Another school year is over. Last May, Ansa published the news that 51% of 15-year-olds do not understand what they read.
by Anna La Mattina
“Implicit school dropout, that is, the inability of a 15-year-old boy to understand the meaning of a written text, is 51%”, this is the debut of the Ansa.it Agency, the past May 22. After two years of pandemic and DAD, we all agree that this was a serious problem, which added to what pre-existed in the Italian school: the abandonment of the “old” school of “programs”, which has formed a ruling class, which is now retiring, without guaranteeing a proper rotation: in no sector, except in computer science and high technology, new sectors, guarantors of the new neoliberal market and its technocrats, incumbents, along with high finance , of world political power.
That being said, if the situation is what the statistical survey reported here represents, one has to wonder why. At a certain point in history, the course of the history of the Italian school changes: thanks to “school autonomy”, the school becomes like a company, with principals instead of principals, with the concern of confiscating the students, because otherwise, the “unproductive” structures (i.e. school complexes) run the risk of closing, with the consequent loss of jobs and not only teachers or secretaries, but also managers who would be located elsewhere.
Unproductive complexes run the risk of merging with others to “save money.” Hence the hunt for customers, the balance of power is reversed: sometimes families become holders of power, when it comes to promoting their children … even when they are not ready to move on to the next class. . But in all honesty, the problem with the dysfunction of today’s school is not just that: upstream there has been a gradual dismantling of the pillars that have formed so many generations, until the sixties and seventies.
From the 1980s onwards, the register changed, starting with primary education, starting with the teaching of the Italian language, for which the so-called “alphabetical method” was no longer applied, but the “global method”. , that is, the recognition of graphemes in their set of letters, without necessarily associating the meaning contextually. This moved everyone’s minds, as first graders, who entered school in mid-September, were able to read in December, thanks to the global “visual” approach to words. that is, they recognized their signs, but they did ‘I don’t understand their meaning … but they were good for reading …!
This legacy is for teachers of later years, if they find it up to high school, where, thanks to compulsory schooling, up to 16 years and compulsory education, up to 18 years, generations of young people arrive, with huge gaps, not only in the linguistic field, but of course also in terms of the knowledge to be acquired in each subject.
Who benefits from such bad behavior in the Italian school, the result of a society that has increasingly valued education and instruction, which has impoverished families?
More and more families today cannot afford to send their children to school (very often students do not have books, notebooks and anything else they need to study) and individual schools are trying their best. , with ISEE-based grants. of less affluent families, but each student is well equipped with a mobile phone, which is generally not used for educational purposes, but to connect to the internet and stay connected by Whatsapp with the outside world … including the family , fueling continuous confrontations with teachers, who are forced to interrupt the class, to intervene at the educational level (unheard of!).
All this, in fact, allows the society in which we live: if before the pandemic, the struggle between teachers and students for the confiscation of mobile phones was continuous, now after the pandemic, no attempt is made to get involved in the dispute. . , as mobile is allowed by tacit agreement, since whatsapp class groups have remained the norm, also to publish photos of assigned tasks, book pages, word sheets, etc … because, except for a few students, in a class most have not bought or taken the books and the teachers, abandoned in the face of the evidence, try to do their best.
Not to mention that, in recent decades, the circulation of drugs by organized crime has increasingly involved minors, with serious damage to the minds of young people, whose cognitive faculties, starting with the care and disorders of behavior, have been steadily increasing. Now the “classic” drug has been virtually replaced (so to speak, because it continues to circulate!) By a much more widespread and widespread “drug”: the excessive and uncontrolled use of technology and the Internet, by networks. social, a lot. increasingly used by underage users. This has contributed to the decline of the Italian language, the increase in attention deficit, the increase in aggression and the spread of the phenomenon of cyberbullying, with strong repercussions on the very lives of adolescents and, without fear of exaggeration. , also in the future. of civilization, as we have known it.
In this context, he wants to remedy the “school of projects”, which has replaced the school of ministerial programs (that is, the state renounces to establish what is to be transmitted to the new generations), commissioning the programming to implement very generic and indefinite ministerial “guidelines”, projects may overlap with normal work in the morning curriculum, so we are witnessing an increasing fragmentation of content, generating a lot of confusion in the recipients of these activities.These projects, which should “limit” early school leaving, because they are more attractive to “difficult” students, carried out in school under compulsory schooling. .. because we must not forget that our modern age is and must be inclusive!
This highly pedagogical and shareable language ends up being highly demagogic, insofar as schools do not seem at all designed and, as a result, equipped to embark on such elaborate and sophisticated, as well as fair, paths as these. So the project school ends miserably in the prosaic personal interest of some managers (for considerable numbers) and some teachers (much less ..) but given the meager pay, “sugar does not hurt a drink “), without significant repercussions for most students, difficult or not, for whom we would surely need a state, which feels like a nation and which really puts the welfare of the younger generations … but that could be object of a future reflection on the subject, on the other hand, the dictation of all the compulsory training of the teachers recites the mantra “Competences, abilities and knowledges”.
I would like the current minister and those who have alternated over time, from Renzi’s Autonomy and the “good school” onwards, to explain to me: how to acquire skills and abilities before acquiring knowledges? Rather, the sequence should be completely subverted: first the passage of knowledge, then the acquisition of skills and as a consequence the development of skills occurs, perhaps with the practice of laboratory … or in the operating room, for surgery specialists, just to name a few. a couple!
A drama! Not only for the education system in Italy and for economic development, but above all for the consequent democratic stability of our country.
I hope that some politicians, present or future, will regret, regarding the Italian School … and as indicated in the title of the popular education television program, produced by RAI in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, between 1960 and 1968, edited and masterfully directed by the teacher Alberto Manzi: “It’s never too late”! We want to hope so.