School is over, in all senses: the emptiness behind the ferment of projects and the rivers of rhetoric

We receive and gladly publish this analysis of dr. ssa Maria Cristina Arpaia, psychotherapist

The school is a ferment of projects, individualized plans, special plans, support plans, yet it is not possible to escape the impression that this frenetic work covers an unease, the inability to remain anchored to the elementary real data: the pupil and its real needs

"School is over": two-dimensional semantics. It is over because it has, in fact, come to an end also this school year, with all its peculiarities and exceptionalities, its contradictions and the controversies aroused. It ended because the founding role of the school in our society has disappeared through a slow and silent but inexorable process. But the exceptional situation we experienced with the pandemic has shown the flaking lines of our education system, which have long been present but perhaps invisible to most people. Freud argued that the symptomatology, expressing our peculiar way of being in the world, emerged not in a random and arbitrary way but according to the previously traced and sedimented rift lines, characteristic of each individual: the metaphor of the crystal cracked or broken according to predefined margins served to describe the personality which, following traumas or crises, remained cracked in its usual crystallization (through the symptom) and / or at risk of breaking (more or less intense fragmentation).

Our school is like a prism, upon superficial and external observation the light is reflected in a glimmer, but as soon as its angles are touched, those lines of cleavage can be glimpsed, at first glance invisible, which describe its breaking direction. Outside of metaphor, the glimmering of projects, of inclusion, of civic education, of high educational extra-curricular programs, such as the importance of crossing on pedestrian crossings, of throwing in the appropriate container the house junk, the UDA on the active citizenship, on recycling, makes the school appear a hotbed of initiatives aimed at excellence. Now it is used to say this: after all, if there are excellences in the company or in the ruling class, they are forged right in the school.

Thus, the existential desire and the need for education (the real one, which is used to learn to think) are buried under heaps of didactic programs devised ad hoc . The school is all a ferment of projects, UDA, PTCO, individualized plans, special plans, support plans, yet one cannot escape the impression that this frenetic work covers an unease, the inability to remain anchored to the elementary real data : the pupil and his real needs. Perhaps we have forgotten that a student's primary need is to learn essential school subjects. The rest can be learned in the family, in society, in the context of peers, in other areas. The school system, on the other hand, is held hostage by the same hypocrisy that distinguishes contemporary time: the bombastic theoretical declarations on inclusion, excellence, centrality of the student, vanish as in a trick of small magic, from a peripatacle of the suburbs, good to amaze a tawny public and naive, or conniving and deliberately absent-minded.

Those who are struggling with the latest school requirements know that they will have to fill in papers that no one will read: neither the principals – too overwhelmed by scrutinies and quarrels from high school exams or through bad will – nor the teachers of the new school year to which some of them are also addressed (such as the final reports on disabled pupils) and that, if for their personal dignity the individual teacher has written them responsibly, they will remain a dead letter as regards initiatives and suggestions that are contained in them. Teachers have become new bureaucrats. And perhaps for this reason more and more in burn out , because distorted in their original vocation, therefore deviated and deviant.

But when did this genetic mutation occur? This is not the place for a historical analysis of the triggering and precipitating factors, there are better and more documented analysts than I am. What must emerge is a critical judgment (is there a judgment that is not?) That arises from experience: crisis is a beautiful word whose etymological meaning brings us back to the concept of choice, of direction; judgment, as acknowledgment of a description of reality makes us move in one direction, makes us choose, sets us in motion. It is not simply a doing but an adequatio of thought to an implicit ideal which, recognized, pushes us or pushes us towards its realization. It seems to remain still in the vague, yet without an ideal push it is impossible to move. You do not remain vague if you have not forgotten your experience as a teenager, someone will object that if you do not remember it, good (bad!) Means that as a teenager he did not do his job: to express his needs. And perhaps they are of that group of adults today teachers. Teenagers are throbbing with ideals; the school, even if only simply through the serious study of the proposed subjects, must nourish and nourish the soul of each individual man for a free development of the Self.

Instead, there is a tendency of a certain psychology – which permeates the school – to consider adolescence a pathological-like stage, the adolescent a man in fieri not in the positive sense but as an unfinished, therefore fragile, as the interdict in legal language can be. The programs are therefore increasingly simplified, culture is a notion, reduced to the rank of information, not always always contextualized. The categories for thinking are not proposed, a predefined thought is made and other things to think about. Just browse through a textbook.

Increasingly infantilized adolescents, according to the institutionalized misconception that one must regress in their world, in the "ease" of their world. Pasolini, with the acute sensitivity that distinguishes him, reminds us that “with the boy, on the contrary, it should be difficult. Difficult because what he seeks is not in his world! He is out of his world, in ours: his problems are ours and it is therefore useless to leave him on a holiday that undermines and persecutes him ".

Sidereal distances separate our "good school" from the age-old practice of indulging curiosity, of the young age of the prize.

Moreover, Pasolini always reminds us that the school is based on compromise and "is oriented towards the generic", since it is an institution that requires broad consensus. In the final analysis, the problem is always political. Will the moment of denunciation come? Of a real awareness? Free from hypocrisy? We are all gathered around a dead man's morgue table, but we describe the pink complexion, the lively look, the tiffany jacket and the velvet cloth to cover the coffin, while the foul-smelling slurry is poured into a funnel.

Perhaps somewhere you can start, keeping an eye, as on the horizon, both the content aspect and also the psychological well-being of the teenager:

  • the school is compared to a company, well if a company is at a loss, remove its head, or at least check it. The same applies to the school: external inspectors must be reintegrated, the school manager must return, and not only formally, responsible for his work in front of third parties. If unable, removed.
  • It is necessary to hinder the introduction of new teachers en masse, as we are about to do with the umpteenth competition (it is necessary to remember that the institution of the so-called "good school" competition was made for the recruitment of new qualified ones when enabled already existed as winners of previous competitions, it was enough to simply recruit those). We spoke incidentally before vocation: not everyone can be a teacher, because they do not have the vocation, they are not "vocated" neither by the passion for young souls to feed nor by the need for knowledge (of notionism they are full, when they are not ignorant as well of that).
  • It is necessary to safeguard the figure of the psychologist in the school, an important achievement, but external figures are preferred. To preserve the "third party" of this figure called to the very delicate task of acknowledging the inconveniences and ingruing problems of many teenagers. An internal psychologist is much more easily organic to the system in which he operates and his relational dynamics can be spoiled by the dominant conceptions in his school. You can trigger perverse dynamics whereby the student becomes a "wheel" of the process: the teacher reads a "strange" theme (according to his criterion of values), talks about the (not "with" him) student with the other teachers, whether or not you talk about it in the teachers' board, the "package" is found on the psychologist's desk, in a perfect way in his sectoralization procedures of roles, perverse in his absence of humanity.
  • A realistic rating scale that reflects the real value of the pupil's knowledge, functional to the construction of real self-esteem, must be applied. Not forgetting that the person must be considered as a whole: in the vote there cannot be only the surrender to a question, as if it were removed from a context, but as the output of a more evolved process that involves many other aspects of the pupil ( commitment, availability, merit).
  • A proper mention should be made of the beautiful disabled children, full of potential, often emotionally intelligent (much more than their teachers), capable of a development which too often are prevented by the short-sighted dryness of a reductive intervention, considering as their arrival point their handicap, when this is only the starting point for a didactic really aimed at the flourishing of their potential. To be sure, in this reduction many times they are helped by certain neuropsychiatrists, but that's another story. Inclusion is above all a forma mentis of the teacher, who must include the disabled pupil in the conception he has in person. We must be together with a pedagogical look, love it for those characteristics that make it unique.
  • We should eliminate a lot of bureaucracy from the teachers' training processes, simplify the didactic planning in the direction of a greater focus on the subjects under study: because if a student becomes a model citizen who follows the recycling procedures flawlessly but does not know how to think and reason perhaps something does not work. And, please, disrupt the widespread idea of ​​the school as a place of democracy, the final boutade of farcical school iconoclasm.

The post The school is over, in all senses: the void behind the ferment of projects and the rivers of rhetoric appeared first on the Daily Atlantic .

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL on Wed, 17 Jun 2020 04:03:00 +0000.