Accepted 24th July, 2014
This paper intends to suggest some guidelines to create new methods in teaching, but also to analyse what kind of outcomes can be obtained. Through participant observation, it has been found that results in learning can be achieved only if: the focus is on the student; the skills are planned through a rolling approach; there is a strong coordination among teachers, tutors and coordinators; Active Teaching and Learning by Doing are fully implemented. A new approach, defined “Units of Learning” (UoL), has been carried out, since September 2013, in a school for hair-dressers and beauticians in Bologna, managed by ECIPAR (institution for training, sponsored by the National Confederation of Crafts). UoL is a set of multi-disciplinary and coordinated activities, performed in a certain time, to get a cognitive an operative goal. In this school, it has been detected that UoL method has an influence on creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving, which are considered by OECD as essential 21st century skills, highly required by labour market. In fact, according to several entrepreneurs, the mere technical competences are not enough. Good hands are as important as good brains.
Keywords: Units of learning, skills, new methods