so you learn to keep your eyes open

BUCHAREST – The end of the school year is approaching with June and also here, at the “Aldo Moro” school in Bucharest, it is a must to summarize the progress made in recent months. For me, who after a long time started teaching again, it was a really meaningful experience so much that the results are tangible.

Among the numerous suggestions aimed at children areweekly fiction hour it was perhaps the most inspiring.

I state that throughout my career as a teacher I have always privileged this space, which gives it a very pedagogical value. From the first years of work I had devised the structure of this hour in a very simple form: I read and the kids listened. There were two rules to respect: no student could dispose of the book that only I was tasked with “managing”; no student could interrupt the “magic” by reading, except to ask about the meaning of a word he did not know until then. I have never thought of requiring students to fill out forms with predefined activities or worse, to make an overview of the contents of the book being read. That hour was supposed to represent pure “pleasure.” Each was then called to check if it really was the promise had been kept: that reading could be considered a serious adventure, and that starting a book was like crossing the border into an immaculate territory where one could penetrate with curiosity and desire. It is forbidden to miss the deal!

It is true that the lack of love for reading over the years has grown exponentially, thanks to the spread of technology; so the books, along with the paper, have lost their ancient charm. When I was little, reading was considered a ritual: the book was touched, smelled, flipped through, one was amazed at the figures and drawings that were spread out on the pages and all destined to stimulate the reader’s imagination and imagination.

It may seem incredible, but this year something similar happened in my class: I think reading was a “free” experience. The choice fell on two texts that fit perfectly into a sixth grade. In the fall months, he accompanied us Dino Buzzati with The famous invasion of the bears in Sicily, a well-known fairy tale that tells of the war between the Grand Duke of Sicily and King Leonzio, the king of bears. With the next option they The lion, the witch and the wardrobethe English writer CS Lewis has been able to transport us into the enchanted world of the imagination.

If it is true that education is a risk, I myself was in this case able to rediscover it: why, I asked myself, did you decide to read these books? What assumptions do you intend to test when reading in class? Where will you take your students without necessarily forcing them to look at what you have already seen, but rather be surprised at what they will be able to see?

With these questions and a bit of anxiety, we set off …

And then by participating in the bears’ adventures, we discovered together how harmful it is to hide behind prejudice. Each page of the book duly documented this: if in the first chapters, by virtue of the prejudice that humans nurtured towards bears, the latter were the designated victims, as events progressed, the roles were gradually overturned, and it was the bear peoples, who won power, he took a prejudiced approach to reality. Finding similar positions in the classroom, in the relationship between classmates and being able to recognize and judge them together was an opportunity for further enrichment.

Even Lewis’ book has not failed expectations: Challenging the dominant mentality about the use of reason is a risk to be taken sooner or later. The two dialogues that – at the opening and at the end of the book – entertain the professor with the four young protagonists of the story, were a valuable clue to realize how even the world of fantasy can fully concern us: the Narnia kingdom that exists beyond the wardrobe represents the boundless horizon of one’s heart: after discovering it for the first time, it will happen, one day, to return to it: “Do not try to go there on purpose – recommends the professor – you will return when you least expect it. Do not talk too much about it even among the four of you; do not tell anyone else unless you happen to meet those who have had adventures similar to yours. How will you recognize them? You will understand it right away and the secret will come out by itself. Keep your eyes open! “.

So keep your eyes wide open: an indication of the method we know. Who knows if we, by maintaining this attention, will one day be able to put ourselves in the position of “following” the students, to the point of “noting” about them what unpredictably makes us jump.

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