New recruitment, even CIIM opposite: “It is wrong to get 60 points already with the three-year course. The basic basic education for teaching mathematics in school” [INTERVISTA]

The recruitment reform that the government has approved, and which will soon come to the Folketing, does not seem to have won the favor of many political forces, trade unions and industry associations. In recent days, the Italian Commission for Mathematics Education (CIIM) has been added, which criticized the planned system, especially as regards basic education.

To School horizon the president of the CIIM intervenes Maria Mellonewhich highlighted the critical issues of the Bianchi reform, as well as provided an overview of mathematics teaching in schools.

Recruitment reform devised by Minister Bianchi: what are the main criticisms?

The biggest criticism lies in the fact that the organic, laboratory and co-designed post-graduate school-university path to undergraduate education, which is shared by the competent ministers with many scientific societies, including ours, has become 60 points to be acquired . indefinitely, even from the three-year education. This single piece of news is devastating because it undermines the basis of the common and long-awaited idea – finally the introduction – of a serious teacher education pathway also in our country that is necessary to access the selections for permanent recruitment.

What negative consequences can there be of such a system?

Do not place post-graduate course (remember that the master’s degree is a necessary qualification to gain access to teaching), and even allow you to start it on the three-year, have no meaning or organization, and there is a risk that have many students who acquire these merits without then completing the education. Furthermore, it would be interesting to understand what the initial selection for access to the courses would consist of, in fact it should be clear how parallel courses (degree qualifications) would lead to scarce participation, where laboratory teaching and participatory teaching are desirable. It should be even clearer that one cannot speak effectively about the teaching of the discipline without first acquiring the basic principles of the discipline. In short, a sudden news is the progress of the road before the acquisition of the degree and its transformation into a kind of do-it-yourself acquisition of CFUs by students who alone make the hope of having, after more than 20 years, a serious course of initial teacher training also in our country, and will have the only effect, we are easy prophets, to favor the rise of the miserable phenomenon in the CFU market seen by 24 CFU. For this reason – and here I am addressing not only the competent ministers, but the President of the Council and Parliament for everything – I say: Please, if you do not want a serious course of initial post-graduate teacher training, stop, remove any. commitment to basic education. On the one hand, it would be more honest intellectually, on the other hand, it would certainly not encourage a deterioration of the educational aspects that we experienced for the 24 CFUs offered to those who one day have to use themselves for the value of education: future teachers.

We also have many uncertain mathematics and other scientific disciplines. Do you think that the path that the Minister has devised can help these teachers to stabilize quickly?

I think it is important to emphasize two aspects. On the one hand, that we must protect those whom the state, for one reason or another, has called for to keep the school boat afloat for a long time. It is therefore important to envisage effective transitional rules that take this problem into account and that can also offer concrete training courses to new permanent employees from channels of this type. On the other hand, to establish a principle for the future precisely based on this reform: Basic education is basic and is a tool for the future teacher. But this principle is not established by proclamations or only by imposing formal obligations, but by truly believing in initial formation and therefore by developing serious paths. And here we return to what was said in response to your first question. From what comes out of the Folketing, it will be understood whether the interest in basic education is just formal or significant, we really want to offer tools to help future teachers grow on the one hand, and seriously and jointly committed schools and universities on the one hand. second to develop training courses.

There has been a lot of talk about Stem Disciplines in recent years. But it all starts with teacher education. What specifically do you think should be done?

I am a mathematician, and in addition to being chairman of CIIM, I am involved in research with mathematics didactics: you can therefore imagine how important the goal of basic science education and quality education is for everyone. The significance of this goal has become particularly evident in the last two dramatic years that we have experienced: during the pandemic, mass communication made massive use of numerical data, tables, and graphs. Having the tools, the scientific competence, to interpret this data and the arguments based on them is one of the cognitive keys to being able to make responsible decisions. I am convinced that a specific basic education is essential to become a teacher in any discipline: a trained teacher is a teacher with more tools and therefore better. Just think of the qualitative leap that kindergarten and primary school take after the establishment of the Primary School Science courses: Here we experience the paradox that for the first school stages we have a five-year path that is taken to model also from other European countries, and for high school, there have been no specific paths for years. It is well known that difficulties in mathematics are widespread. It is perhaps less well known that didactic research has developed very important results and tools precisely in the context of difficulties in mathematics. Having a special basic education space in these matters for future teachers is of course crucial: to counter the rejection of mathematics and more generally of scientific rationality among young people (a phenomenon that often deprives young people of the opportunity to follow vocations, precisely because of fear in mathematics ), to discuss and contrast the gender gap in STEM subjects, to learn about tested and quality didactic disciplinary pathways, put them to the test, highlight their potential and any critical issues, and adapt them through an appropriate internship path.

Is there anything to change at the didactic level with regard to the form of teaching in mathematics and the scientific disciplines?

I will not talk about method in the singular: there are many teachers and many different approaches (thankfully). I point again to the importance of training (especially of the initial one), as there is so much to offer in terms of awareness, so a teacher has the greatest number of cognitive tools both to develop his teaching style and to critique it. develop it over time. For example, in my opinion it would be appropriate for a future teacher to be immediately aware of the resources that can be activated in the mathematics lessons – I am also thinking of the use of digital tools such as teaching software of various kinds (dynamic geometry, but also analog tools ) – as well as the idea of ​​a math lab already developed within the Mathematics for Citizen project, or even the many possible ways to evaluate within our discipline, and what each of these states can tell us and can not tell us about the student’s learning (the theme of assessment, and whether some diffuse difficulties on this, have exploded in all its strength during the pandemic, signaling critical problems that go far beyond the conditional aspect of distance). In short, a serious course in basic education can make a difference, I am extremely convinced. I do not think that our country and our young people – both students and future teachers – deserve another missed opportunity in this regard.

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