Rebuild or restructure the Italian school

If a building becomes too old and decayed, the need arises to tear it down and rebuild it according to new building and architectural standards. In fact, recovering its old splendor after decades of total abandonment does not take the form of a useful operation from the economic point of view and the usefulness that the renovated building may have in a surrounding building context that has in the meantime evolved, improving the usability of living and the management of outdoor spaces. However, this choice becomes highly questionable or not entirely recommended if the building is located in the historic center of an important city.

In this case the value of the area, the prevailing architectural style of the area, the particular artistic value of the building suggest a wise restoration and a restoration of its original appearance as the building continues to have a high value. Which of the two types of building can we compare the Italian school to? Despite the countless flaws of the past we can say that our training institution has always produced many prestigious figures in all sectors of knowledge. Excellent administrators, technicians, writers, scientists and management figures have allowed Italy to place itself at the top of the world in the ranking of the most industrialized and technologically advanced countries.

If we are what we are we owe it to the fact that Italians are a people of creatives and this is also due to the training we received at school. A school education that has allowed us to develop divergent, critical and analytical thinking. A scholastic training capable of producing thinking “heads”, as well as technicians with evident skills. This building therefore seems “ancient” to me but full of value and potential. Taking it down would be a tragedy. In its place, an insurmountable void would be created. We would simply struggle to find our identity as Italians. New is not always better than old.

Evolutionary processes in nature teach us that changes are necessitated by having to adapt. But there are also many examples of evolution that is based on a stabilizing selection that keeps the species overall static. This is because that adaptation, represented by a particular pool of traits, continues to have greater adaptive success than other emerging traits. In practice, until then, there is no really better structural and physiological model for the species. Nature teaches us that the principle of changing just to change is not valid but sometimes it is useful to keep the ancient model because, in any case, there are more advantages than disadvantages. In the School of the last decades we have almost witnessed a frenetic search for alternative educational models, inspired by the didactic experiences carried out in other European countries and beyond.

Almost like those who believe that the absolute truth speaks only from the mouth of others. And so we have almost forgotten the important role that didactics conceived and implemented in our country have had. Names like Maria Montessori (early 1900s), Alberto Manzi (60s), Mario Lodi and Don Lorenzo Milani (also 60s) have suggested excellent educational practices with their pedagogical example and social commitment. which must not be retouched by anyone. All the didactic-educational principles are present in their work. We just have to follow their example. However, the current cultural media reality has confused the educational action of the School because cultural and social needs have changed. However, it must be understood that there are some formative needs not perceived and unwanted by the masses of pupils but extremely important which impose a formative “forcing” on our young people for their own good and for the good of the whole society. The lack of interest in classical training with respect to the media cannot in itself make the former obsolete and useless.

Knowing Mathematics or Physics or Chemistry, etc. there remains a need for training that cannot be postponed to prepare new generations who are competent and able to manage the complex modern technological world. It is therefore necessary to take action of “restructuring” of school education, not of reconstruction. Restructuring to be carried out through a re-evaluation of the basic culture that passes through a request by the teachers for better and real skills possessed by their children. Our young people are gradually losing the ability to commit themselves as appropriate and in order to be guaranteed in achieving the necessary skills required by European and international standards.

In other words, they don’t know how to study. And they don’t know how to do it because many teachers are satisfied with what little, or almost nothing, they can say when they are tested. Of course this is not true for everyone. The studious kids continue to exist as well as the demanding teachers, thankfully! But the levels have dropped somewhat. In conclusion, the Italian school is still perfectly valid in training our young people, but it needs to recover some of its working tools. The key tool that is needed most of all is the meritocratic evaluation, now immorally almost completely lost, which, like an ancient and rusty first kind lever, still manages to raise and bring out the true cultural profile of the student from oblivion, making pivot on the educating will of the teacher.

Giuseppe D’Angelo

Rebuild or restructure the Italian school