Call for Papers – ETE – v. 7 n. 1 (2020) – Educating in Other Ways: «Alternative» Pedagogies and «Different» Schools in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century

Call for Papers

Deadline for the submission of originals: December 1, 2018

Special Issue (v. 7, n. 1, January-June 2020)


Educating in Other Ways: «Alternative» Pedagogies and «Different» Schools in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century


Guest Editor: Joaquim Pintassilgo (Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal)


Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the consolidation of the so-called «school form» of education naturalized a certain way of organizing different dimensions of school life, namely in terms of time, space, curriculum, pedagogical relation, educational practices or school rituals. This model has been criticized since its early days, particularly in the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. The «new schools» that were then developed sought to embody the search for partial or global alternatives to the so-called «traditional» school. Although with different characteristics regarding contexts and moments, this is a process that carried on throughout the twentieth century.

These «different» school experiences convey a great diversity of options. Among these we find Summerhill and, in general, the «democratic» and «libertarian» schools, the schools inspired by the Freinet pedagogy and by the Modern School Movements, and the Waldorf schools. But also experiences developed in public education such as the French «classes nouvelles» and, more recently, the so-called «schools of the future» inspired by digital technologies, or the movement for the renewal of Jesuit pedagogy which begun in Catalonia under the «Horizon 2020» project.

The similarities between the premises of the New Education and many of the current proposals are evident. This enables us to identify what we may call a «progressive» pedagogical tradition, a plural tradition that is capable of mutating. Among others, this tradition includes ideals such as differentiated and student-centered teaching, respect for individual development, active learning methods, an integral conception of education, cooperative and democratic organization of school life or educational practices through immersion in nature. Hybridism is also present in many of these experiences. They do not claim a unique source of inspiration but combine ideas and practices present in diverse currents with proposals that circulate in the pedagogical world, which are adopted and «recontextualized» in creative ways.

The long life of many of the features of today’s «alternative» pedagogies complicates the definition of a concept such as «innovation» in education, particularly concerning its ambiguous relation to the notion of «tradition». In this respect, it is important to highlight that there are no innovations outside a given context or a given temporality, and that it is not possible to copy or export «best practices». There are many ways of being a «different» school, all of which embody unique educational projects. It is also imperative, in our view, to reject the dichotomous views and slogans that are prevalent in the pedagogical field and in its debates, as well as to avoid the «sacralizing» of innovative experiences, even when we are engaged in the struggle for the «reinvention» of the school.

This monographic number of Espacio, Tiempo y Educación calls for contributions based on historiographical research that seek to reflect critically on the experiences of «alternative» pedagogies and «different» schools developed along the second half of the twentieth century (and still existing nowadays). And particularly contributions that pay attention to the way in which the ideas underlying those projects circulated internationally and were creatively appropriated in the various local contexts. It is important to recall that the theme «Educating in other ways» is inspired by the title of a remarkable work by the historian António Candeias about the most charismatic amongst the Portuguese «new schools» – Escola Oficina 1 in Lisbon.

  • «Innovation», «tradition» and «innovation traditions» in education: roots and mutations of innovative ideas in education.
  • A glance at the diverse world of «alternative pedagogies».
  • «Different schools»: census and case studies.
  • The plural heritage of a «progressive» pedagogy: repertoire of practices and materialities.
  • International circulation and local appropriations of innovative ideas: actors, networks and movements.