More time (and ideas) for a new school –

from Attilio Oliva and Antonino Petrolino

Instead of focusing attention on “teaching”, it would be necessary to focus on the mechanisms of “learning” in students, which are known to require interaction and involvement, even emotionally.

Lin school, in addition to teaching “reading and arithmetic”, it should promote the formation of open, curious and critical personalities, but also of citizens who are aware of their rights and duties;. But with mass education, we have reached the current school where everyone goes: thus, new challenges and new problems have arisen. An epoch-making revolution, unfortunately ruled by the ministry with teaching methods, teacher training, organization of times and spaces that are completely inadequate to achieve the goals set out above, taking into account a young population that is so very diverse in cultural and socio-economic conditions.

Unfortunately, this epoch-making challenge was answered with the criterion of “everything more”: more teachers, more principals, more caretakers, more disciplines, but basically with a centralized organizational model and with a traditional teaching method: transmissive lessons focusing on “teaching” in the face of significant inattention to the mechanisms of “learning” in students who notoriously require interaction and involvement, even emotionally.

But the school also had to deal with another era of revolution: the “outside school” environment which removed its educational monopoly thanks to a powerful hyper-penetrating “mass communication” system and certainly not inspired to favor educational purposes. What could be the answer to this type of school of the many less fortunate with socio-economic backgrounds of origin?

In terms of learning, the periodic international surveys of 15-year-olds from the OECD account for this, which always places us below the average of the 80 countries surveyed. In advanced countries, it is taken for granted that school systems need to worry not only to “instruct”, but also to “educate to live with others”which involves the integration of cognitive and non-cognitive knowledge and skills.

Here, too, the House has approved a bill to promote education that is also aware of development of invaluable “non-cognitive skills”: The ability to communicate and collaborate with others, to put oneself in the place of others, care for emotional intelligence, resilience … But this was ridiculed by a valued academic who instead believes that we should continue to “distribute the most diverse knowledge of young people, and then let the knowledge, the books read, the thoughts, the emotions born in the classroom in every hour of teaching, meet in each of their souls with its nature, its imagination, its soul and by fertilizing them give life to the thing called personality ».

It is also true that innovative training projects (and complementary to the disciplinary), if they want to influence personality data, must act indirectly and over a longer period. In our case, it would be necessary to radically change both the organization of “school time” and the training of teachers in order to practice them.

Unfortunately, the TreeLLLe Association (in “The Courage to Reconsider the School,” has confirmed that what seems normal to us (that the school generally closes its doors at 1 p.m.) is instead a major anomaly: in advanced countries it always continues in the afternoon.

Therefore, two key proposals plus a concrete proposal to initiate change:

1. move from a “short-term school” (today it is generally 30 hours a week over five / six days) ad a “long-term” school of 40 hours over 5 days (eight hours plus canteen);

2. a school with early entry of three years (in France this is already practiced) e “long time mandatory” for everyone from 3 to 14 (better to 16 years): It is precisely in the first years of life and then in adolescence that negative values ​​and prejudices that are not in line with our level of civilization can be consolidated.

And then from 14-16 to 19 years keep an offer of an “optional” long time.

For TreeLLLe, at least three hours a day of this long time should not be occupied by additional “lessons”, but by Training “activities” that involve students interacting with each other and with the responsible staff. To do what? From sound and visual arts to sports, from debates to role-plays, from voluntary activities to environmental care, so that young people can finally be offered the opportunity for self-expression and collaboration with others.

These non-disciplinary activities (therefore without grades) should be promoted by “reference adults”, selected by the autonomous schools for their training and disposition to accompany the personal, civil and social growth of young people. It will be good to think not only to available teachers, but also (and better) to other public, private and non-profit actors in the area to promote the flourishing of real educational communities and do not leave the school alone and closed as it is for the most part today.

When you think of the less affluent classes in the first place, it may not be preferable for young people to survive. a significant portion of their time in a safe and engaging school environment rather than on the streetwith video games or in environments (familiar and others) that are not very cultivated and often deprived?

An operational proposal: the ministry could experiment, before legislating, only with ad hoc funding for those schools that are most needed or suitable in their context and autonomy to request it. If demand increased, the school would gradually become ‘different’ with a bottom-up processthanks to the crucial contributions of motivated principals and teachers.

Chairman and Chairman of the TreeLLLe Association

15 July 2022 (change 15 July 2022 | 22:36)

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