Leaving school early? Not resolved between the banks (15.07.2022)

500 million left in early school had never met. Good news? Yes, in part. For the moment, it seems that the solution to the problem of early school leaving is practically entrusted only to schools, an old concept. Also in the recently published document on “Guidelines for the implementation of interventions in schools” the management of the projects is entrusted above all to the “internal” school part, forgotten or once again do not want to see that school teachers do not in first Line is. a didactic but pedagogical question in the broadest sense of the term. But when it comes to money and ideas – yes, because it’s not lacking either – we really need a concrete step change that has introduced structural changes in our now cutting-edge education system. In order not to waste public money and ground good intuitions.

Where to start? As the wise Topo Gigio said, it’s always good to start from the beginning. Many girls and many boys, well educated or explosive, suffering or indifferent, go to school because they send them there without knowing why and they try to “break” it as best they can. The essential point is that the school must make sense and that the student recognizes himself in that sense. The meaning of the school should be to accompany the free, beautiful and autonomous life, we know. All facilities, classrooms, programs and even teachers are in the service of this sense, otherwise it is better to throw them away. Is the school fulfilling this task today? Here you are, we think that there is enough room 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 we start restarting the machine, then we have to intervene directly in the old middle schoolcrucial element for the lives of adolescents.

In our long experience alongside many schools we have seen that exactly between 10 and 15 years of age, in school classes, the hunger for children’s sense often goes without food, they have deep discomfort, a widespread inadequacy is felt in adults. The more years go by without picking up this piece of school, the more damage will result. Therefore, with a view to the next school year 2022-2023, we’re trying to figure out how to do that! What must be the first steps to make good use of the money and the idea for today’s new school?I’m trying to draw some practical lines here take and the experiences already made, already experimented in our Donmilani2 projects and similar projects, not all together for the truth within the same school. Therefore, it is partly a lived practice and partly a dream.

The pedagogical relationship

Upon entering the school, students are greeted, looked at, greeted. The attitude of the teachers is important. The students are happy to go to the new school. Going to school remains a duty but cannot be a punishment. Of course, the teacher must know how to teach, but perhaps he must first be able to see 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 it is necessary and know how to ask “how are you?”. In the new school, the first commandment is a good relationship, with companions, with adults, with things. All adults participating in the training process must know that there is no conflict between education and training. Unfortunately, there are still some teachers / writers who believe that a pedagogical approach such as a brake or worse is an obstacle to proper education. Not so: education includes education, but the opposite is not true. The pedagogical relationship comes first in the new school. But do not underestimate, on the contrary: a good relationship is the prerequisite for a good education.

Learning: Head – heart – senses

Girls and boys today get more information, pictures, news, stimuli, emotions outside of school. The task of the school, in particular the middle school, should no longer be to add any more content, but rather to learn how to order the ones that have already arrived in many forms. , as one sifts. the news, to distinguish, judge, take the good and leave the bad. School adults, teachers and educators also know the enduring learning before it goes from head to toe, hands, senses, emotions, heart and therefore they try as much as possible the content of knowledge through to offer these vehicles. .

Travel

I’m trying to use a weird and maybe a little heretical image. The new school is more of a camper than a house. A mobile home, a home on the go. The training period, the training goals are in a journey, an adventure. The dimension of middle school, in this very delicate phase of the lives of girls and boys, is not the static one of many Excel spreadsheets, with predefined boxes, but rather that of a roundup of Instagram roles, collected and composed in a story. The journey of knowledge and experience is built day by day, week by week both in class and on a path in the mountains, both through a city and by sea along with the boat. Anyone who has tried to share these experiences with a class knows it well! The school year must develop in a concrete travel metaphor: with a compass in hand, a map with a traced path, good equipment, measuring area for the legs, stop to regain energy, look back and adjust the path. .

Space and time, but also classes …

The classrooms are the same on a large central corridor, recognizable by a number and a letter, 3 ^ C, 2 ^ A, with well-placed inside the desks, all looking at a raised desk, which is next to a large Table is placed, digital. , that is. Well, I do not know if this is a desirable image for a seventh-grade student … We have always underestimated the importance of the adequacy of the learning environment. In addition to the “third” training room, which can be the week at sea or the afternoon service in a senior center or the laser cutting course at a fablab, it is necessary that the school building is also not homogeneous as a class hangar, but rather remodeled. as a multimodal center with dedicated and specially equipped environments, for applied sciences, for language laboratories, for theatrical and musical creative expression. The student groups then do not need to be static, some lessons, for example about the Constitution or about clean energy can for large numbers also be with vertical groups, others have to be conducted in small groups or even individually. Timing is also important. Monday is not the same as Friday, everyone knows it, but the school schedule that puts the old “subjects” in the weekly schedule does not know, not based on the needs of the students, but on the holes that are in the puzzle of the teachers remain ‘availability. Each day should include a moment of greeting, more relaxed on Monday, a moment of theory and a moment of practice and at the end of the week a moment of collective evaluation. The months and seasons also include a program of external and internal activities.

Functional evaluation

If the school aims at the global education of young people, if it does not mean measuring skills or memory or other functions that can be translated on a scale of one to ten, but to allow them to express their skills, then one must equip. with a more sophisticated evaluation tool than a number. The areas of evaluation should be different, because the aspects that contribute to the maturation of an individual are different and complex, concerning the care and physical activity, concerning learning, skills and knowledge, concerning the Relationships with colleagues, with adults, with the world, those who relate to the value dimension. Every school should know how to set up an evaluation system also with the contribution of different competencies, possibly in addition to those of the teachers and educators, with the help of families. What once were the reports should be evaluations that are set up together with the female students and should concern the training paths that are composed of all the elements covered in all areas as well as the paths and quality of the results to be. An evaluation of this kind will be able to take into account the starting points and the arrival points of the different pedagogical journeys of all the students. What are the conditions for creating this new school, perhaps in small steps, starting next school year? I believe essentially two in nothing of an economic nature: the first is the stability of the school management and the internal cooperation between the various components (including instrumental functions and parent representatives), the second is the willingness to work as a team, initially teaching staff and Educators and gradually with the educational community of the territory. None of the above proposals are already impossible today if these conditions are met.

We’re here. Who’s there?

Franco Taverna is the coordinator of the youth department 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 the contrast of youth educational poverty

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