The Fenix Project: Empowerment Strategies and Cognitive Development for Children Living in Depressed Contexts
Marco D. Tonon
Contributor(s)Cheah Ui Hock
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AbstractChildren’s accomplishments in compulsory education may be influenced by several factors, among which are their life conditions during their early childhood. Socially disadvantaged children exhibit hard delays in developing both cognitive abilities and self maturity, also in affective relations. In these cases an early diagnosis will allow to develop corrective actions leveraging a complex model that increases opportunities for challenged children. Traditional didactic strategies are inadequate to face the increasingly differential needs of the children, as well as to sustain their very labile motivation to learn, to help acquiring competences and working autonomously/collaboratively. The FENIX project (sponsored in 2008-2009 by an important Italian bank foundation – CRT) was aimed at both developing and experimenting innovative didactics settings (possibly activating practical laboratories), which significantly employ new technologies (such as didactic software, on-line didactic environments, videogames, etc), in order to (a) line-up cognitive disadvantages, (b) develop/improve the motivation to learn, and (c) strengthen relevant basic concepts such as the mathematical-scientific ones. The effectiveness of the project has been (and is still being) verified in primary schools both in Italy (Torino city-area) and in Brazil (Salvador de Bahia, Espirito Santo state) in order to compare different social/cultural contexts.