“Responding to the needs of pupils and of contemporary society in a creative way. An optimistic educational experiment.”
Is it a utopian pursuit to search for a school that, alongside the pressing needs of our time, manages to respect and take into account the human needs of both pupils and teachers? Would it be seen as chimeric to search for a school that would consider all the years teachers and students spend teaching and learning, as truly precious years when children and adults alike deserve to have a good time, experiment, learn and be creative? Is it unreasonable to search for a school with witch students and teachers can identify and consider theirs?
This paper attempted to answer all these questions in the negative through presenting the philosophy, the goals, the methodology and the results of the research programme «When Robinson Crusoe met Harry Potter …» organised by the University of Athens (Department of Primary Education), and implemented successfully in 37 classes across 25 primary schools of the Attica region, with the participation of 849 students and 44 teachers during the school year 2005-2006.
The programme “When Robinson Crusoe met Harry Potter” was based on the principles of Empirical – Communicative Teaching and the Reader-Response Theories and its basic educational targets were
• the promotion of reading,
• the acquaintance of the children with the basic methodologies and tools of empirical research
• the improvement and cultivation of a range of skills critical both for school and extracurricular life.
The programme was designed to satisfy not only a wide range of educational and learning objectives, but also the psychological and social needs
• of the twelve-year old children going through the transition period between childhood and adolescence,
• and those of the teachers who very often suffocate in the narrow boundaries of government educational directives and are eager to explore new ways to lead their students to knowledge via a more active, more pleasant, more creative and more democratic process.