Teacher training, the future of the school and the progress of the country

I realize that the one I am about to refer to may seem like an outdated reflection, but since this reflection is very current, I make a brief reference to start mine. I am referring to the reflection on the School of Ernesto Galli della Loggia, published in the Corriere della Sera of 25/09/2020 with the title “Quality (denied) in school”. The author begins by asking us and asking us the meaning of the phrase most abused by all at school, that is, “We must invest in education.” The author then goes on to list the possible areas of this need for investment with some questions: “In the right to education? Under construction? To the south? By reducing early school leaving? In teachers’ salaries? To favor courses and locations of excellence? In digitalization, in the promotion of one disciplinary sector in the university more than another? “. To these areas could be added others that are fundamental for the optimal functioning of the educational sector. But … what All we need and what the author emphasizes is: to place the quality of the School at the center of the different problems, the latter is mainly due to the centrality-quality of the teaching staff and I would add all the staff of the school, from the director to the assistant.

It is not my intention to criticize here the thought of Ernesto Galli della Loggia, of whom I have only reported the ideas I share, though with a little emphasis, but the reference to his article published only a few months after the beginning. of the pandemic. (and not two and a half years later) it is necessary to reflect on the problem of the problem of the Italian public school until the age of majority of the emerging generations which is its quality.

First of all, I think we need to investigate what the purpose of this public service should be, therefore part of Article 34 of our unparalleled Constitution. In it, the Constituent Assembly wanted to emphasize that the School must be open to all and must also be inclusive through the instruments of a compulsory nature and the provision of benefits for the “capacities and deserving” who attend. In this way, the Constituent Assembly sought to assist the Republic in carrying out its fundamental task, which is that provided for in Article 3, the pillar on which the entire Constitution is based, in the substantial part of the statement of principle. of equality. : “It is the duty of the Republic to remove obstacles … that impede the full development of the human person …”.

So it is precisely from this “full development of the human person” that we must start. The general purpose of the public school can only be the formation of a free, critical, active and educated human person, that is, a citizen aware of his rights, free from all conditions and able to claim them. , with a developed critical capacity. and interpretation of the surrounding reality, the fruit of a secure possession of the widest possible knowledge.
I realize that it is not easy to pursue this goal but school autonomy, at least in theory, has tried to make it more achievable. It came into force on September 1 of the year. 2000-2001 (he was in service at the socio-psycho-pedagogical and linguistic institute “Palumbo” in Brindisi, first as director and then as director), but I was born from a conference on the School, held for ten years before. on the initiative of our current President of the Republic Mattarella, Speaker Sabino Cassese, and carried out through the subsequent legislative measures of the Prodi 1 and D’Alema 1 and 2 governments by Minister Luigi Berlinguer and the Amato 2 government by Minister Tullio De Mauro. This fundamental piece of school reform (Law No. 59 of March 15, 1997, Regulations Implementing this Law, Presidential Decree No. 275 of March 8, 1999) was carried out until the end of the XIII legislature. With the 14th legislature, the center-right returned to the chair with Berlusconi 2 and 3, the reform suffered some setbacks, but school autonomy is now law and no one can think of repealing it. In the last twenty years he has resisted and, I would say, advanced through the experiences he has accumulated.

With these measures, the Italian School, the profile of which was outlined by our Constitution in Articles 3, 33, 34, finds a clear explanation of its intentions. In fact, in Presidential Decree no. 275, of March 8, 1999, states that autonomy: “is a guarantee of freedom of education and cultural pluralism and is specified in the planning and implementation of educational, training and educational interventions aimed at development” . of the human person, adapted to the different contexts, to the demand of the families and to the specific characteristics of the subjects involved “. This is a task that goes unequivocally in the direction of individual school unit and, first of all, of the teachers who work there: the precise will to grow their competencies and to assume full responsibility in the didactic research., in the elaboration of documentation of didactic materials, in the elaboration of the local curriculum and new models of didactic organization, in the tutoring of the teachers of new recruitment, to possess the capacity of analysis of what exists, of the surroundings, of the programming, of the definition of the aims., the objectives of learning, reading the guidelines, the relationship with all the subjects involved and of course the introspection towards them.

The Scuola della Repubblica was not prepared for this, but after more than twenty years, it is certainly a few steps forward. However, we must note bitterly that we have not yet touched the quality if not in some remote island of our national territory. Added to this is the fact that these years of pandemic have dug even deeper, interrupting even those virtuous processes that had been set in motion. For example, the data from Invalsi contained in its 2021 National Report tell us, but not only. Invalsi’s data, which certifies the Italian and high school students’ math and math skills, while not exhaustive for a full analysis of the problem, is alarming. They are much worse than in 2019 and are worse than in previous years. As if to say that the worsening is not only due to the phenomenon of learning loss, which Puglia suffers the most, that is, to the loss of skill levels and also of knowledge and skills in learners as a result of prolonged interruption of learning. roads, like the one due to the pandemic, but they are certainly also due to something else. The negative data that Invalsi has been providing for years leads us to deduce that the loss of these skills in learners is structural and is due to the very structure of the entire Italian school system and its malfunction.

It is, therefore, the old fundamental problem, that is, our inability to implement the global reform of the system whose attempts, let me be brief, have failed since the 1970s. The path to be followed is, without a doubt, what Minister Luigi Berlinguer has mentioned above, that is, a global reform of the School that must be carried out in pieces taking into account the project and the strategies to be implemented. Even this path, however, requires the indispensable support of the continuity of political action, which continues to be lacking.
One thing, however, is before any other intervention, you can start and do what needs to be done to prevent the system from collapsing. Above I have emphasized how the quality of the School goes through the centrality-quality of the teaching staff. It is not the only one, also bearing in mind that the School of Autonomy is a consolidated reality, although it must be filled with effective content horizontally with respect to the entire national territory and vertically in the individual school units.
The centrality-quality of teachers means, without a doubt, to aim to follow their initial training in all areas in terms of their knowledge, skills and abilities, but also their ongoing training which is a mandatory ongoing training with full openness. abroad: University, Associations. Research organizations, etc.

I do not have to spend much on this issue because I think the professional associations have said a lot about what is to be said: Aimc – Cidi – Mce – Proteo, of course, supported mainly by Flc Cgil, with the statement. addressed to the Italian Parliament: “A decisive choice: the future of our school and the cultural, economic and democratic development of our country depends on the law of initial and ongoing teacher training.” The laudable initiative was carried out because on June 15 the amendments to Legislative Decree no. 2598 of conversion of the decree law of April 30, 2022 n. 36, which contains more urgent measures for the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Pnrr). Discussion has begun and is scheduled to arrive in the classroom on Monday, June 20th. I hope that the result will give a positive result corresponding to an idea of ​​high professionalism of the teachers.

It is built on disciplinary knowledge and “professional knowledge in the psychopedagogical, didactic, organizational and managerial fields, conscious professionals, able to work in a collaborative dynamic and to assume institutional, collective and civil responsibilities”. The curricula at the University for the achievement of the teaching title, the internships, the acquisition of training credits must fill the initial training oriented to the quality of the product. Continuing education in continuity with the initial one, through the teaching centers, with the indispensable collaboration between Universities, Associations and Schools and the support of the School of Higher Education must accompany and support the professionalism of the teacher throughout his working life. The arduous path can be opened and we must begin to follow it, the achievement of the goal is not obvious, but it is a duty to try because the future of the school and the progress of the country are at stake.

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