SCHOOL / Initial training, the main absentees: assessment and career

Decree law n. 36, published in the Official State Gazette on April 30, disciplines, by art. 44 in art. 47, the question of initial teacher training and recruitment. The rule is based on the recognition that the professionalism of a teacher can not only consist of disciplinary preparation, ie, the knowledge of the subject to be taught, but also requires specific knowledge of a psycho-pedagogical and didactic nature and especially the ability to use the latter effectively in lessons.

The assumption is not to be underestimated, given that even today many teachers teach classes in the same way that their teachers adopted, that is, when they were still students. The reproduction rate of traditional teaching methods is still very strong in Italy today and the prejudice that mere knowledge of a subject is sufficient to develop the ability to teach is well rooted. The knowledge, in fact, certainly essential, cannot be considered exhaustive by themselves for the teaching professionalism, without the support of didactic techniques. Therefore, the prerequisite for changes in initial training and recruitment is acceptable.

The issue of lifelong learning is also being relaunched, which had already been clearly addressed by the so-called Good School Act (Law 107/2015). Section 124 of Art. 1, in fact, stated that it should have been compulsory, permanent and structural, but later these normative definitions were “emptied” of meaning, by instructing teachers to quantify the hours of their own training. Evidently, the unions, which have opposed the Good School Act since its inception, have played a good game to circumvent this obligation, thanks to the modest hourly amounts approved by teachers. Now, with the recently issued decree, The continuing education of teachers, always defined as continuous and structured, seems to be returning and is aimed at encouraging innovation in teaching models, especially in view of the experience gained during the health emergency.

Part of it, which on digital skills and their critical use, will be mandatory for everyone and will take place during working hours, but will also introduce a system of updating and training, always aimed at innovative teaching planning , which will be held outside working hours. In this perspective, a salary incentive will also be offered.

Finally, the foundations are laid for a Higher School that will adopt specific guidelines and accredit the teaching structures of the courses, in order to guarantee their quality. Its activities will also be aimed at managers and staff.

Therefore, there are several innovations, the coherence of which, however, will only arise in the implementation phase, because as is well known the rules of application, often defined in concert with the unions, are able to mitigate or circumvent the most important changes. In particular, the transitory phase that is foreshadowed runs the risk, as has happened in other cases, of being definitively transformed, in compliance with Flaiano’s aphorism by which “nothing is more definitive than the provisional”. The transience will be more difficult to overcome if it allows the maintenance of advantages for some subjects.

Above all, it is not clear how the teaching professionalism should be specifically measured in the context of the actual teaching experience, in front of which the measurement tools and the institutions capable of evaluating it must be indicated. Nor do we see on the horizon the definition of a career that can empower high-level professionals working in the school. The latter, in fact, often fulfill fundamental functions of supporting the school system: how can we ensure that they continue to be maintained over time?

Many of these teachers, indispensable to schools, get meager financial rewards and even less moral recognition. The state, in fact, insists on maintaining a frustrating and unrealistic egalitarianism, which ignores the profound differences between those who work giving their souls and those who, on the other hand, are content with the bare minimum.

Above all, it is unknown what those teachers (along with school leaders) did during the pandemic period. Many of them, who in the most difficult times have offered an uninterrupted commitment, even at the cost of personal sacrifices, today retire and live the current state with disappointment. Given the necessary differences, it almost seems that the myth of the “mutilated victory”, which had spread among the veterans of the Great War, who had risked their lives and fought relentlessly in the trenches, to re-propose the usual problems, aggravated by the post-war economic crisis.

The definition of a teaching career, however, would represent a step of a meritocratic nature against which school unions would not hesitate to trigger their mobilization. Merit, his friend Roger Abravanel would suggest, continues to frighten.

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