Early school leaving? Not resolved between banks (15/07/2022)

500 million pre-school preschoolers had never been achieved. Good news? Yes, in part. At the moment it seems that the solution to the problem of early school leaving is practically entrusted only to schools, an old conception. Even in the recently published paper on “Guidelines for the Implementation of Interventions in Schools” project management relies primarily on the “internal” school component, forgetting or, once again, unwilling to see that dropout premature school is not primarily. a didactic but educational question in the broadest sense of the term. But beyond money and ideas — yes, because they are not lacking either — we really need a concrete step change that introduces structural changes into our now-worn training system. Not to waste public money and base good intuitions.

Where to start? As the sage Topo Gigio said, it is always good to start from the beginning. Many girls and boys, well educated or explosive, suffering or indifferent, go to school because they are sent there, not knowing why and trying to “break it” as best they can. The essential point is that the school must make sense and that the student is recognized in this regard. The meaning of school should be to accompany free, beautiful and autonomous life, we know. All facilities, classrooms, programs and even teachers are at the service of this sense, otherwise it is better to throw them away. Does the school fully fulfill this task today? Here you are, We believe that there is a wide margin for improvement throughout the training chain, from childhood to university, but if we want to better identify the weak link in the system, the point from which to start restarting the machine, we must intervene immediately. in the old high schoolcrucial element for the lives of adolescents.

In our long experience with many schools we have seen that precisely between the ages of 10 and 15, in school classrooms, children’s appetite is often left without food, they harbor deep discomfort, there is a widespread inadequacy in the adults. The more years go by without occupying this piece of school, the more damage is done. So, looking forward to the next school year 2022-2023, let’s try to figure out how to do it! What should be the first steps to make good use of the money and ideas for today’s new school?I try to draw some practical lines taking here and the experiences already made, already experienced in our Donmilani2 projects and in similar projects, not all together by the truth within the same school. Therefore, it is partly a lived practice and partly a dream.

The educational relationship

At the entrance of the school, students are greeted, watched, greeted. The position of the teachers is important. Students are happy to go to the new school. Going to school is still a duty but it cannot be a punishment. Of course, the teacher must know how to teach, but perhaps first he must be able to look at who is in front of him, observe his eyes, and also how he walks, how he dresses … know how to sit next to him when necessary. and knowing how to ask “how are you?”. In the new school, the first commandment is the good relationship, with classmates, with adults, with things. All adults involved in the training process should know that there is no conflict between education and education. Unfortunately there are still some teachers / writers who believe that an educational approach is like a brake or, worse, an obstacle to a true education. Not so: education contains education, but the opposite is not true. The educational relationship comes first in the new school. But without underestimating teaching, on the contrary: a good relationship is the prerequisite for good teaching.

Learning: head – heart – senses

Today’s boys and girls receive more information, images, news, stimuli, emotions outside of school. The task of the school, then, especially of the secondary, for a long time should no longer be to add more content, but rather to teach how to order those who already arrive abundantly in many forms, teach to sift. the news, discern, judge, take the good and leave the bad. School adults, teachers and educators also know that a lasting learning, before it goes from head to toe, hands, senses, emotions, heart and therefore try as much as possible to offer the contents of knowledge through these vehicles. .


I try to use a weird and maybe a little heretical image. The new school looks more like a caravan than a house. A mobile home, a moving house. The training period, the training goals are within a journey, an adventure. The dimension of the institute, in this delicate phase of the lives of girls and girls, is not the statics of many Excel spreadsheets, with predefined boxes, but that of a collection of Instagram rolls, collected and composed in a story. . The journey of knowledge and experience is built day after day, week after week both in class and on a mountain road, both crossing a city and plowing the sea together by boat. Anyone who has tried to live these experiences with class knows this well! The course must be developed within a specific metaphor of the trip: with a compass in hand, a map with a mapped path, good equipment, stages tailored to the legs, stops to recover energy, look back and adjust the path… .

Spaces and time, but also classes …

The classrooms that look the same in a large central hallway, recognizable by a number and a letter, 3 ^ C, 2 ^ A, with the interior of the well-aligned desks all facing a high desk placed next to a large, digital whiteboard. , this is. Well, I don’t know if this is a desirable image for a seventh grader … We have always underestimated the importance of adapting learning environments. Beyond the “third” training spaces that can be the week at sea or the evening service at a senior center or the laser cutting course at a fablab, the school building also needs to be rethought not as a homogeneous class henhouse but as a multimodal one. center with dedicated and specially equipped environments, for applied sciences, for language laboratories, for theatrical and musical creative expression. Then the groups of students do not have to be static, some lessons, for example on the Constitution or on clean energies can be for a large number even with vertical groups, others will have to be done in small groups or even individually. Timing is also important. Monday is not the same as Friday, everyone knows it, but the school schedules that put the old “subjects” on the weekly schedule don’t know it, not based on the needs of the students but the holes left in the teachers’ puzzle. . availability. Each day should include a welcome moment, more relaxed on Monday, a moment of theory and a moment of practice and at the end of the week a moment of collective assessment. Even the months and seasons include a program with external and internal activities.

Functional evaluation

If the school aims at the global education of adolescents, if its meaning is not to measure skills or memory or other functions that can be translated on a scale of one to ten, but to allow them to express the your skills, then you need to equip yourself. with a more sophisticated assessment tool than a number. The areas of assessment must be different because the aspects that contribute to the maturation of a person are different and complex, those relating to care and body activity, those relating to learning, skills and knowledge, those referring to relationships with equals, with adults, with the world, those that refer to the dimension of value. Each center must know how to build an evaluation system also with the contribution of different skills, possibly in addition to those of teachers and educators, with the help of families. What were previously report cards should become assessments built in conjunction with the student and should refer to the training itineraries, consisting of all the elements acquired in all areas as well as the ways and quality. of the results. Such an assessment may take into account the starting points and arrival points of the different educational routes of each of the students. What are the conditions for creating this new school, perhaps in small steps, from next year? I believe essentially two and none of an economic nature: the first is the stability of school management and internal collaboration between the different components (including instrumental functions and parent representatives), the second is the will to teamwork, initially teachers. and educators and little by little with the educational community of the territory. None of the proposals listed above is impossible today if these conditions are met.

We are there. Who is there?

* Franco Taverna is the coordinator of the adolescent area of ​​the Don Mazzi Exodus Foundation and responsible for the project “Donmilani2: Ragazzi Fuoriserie”, selected by the social enterprise Con i Bambini as part of the Fund for Contrasting Poverty youth education.

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