To the future Minister of Education | Alessandro D’Avenia

“So what are you doing huh?” It is the question that is repeated in the first lines of Clockwork Orange, the novel in which Anthony Burgess (teacher) showed in 1962 where the dominant culture would lead the boys. That is the question posed by the four bored young protagonists who, after leaving their beloved bar, they hit the first victim: an elderly teacher with a book in his handwhich gives the absurd charge to the stroke.

I open the lines addressed to her, whoever she may be, with an image that represents any young person who does not inherit a loved and sane life. In the book, this condition of dismissal is brilliantly encapsulated in the jargon of the boys: their world is adapted to their language.

When the story begins with teenagers beating a teacher to death with a book, it is because of the virus of the soul that I call Conind (Consumerism, nihilism, individualism), has as a sworn enemy anyone who remembers that life has meaning: the school. Today, the school always seems to be the old one, unfortunately also for a Ministry of Education which has become of Educationfor reasons that I have raised several times in this column and on whose possible solutions I do not want to stop now, because after 35 years among schools (13 as a student and 22 as a teacher) I believe that they are the result of a single diseased root which, if not reversed, renders any other kind of “reform” ineffective and apparent.

Ministry (from Latin minus: lessopposite of Magisteriumof magic: plus, so Master), it means Service: the minister is therefore a Servant.

It will be the same for almost 9 million children and 1 million adults (including teachers and staff), gathered around 850,000 professors.

Teachers means chair (not the table), hence cathedral, the seat church (where the chair is) of the bishop. Every class is a cathedral of man, a holy place, because holy is what is unique and inviolable (every life). These cathedrals, called schools, are one of the two places (the other is the hospital) by which I measure the civilization and the future of a state. You are therefore a pope in the service of 850,000 cathedrals out of 10 million people, i.e. a sixth of the country, the sixth belonging to the one with more future due to age.

I will say more her trusted people come from the future, because the future is not near or outside of us, but already inside, as a seed that will blossom, only on the condition that whoever carries it becomes aware of it by discovering his calling, the one for which Socrates life has come. accused of teaching young people new divinities (he was a school). For this future of meat, you have 45 billion euros available from our taxes every year, 7 thousand euros per year for each student. There are not a few to be able to do what it takes.

But what happens to them? They go where much of our work goes in today’s school: not in the classroom but in the bureaucracynot in time for the children, but for a system that made it very difficult for us to learn and therefore to teach them.

If education has freedom as its goal and education has culture (which is the sum of all human creations that serve the humanity of life), education and education are inseparable. In fact, culture should put each newborn in contact with the best of past and present humanity, awakening “the inner teacher”, that is, the autonomous capacity to fulfill one’s vocation, driven by the energy given by love for oneself , itself, internalized start of the love that is received in meaningful relationships (family and school).

His ministry is therefore also a nursery: culture comes from Latin colo, to cultivatewhich we AgricultureCare of the ground from which Cicero drew by analogy animi cultureCare of the soul, to show the method for man to bear fruit (only those who are united to the origin can be original).

Millions of children spend 200 days a year, 5 hours a day, for 13 years in this nursery of the soul entrusted to her: what harvest will come forth after so long a time? The result of col it is real culture from which not only the word comes cultivated (both in the sense of collected that of educated) but also cult: to instruct is an educational action that requires attention to sacred things. He knew it well Pico della Mirandola, unfinished dawn (died young, probably poisoned) of our humanism in the Renaissance. In the speech On the dignity of man which he was supposed to hold among scholars and princes in Rome in 1487, but which the Pope forbade him to express for some theses that were considered dangerous, the philosopher wrote: “In man, at the act of birth, the father has the seeds of all species infused. in the germs of all kinds of life. They will grow, and in him they will produce their fruits, which everyone will cultivate. If he cultivates the vegetable, he becomes a vegetable; if the instinctive, it will become a beast; if the rational, a heavenly body will succeed; if the spiritual, he will become a child of God ».

Humanismcultural synthesis of the best of Athens, Rome and Jerusalem, was the biggest educational and political project (Europe was its best fruit) of history, but today it is bloody because it has betrayed its vital sources in the name of self-sufficiency (I build myself, against everyone) and profit (technically and economically).

The dominant culture, that of Conindit is actually a culture that awakens not the teacher, but the inner monster: hungry, afraid and angry.

So the schoolalthough he defends it in words, he gave up the humanist project and got marriedat a structural and organizational level, the dominant thought: utilitarian (Elimination of materials that are considered “useless”, but which are indispensable for cultivating what is human in man), technocratic (more pills than stable and passionate teachers), depersonalized (equal programs for all, standardized tests and exams) e competitive (business model).

Children have therefore become objects of expectations (resources) and not subjects of possibilities (creators of resources)and in fact they run away from school or leave it without understanding if it has anything to do with life.

His ministry is facing a turning point: to be able to renew the school with a humanism that I define meat (Cure of the whole person and not just of a brain without a body) and that I tried to say in the last novel that I was right about that The appeal. A school that becomes an assembly line shopplacing the care of the relationship between teacher and disciple upstream of the content (to teach is to transmit “being” before “words” and to be re-generated Oh yes de-generated based on the quality of the relationship).

All content is deprived of value if a disciple does not recognize his own life as having value in the eyes of the teacher: how do you pretend to tell me that Dante’s life has value, if mine as a student does not have at least the same Value for you?

Any reform will remain superficial if it does not happen first a Copernican revolution of the gaze, Reform it means giving new shape and the shape that the Italian school needs is relational, from the arrangement of the desks to the training of new teachers. It is not sentimentality, but professional necessity: a relationship is real when its fruits, called relational goods, are verified. The educational relationship exists when it produces as its good what for Pico was the great dignity of man: creative freedom. The fruit of education is not to tame and train, but to release creative energies of what paralyzes them: fear and ignorance, which lead those energies to destroy (themselves and the world) instead of creating, such asUltraviolence to which the sons of the Burgess novel devoted themselves (for those who do not create, destruction remains the only and necessary way to relate to each other and the world).

You are called to inaugurate an Italian renaissance, not elitist but popular, not individualistic but relational, not rhetorical but carnal. A change of perspective could start symbolically with his circular, which obliges: to set a collection a beautiful plant in any class which everyone takes turns caring for; playing good music in peace (what a void of harmony in school training!) at the opening of the day; to make the morning roll not to justify the absence but the Presence, of the teacher, who, after answering in the first person, could ask each individual disciple: «Are you there? For whom and for what? What will you be and will you do today that only you can be and do, together with us? ».

Only those of the beauty of the relationship with life (the plant), with the beautiful-true-good created by the men of the past (the themes: music is a metaphor) and told by those of today’s Masters ) feels called to do something beautiful with and in his life.

From the individual stages of my 13 school years, I remember not the content of the lessons, but the relationship with one or two teachers who changed my life while they were teaching: those relationships are the Reform of the school, I actually define them re-lessons. Why not make it a system instead of an exception? It is no coincidence that the title of the master book was beaten to death Clockwork Orange is: “The miracle of the snowflake”.

The destruction of the world and others is proportional to the inability to see the beauty that, being made loveinspire care and creation that is ugly instead paralyzed love. Can you bring this beauty back to the cathedrals (why is the school building so ugly and neglected?) and to the human nursery (because we devote more time to Cards as to Meat?).

It will require the courage of those who let the fruit ripen, even if they do not know if they will enjoy it, as one Palestinian told me: “in the desert, those who sow dates do not eat dates”, because it takes at least two generations for that land to bear fruit. Earth and seeds always do their work, but only when entrusted Ministry of a good gardener. I hope it’s her.

Good job, from the heart.

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