More time (and ideas) for a new school –

from Attilio Oliva and Antonino Petrolino

Instead of focusing on “teaching,” one should focus on the “learning” mechanisms of students that are known to demand interaction and even emotional involvement.

Lin school, in addition to teaching “reading and arithmetic,” it should encourage the formation of open, curious and critical personalities, but also of citizens aware of their rights and duties.. With the mass school, however, we have come to the current school where everyone attends: thus new challenges and new problems have arisen. A period revolution, unfortunately managed by the ministry with teaching methods, teacher training, organization of time and spaces totally inadequate to achieve the above objectives taking into account a young population so varied in cultural and socioeconomic conditions.

Unfortunately, this period challenge was answered with the criterion of “everything else”: more teachers, more principals, more janitors, more disciplines, but basically with a centralized organizational model and a traditional teaching method: transmissive lessons with the “teaching” approach in the face of substantial neglect of students ’“ learning ”mechanisms that notoriously demand interaction and even emotional involvement.

But the school also had to deal with another revolution of the time: that of the “out of school” environment. which took away his educational monopoly thanks to a powerful hyperpervasive and certainly uninspired “mass communication” system to foster educational purposes.. What could be the answer to this type of school of the many less fortunate by socioeconomic origin?

In terms of learning, this is explained by the regular international surveys of 15-year-old OECD young people, which always place us below the average of the 80 countries surveyed. In advanced countries, the need for school systems to care is taken for granted 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 passed a bill to promote such attentive education development of invaluable “non-cognitive skills”: the ability to communicate and collaborate with others, to put oneself in the place of others, the care of emotional intelligence, resilience … But this was ridiculed by a beloved academic who in change believes that we must continue to “dispense the most disparate”. knowledge to young people, leaving behind this knowledge, the books read, the thoughts, the emotions that are born in the classroom during each hour of class, are in the soul of each of them with their nature, their imagination , their soul and fertilizing them. to give life to what is called personality ».

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

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

Here are two key proposals, plus a specific suggestion to initiate change:

1. move from a “short-term” school (today is usually 30 hours a week for five / six days) ad a 40-hour “long-term” school in 5 days (eight hours plus dining);

2. a school with early entry at the age of three (already practiced in France) e “Mandatory long-term” for everyone from 3 to 14 years (better at 16 years): it is precisely in the first years of life and then in adolescence that negative values ​​and prejudices that do not agree with our level of civilization can be consolidated.

And after 14-16 to 19 years keep an offer of “optional” for a long time.

For TreeLLLe, at least three hours a day of this long time should be occupied not by additional “lessons” but by Training “activities” involving students in interaction with each other and with responsible staff. Do what? From sound and visual arts to sports, from debates to role-playing games, from volunteer activities to caring for the environment, so that young people are finally offered opportunities for expression and collaboration. · Collaboration with others.

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

Thinking mostly of the less affluent classes, it may not be preferable for young people to pass an important part of their time in a safer and more attractive school environment than on the streetwith video games or in environments (known and not) uncultured and often disadvantaged?

An operational suggestion: the ministry could experience, before legislating, ad hoc funding only for those schools most needed or appropriate to, in its context and autonomy, apply for it. If demand increases, the school would gradually become ‘different’, with a bottom-up processthanks to the determined contribution of motivated principals and teachers.

President and President of the TreeLLLe Association

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

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