Focus group transcript of a research study on the educational potential of a Portuguese Scouts organization
The Portuguese educational system aims at nurturing the holistic development of individuals and societal progress, surpassing the mere transmission of curriculum-based knowledge. While considerable advancements have been made, the need for ongoing innovation and equal educational opportunities remains evident, so as all children can have not only equal access to education, but also equal chances of success. This study investigates the largest Portuguese Scout movement, CNE, exploring its organizational and pedagogical approaches, potentially applicable in formal education settings. The research surveyed participants aged 18-22, having completed approximately 12 years in the Scout movement. Data collection via focus groups followed a semi-structured script, before a thorough content analysis was carried. Findings are organized as: Pedagogical organization in learning cycles; Patrol system; The four stages of the project method; Characterization of the Scout game and other learning process dimensions; Other competencies and values developed throughout the Scout learning course; Comparisons with formal education contexts. The discourse of participants strongly suggests the Scout movement's potential to inspire educational change, displaying consistent indicators of pedagogical innovation. The study advocates for further exploration of CNE's pedagogical functioning and its potential to serve as a model for formal education, as evidenced by the learners' reflections.