers for going deeper into the theory and
practice of globalization.
An Innovative Proposal
A school that is focused on learning should be a place where
children learn to study, learn to work. At present, children do
not learn to study and work much. This is a problem that can be
seen in south Europe countries, in Portuguese, Italian, Greek
Schools, in part of the French schools, and also in South Amer-
ica, differently from what is seen in northern Europe countries,
where schools are quite focused on learning to study, auto-
nomous work, in groups and collaborative work. It is crucial to
have these tools, especially when we consider the importance of
learning throughout life (Nóvoa, 2013)
Within this new tendency, the EIP can be considered an in-
novative project because it counters the traditional models of
education, i.e., instead of being centered on the educator and
knowledge, it is centered on the learner and life. The conven-
tional methods are not merely replaced by others. What is re-
thought is the purpose of education, putting it at the service of
Depending on the culture of a school, an innovation project
will be welcomed or meet hostility, suspicion or openness.
Culture is represented by how people involved in this project
appropriate themselves of information coming from the outside
and assimilate it; how they interpret what happens in school life;
the interventions of parents and principals; the research data, as
well as any idea or suggestion circulated within the school.
According to Thurler (2001), each school responds diffe-
rently to innovative ideas and educational system reforms ac-
cording to its priorities and its definition of a “good school”.
Innovation projects force teachers to question their practices,
perhaps leading to some destabilization which will have differ-
ent consequences, depending on how innovative ideas fit in the
established culture. According to this context, teachers are more
or less likely to submit themselves to authority.
Generally speaking, researchers studying educational inno-
vations are concerned with how these are planned and imple-
mented and if there was a real process of change. Every inno-
vative idea will be justified only if it contributes to better meet
the established purposes and guarantee efficiency of the educa-
tional system.
Educational innovation is closely related to the quality of
teaching, and that is what encouraged us to perform this study
to get to know how teachers put this innovative program in
The Educational Innovation Program
The EIP has an educational view that acknowledges the ex-
istence of differences between students and believes that the
role of the school is to meet these differences by adapting the
educational environment to the students’ needs and to the aims
of the study plan. In this approach, students should be placed at
the center of the educational process, so that they can pace their
own study and development and be offered pedagogical, cul-
tural and personal aims that are consistent with their possibili-
ties, penchants and needs, through active participation in the
process and guaranteeing their progress as both an individual
and a group member.
The ideological roots of the EIP can be found in the Judaic
tradition and other old traditions dealing with the position of
student and teacher. The idea “Teach young people according
to their nature” is part of the theory of educational philosophy,
cognitive psychology and humanistic psychology.
The guiding principle of education for diversity is that of
reaching a maximum goodness of fit between the individual
student, as a part of the group, and the learning environment, so
that he/she will be able to progress and develop his/her poten-
The central ideal that guided the concept of this teaching was
the acknowledgment that the role and obligation of the school is
to create an environment that offers each student opportunities
for success and growth, in both the academic and social/erson-
In order to meet the goals of the EIP, a variety of flexible
teaching and learning strategies were created that included the
organization of a rich pedagogical environment favoring the
various teaching and learning processes, through the cultivation
of a new pedagogical and social school culture. This pedagogi-
cal environment promotes the flexibility of a study program
that contains the differentiation of common objectives to the
totality of students and personal objectives appropriate to each
individual student; the progress of personal and group teaching
and learning processes must fit the possibilities, trends and
preferences of the students; the use of a wide variety of tech-
niques, methods and resources; flexibility of study time and
learning scopes, as well as development of criteria and tools of
evaluation about the personal progress of the student and
his/her collaboration in the different processes.
The diversified teaching and learning strategies used in the
EIP, also referred to as diversified work, can be presented via
individual, group or whole-class activities. Sometimes the di-
rection of the activities is determined by the teacher, but other
times the student chooses which activities he/she wants to per-
form. These works can take place in the classroom or in other
school spaces, such as library, computer room or sciences la-
Diversified work allows the teacher to follow the students
according to their learning pace, giving them a more persona-
lized attention and suggesting other possibilities both to those
that learn more rapidly and those who need more time to learn.
In this way, possibilities of different times for learning are pro-
These changes demanded others which were associated with
them. Assessments, for example, must be performed at different
stages: as diagnosis, before the study; as monitoring during
learning; and as comprehensive evaluation after some period in
which the teacher considers that learning already took place.
Both teacher and student participate in this process, as the latter
may follow these steps through observation records and self-
evaluation questionnaires. The assessment tools are various,
such as activities in class, observation, conversations, games,
portfolios, tests and others.
Assessment, as well as activities planning, should be done
taking in consideration the learning level and personal rhythm
of the student, the basic aims of the curriculum, and the norma-
tive outcomes to be attained. Diversified teaching places great
importance on student assessment about his/her personal ability
and pace of learning. This allows learning the extent to which
the student learned the studied content and how effective was
the adaptation of the teaching and learning to his/her needs.
The teacher is required to integrate sectors of knowledge, of
knowledge about the student and study processes, means, me-
thods and teaching resources. The suggested innovations for
education for diversity demand qualitative changes that include
attitudes, aptitudes, and a variety of pedagogical and didactical
means by the teachers.
Some changes were necessary before implementing the EIP
in the Judaic schools of Rio de Janeiro, such as: renovate the
classrooms, creating an environment that is adequate for the
activities required by the program; train teachers—with many
of them traveling to Israel to know the schools using the pro-
gram and take an updating course, and continuing to be en-
couraged by the presence of consultants who come to Rio de
Janeiro to offer support; and extend students’ time of perma-
nence at the school, which then became full time.
To perform innovative programs, one has to count on profes-
sionals that face the challenges of innovation, with a profile
defined by four parameters: self-confidence, independence,
research spirit, and cosmopolitan view (Moulin, 1988).
For this reach, teachers’ training in general and specifically
for working in the EIP should be targeted to the development of
this profile, something which does not always occur adequately,
because, according to that author, the strategies of change are as
a rule “manipulative” and “controlling”, without consideration
of context variables, in which interests and values may be con-
flicting and hinder the aims of this type of program.
On the other hand, as the “backbone” of the program is ac-
cepting and working on the diversities present in the classroom,
we have to consider that teachers will also show individual
differences t h at may have a positiv e ef f ect on the new dynami cs ,
as long as the proposed aims are respected.
The central idea of this program is to work on the concepts of
active learning and multiple intelligences, as viewed by Piaget,
Dewey and Gardner.
Multiple Intelligences and Individual Differences
Considering that intelligences are multiple, Howard Gard-
ner’s research about the development of human cognitive abili-
ties generated a refreshing pragmatic definition of intelligence,
stated as follows:
The ability to solve real life problems;
The ability to generate new problems to be solved;
The ability to do something or offer a service that is valued
in one’s own culture.
Gardner’s definition (1995) of human intelligence highlights
the multicultural nature of his theory. According to this author,
intelligences are languages that, in part, suffer the influence of
the culture the person was born in. They are tools for learning,
problem solving and creativity that all humans can use.
From Gardner’s perspective, the core of the Multiple Intelli-
gences theory for education is to respect the many differences
between people, the multiple variations in their ways of learn-
ing, and the various means by which they can be evaluated.
Taking the concept of multiple intelligences as a basis, it is
possible to envision a different school education, where a plu-
ralistic view of the mind differentiates between many diverse
facets of cognition, acknowledging that people have differen-
tiated cognitive strengths and contrasting learning styles.
Schools that consider Gardner’s theory, as is the case of
schools adopting the EIP, recognize that children of various
ages or stages have different needs, perceive cultural informa-
tion differently, and assimilate notions and concepts from dif-
ferent motivational and cognitive structures, and that the type of
educational project that a school intends to use should consider
these factors of development.
With regard to providing elements about how to deal with the
differences between the students, the Multiple Intelligences
theory open the doors for a wide variety of teaching strategies,
which often are innovative (Smole, 2000).
According to Armstrong (2001), this theory warns that there
is no set of strategies that always works best for all students.
Every child has different inclinations in the eight types of intel-
ligence, so that any particular strategy will likely be successful
with a group of students and not so successful with others. A
teacher devising teaching strategies based on multiple intelli-
gences makes the students interact differently, such as in pairs,
small groups or larger groups, and sets apart some time for
individual self-reflection. In the EIP, these aspects are founda-
tions for organizing schoolwork.
Active Learning Man ages the Program
As another core idea of the EIP, the active school proposes
learning through personal activity of the student. It transfers the
control of the learning process from the teacher to the students,
and it’s up to the latter to plan and pursue their own learning
objectives and select the resources that best fit their needs.
Active learning is one that is constructed by learners from
their interaction with sociocultural contents, requiring also ac-
tive teaching. The educator, in working with their learners,
should be careful to propose contents and activities that allow
learning by action.
The EIP experience, introduced from the first to the fifth
grade of elementary school, follows the principles of active
learning redefining the aims of education, contents transmission,
role of the teacher and classroom organization. In this view, the
fact that children differ in their physical, psychomotor and cog-
nitive development is respected; that is, every child has specific
The ideas that underpin these modifications are governed by
major educational and psychological theories and social educa-
tional theories, such as Dewey’s (1976).
Dewey’s thinking consists in his attempt to connect the no-
tion of individual and social (cooperative) intelligence to the
discourse of democracy and freedom. According to this author,
one of the advantages of getting this freedom is that it favors
the conditions of the learning process. For this to happen, and
despite the fact that students constitute a general group, the
teacher should consider every child individually, as no two
cases are exactly the same. Uniformity in teaching generates
immobility which ends up in disregard for individual tenden-
Dewey’s view of the classroom as a microcosm of society is
an instructional system based on techniques that are similar to
the multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1987). Many alternative
educational models of today are essentially systems of multiple
intelligences, and these include the active learning that supports
the EIP.
For Gardner (1995), the ideal school is one which takes into
account that people do not have the same interests and abilities,
meaning that not everyone learn the same way. This model of
school must also consider that no one is able to learn everything
that is there to be learned, for nowadays the ideal of learning
“everything” is no longer possible. This author highlights the
importance of an individual-centered education, in which the
aim should be to build education around each child’s specific
potentialities and inclinations.
Research Des ign
From the theoretical framework, the survey and subsequent
data analysis were based on a qualitative method which, ac-
cording to Alves-Mazzoti and Gewandsznajder (2001), is cha-
racterized by an emphasis on subjects, giving priority to their
perceptions, and an emphasis on the role of science as trans-
former of reality, considering that the researcher’s values are
present throughout the process of investigation, since the analy-
sis and interpretation of the process of knowledge production
and transformation are part of the present context in which we
live and do research.
According to Lüdke and André (1986), qualitative research is
characterized by having the natural environment as direct
source of data and the researcher as main instrument for data
collection. Another characteristic mentioned by the authors is
the fact that such research is concerned with the process rather
than the product, guaranteeing the confirmation or not of the
initial hypotheses of the study.
To assess this program, three techniques were used for data
collection: documental analysis, interviews, and participant
Documental Analysis
Documental analysis was used to complement the other data
collection techniques that will be described further below.
Documents can be considered a rich and stable source for re-
search, where evidence can be collected to support the re-
searcher’s observations.
In the present work, a bibliographical research was carried
out into the origins of the EIP in Israel, in documents that are in
the Órgão de Educação Judaica of Rio de Janeiro (Vaad-
achinuch), as well as a bibliographical review based on the
theoretical framework.
Observation has to be controlled and systematic if the in-
strument is to be valid and truthful during research. It allows a
personal, close contact with the phenomenon investigated
(Lüdke & André, 1986).
Denzin (1978) describes participant observation as a field
strategy that simultaneously combines documental analysis,
interviews with actors involved, participation and direct obser-
vation. In participant observation, the researcher interacts di-
rectly with the subjects, becoming a part of the setting in which
the study is being conducted, taking part in the everyday lives
of the actors involved, and gaining greater insight into the situ-
ations lived by the subjects involved in the research.
For the EIP analysis, observations of the classes were per-
formed focusing on teachers’ work practices and children’s
autonomy in doing assignments. This instrument allows to
identify unintentional or unconscious behaviors and explore
topics that teachers do not feel comfortable to discuss. Also, by
means of observations, teacher and student behavior can be
recorded in their temporal-spatial con text.
At first we intended to perform free observations, but we rea-
lized that during our presence in the classroom teachers talked
with us to explain the work they were developing and, at the
end of class, we also looked for them to have informal conver-
sations. With this, we started to perform participant observation
in order to describe and understand non-predetermined beha-
viors occurring on a daily basis. Observations were performed
in first to fifth grade classes of elementary school from March
to August, 2003.
Before we began our observations, all the research aims were
explained to the teachers involved in it, including the times in
which we would be in the classrooms. In average, four observa-
tions were performed per class.
In each of the classes from the first to the fourth grade, ob-
servation was performed at the times of common nucleus (when
topics related to mathematics, Portuguese, science and social
studies are addressed), which is taught by one and the same
From the 5th grade on, the cited subjects are taught by spe-
cific teachers for each of them, which made observation work
longer in this grade.
The interviews complemented and brought a new focus on
the impressions obtained through participant observation, as
well as providing interaction and immediate and current cap-
turing of the information sought (Lüdke & André, 1986).
For validation of interview scripts, a pre-test was adminis-
tered in another Judaic school where EIP was adopted too, in
order to assess the questions and make any changes thought to
be needed.
With scripts reviewed, semi-structured interviews were con-
ducted in which the interviewees answered specific questions,
taking in consideration their own words. Since the focus of
research is to make an analysis of the EIP, interviews with
teachers and managers were conducted in order to evaluate how
the school measured the program.
For interpretation of these data, categories of analysis (cate-
gorization) based on Laurence Bardin (1977) were created.
Categorization is an operation of classifying the constitutive
elements of a set, by differentiation and re-grouping according
to gender, with previously defined criteria. Categories are
classes that gather a group of elements under a generic heading,
a grouping that is performed because of the common features of
these elements. Categorization comprised two steps:
Inventory: isolating the elements;
Classification: sorting out the elements and search for a
certain organization for the messages.
General Data Anal ysis and the Evidentiary Paradigm
Our intent in analyzing all of the research instruments was to
search for evidence of approximation to the answers of our
questions, as well as confirmation or refutation of our hypo-
Here we use the term evidence because we think that in a
Master level research, our data and reflections are not sufficient
to provide definitive answers for questions as complex as those
we decided to investigate.
Our interpretation related to the reading of evidence was
based on historian Carlo Ginzburg (1991), who assumes for an
evaluator, whatever his/her field of action, the ability not to
stick only to the most striking features of a phenomenon or
object of observation, but also the examination of details, of
data that would marginal, less expressive to understand it. A
recognition of minutiae is assumed, the perception of a reality
that is not readily perceptible, the search for clues which allow
to capture deeper information and interpret and diagnose it.
For the author, this should be a “conjectural” paradigm that
is related to an interpretive method, in which seemingly irrele-
vant details without any importance are forms of access to a
certain reality. These details may provide the path towards
networks of deeper, otherwise inaccessible, meanings.
Ginzburg (1991) asserts that an attitude of reading the evi-
dence on the part of the researcher demands an attitude oriented
to the analysis of symptoms, of clues, of evidence that allow to
reconstruct the history of what we observe and allow the analy-
sis of more individual cases. For the author, only through care-
ful observation and records is it possible to develop accurate
The analysis of the Educational Innovation Program, consi-
dering the theoretical picture and the data obtained in field
work, allowed the questions of this study to be effectively ans-
wered, identifying a few relevant factors as regards the pro-
posed method.
We highlight that this program showed as main characteris-
tics an innovation of the learning model, centered on the stu-
dent, with the use of diversified strategies, which consider indi-
vidual differences and encourage student participation, even by
proposing extra-curricular topics, yet of interest for their ample
formation and development, by means of socialization of in-
According to the authors reviewed, the relationships that
emerge in the classroom transform the participating subjects of
the process, generating collective benefits, which make educa-
tion one of the main pillars of long-range social changes.
The so-called “alternative models of education”, which draw
on innovative methods and techniques, have along their evolu-
tion encountered some structural and conjectural resistances,
very often without having been given the necessary pedagogical
support as regards the elements stated for such contrary argu-
ments. We understand that only through support to systematic
research on the subject and with the necessary adaptations to
the proposed methods can new conceptions be secured, whether
favorable or not to these methods.
As regarding the difficulties implementing the EIP, we can
point out the need to reorganize the structure of the school
timetable, since the method has been applied only once a week
owing to the impossibility of continuous class times.
Another issue that hinders this type of work is teachers hav-
ing to cover an extensive curricular program, thus preventing a
more in-depth study of some topics, mainly those that are in-
novative relative to the initial scheme presented, with the first
grade allowing more possibilities for this development, as the
curriculum is less extensive than in the other grades. The sub-
jects of Portuguese Language and Mathematics have more clas s
hours and thus allow greater adaptation to the program.
Concerning the contribution of the program to the school, we
noticed that teachers who were present since the beginning of
the implementation had incorporated the changes. From this
assimilation, teacher evaluation of the program and its compar-
ison with other learning methods enrich the process and may
eventually allow an effective implementation with the neces-
sary adjustments. Teacher work, from the knowledge and re-
presentations of the students, exerting the role of supervisor,
brings new conceptions based on the model proposed in this
As a relevant factor, we observed that the diversified activi-
ties not only allowed the development of autonomy, but also
facilitated attending to children with higher levels of learning
difficulties, developing solidarity and cooperation among
themselves, promoting the integration and formation of work
teams, thus strengthening the levels of socialization and affec-
tivity, which give full sense to the themes worked and the
projects to be developed.
Another step that the school has been taking is the adaptation
of the evaluation system to the program, implementing more
elastic and malleable models with the use of other instruments
besides the formal test. These include levels of participation
and interest, but these qualitative criteria are converted into
The classrooms where the program is developed are quite
different from the other ones: the walls are creative, books and
games are available for the children, with exhibits of works
done; there is a sense of participation and humanization. The
students move during class to work in teams, interacting with
the other groups, perhaps searching for information or materials
on the school premises, outside their classroom, for example, in
the library.
Student autonomy is encouraged and regulated by the teacher
in an open and participatory way. One senses that the program
has become a challenge for the school and its teachers, in the
search for a pedagogical model focused on the formation of
individuals more prepared to interact in society. However, it
should be noted that this research is not exhaustive, making it
necessary to follow and deepen the proposal along a period of
its application so that some of the aspects identified here can be
consolidated or improved.
Many were the lessons lea rned from this asse ssment, includ-
ing the importance of variety in the teaching strategies used to
make students learn; the reaction of the teaching staff and stu-
dents to an innovation program; how innovation can change the
daily life of a school; and the necessary structure to propose,
develop and see the results of a program like the one we as-
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