Looking for an easy guilty

Mention of another good article by prof. R. Maragliano (in italian)
A little of utopia…
Più che di tragedia della DaD parlerei di tragedia della cultura nazionale in fatto di scuola.
I primi studi nazionale sulla determinazione sociali degli studi risalgono a sessant’anni fa. Questa predisposizione economico-sociale al successo o non successo scolastici non è mai stata negata né lo è mai stata la sua articolazione geografica nord/sud – est/ovest, elemento che incide pesantemente a livello di scuola secondaria e al di sotto del quale sta, pesantemente confermato dentro la cultura formativa nazionale, una disposizione gerarchica degli indirizzi scolastici. Sono fattori residuali dell’impianto ottocentesco, aristocratico, centralistico, autoritario, e che spiegano anche perché c’era già un’inaccettabile disparità nei risultati, prima della pandemia.
Quindi non è tutta colpa della DaD, se le cose vanno come vanno. Quindi tornare alla situazione di prima (anche se fosse possibile, cosa che non è, basta un po’ di buon senso per capirlo) significherebbe mantenere le disparità ante-Covid, probabilmente peggiorate, visto che mesi e mesi di ‘non scuola’ avranno non poco demotivato tutti, ma li avrà anche convinti di poter giocare un buon alibi.
Chiediamoci dunque l’origine di tali disparità, fortissime già prima, con tassi di eterogeneità nella riuscita e di precoce dispersione significativamente superiori agli standard europei e vediamo di individuare delle priorità per le necessarie misure di intervento correttivo e trasformativo. Quando lo si fa (raramente sui media di massa, più frequentemente qui, nei famigerati social) si parla perlopiù di interventi sulle strutture fisiche (edifici e arredi) o sull’organizzazione didattica (attività laboratoriali, integrazione delle attività, flessibilità degli orari, ecc.). Benissimo.
Manca, a mio avviso, un elemento fondamentale: quello dei saperi, dei contenuti della formazione scolastica. Vanno ripensati, dobbiamo trovare il coraggio di ripensarli, evitando di trincerarci dietro parole come ‘curricolo’, ‘materia’, ‘disciplina’ che riflettono e legittimano al loro interno deleterie istanze di conservazione (epistemologica e politica). Scienza naturale e scienza umana, storia, musica, letteratura, tecnologia, arte ecc. non sono blocchi stabili di sapere dentro i quali e tra i quali identificare collegamenti, sono invece pratiche e modi di vedere, pensare ed essere che si aggregano si integrano si differenziano all’interno di attività di apprendimento, tanto più produttive quanto più attive e coinvolgenti, nella forma ma anche e soprattutto nella sostanza. Smettiamola dunque di prenderci in giro. Se i ragazzi non sanno leggere e scrivere – lo si sostiene con convinzione a vari livelli – non è perché non gli si insegna abbastanza la grammatica, forse è perché si aspira a insegnargliela troppo e troppo male, forse è perché leggono (e studiano e scrivono) cose non del tutto giuste e non sempre nei modi giusti.
La flipped classroom così come tante altre belle suggestioni che ci vengono da altri regimi scolastici e culturali fanno punteggio accademico, certo, ma risultano inattuabili, dentro l’attuale assetto professionale della docenza. Insomma, occorre rivedere non solo come si fa apprendere ma anche e soprattutto ciò che si fa apprendere a scuola, nelle classi e nei loro prolungamenti di rete.
Riesumando un vecchio termine, ahimè sempre attuale, forse ancora più lo è oggi, direi che occorre lavorare (e molto) per uscire da una concezione libresca del sapere scolastico (e universitario), la stessa che legittima autoritariamente l’oggettività delle rilevazioni e che contemporaneamente consente ai commentatori interni ed esterni, sufficientemente e molto interessati (di disinteressati non ce ne sono), di dire che è tutta colpa della DaD.

How moving on after COVID and DAD experience?

No recent event make us talk about school more than COVID.

“DAD” (didactic on distance) was probably one of the keywords of the pandemic era. However, the most widespread opinions, supported by statistics, speaks about that as an educational failure, actually.

Technology, hailed as the best and only solution (and financed on the same way), is now a convenient scapegoat: the useless debate between “apocalyptics” and “integrated” has regained strength. But technology favors or allows only some of the processes involved in educational dynamics, and, though powerful, a “medium” remain just a “medium”.

At the end of the day, the quality of work depends on the quality of people; and the quality of teachers is an even more complicated subject than COVID. And it is so for a thousand reasons, first of all the fact that the outcome of “good teaching” is difficult to recognize and certify, which is why for years we have been floating between the “coldness” of INVALSI data, the more or less plausible comparisons with foreign systems and a system that has transfigured this difficulty into a taboo, a category that does not accept evaluations of any kind or even structural changes (by “structural” change I mean, for example, the request for approaches that do without the textbook and improve using of technology).

However, as I said, at least it has been talked about, because the truth is that the covid era has highlighted mostly pre-existing difficulties.

The “educational success” depends by many reasons and it would be important to analyze them all. There are responsibilities of families, of politics, of the students themselves.
But now I must talk about school.
While the people feels (or like to feel) that everything has been done “in parentheses”, and wants to come back to the good old days, as if nothing had happened, we find ourselves in the embarrassing situation in which some schools did a lot of things and want to be thanked for, and some did nothing or should have better done nothing. Some teachers were absolutely good and some absolutely wrong.
We don’t speculate on percentages of good and bad ones but I have to notice that just 6% of Italian teachers were involved in training course in the past two years. If the situation was so difficult, I would have expected, along with the decree mandating the implementation of the Plan on Integrated Digital Teaching, at least the temporary training obligation.
Looking forward to another similar school year, managers and teachers should have spent the second half of June and the first half of September NOT teaching to the students, but studying and discussing, to understand what to propose this year. I’m talking about goals and methods, but also about tools, of course.
I think it was worthwhile even at this time.
I, too, maintain that the Support Decree was made with good intentions and good objectives. Moreover, schools have already had a lot of money to implement these activities. But in practice, what are the prevailing activities? Have they really been selected based on the criteria of the decree? Who will control them? How understand if activities were working?
In conclusion the problem of student recovery is less urgent than quality of teaching.

What if we reached the educational terminus?

At first glance, whenever we talk about technology in school, two extreme theories face each other . About the school in the pandemic-age and about distance learning, someone says that everything has changed and someone says that nothing has changed.
But as always, the truth is a little more complex.
Statistics speak to us of a generation “adrift”, for which the school is required to adapt, provided that the school has noticed these changes, which is legitimate to doubt (in the school do the teachers discuss about social changes? do they talk about learn-to-learn now?); on the other hand, schools that have moved in time (adaptation of infrastructures and internal training) are already able actually to make “educational” proposals (not just “instructive”) with the new tools.
The feeling is that 1-2 classes in higher school has short of breath! In fact, with the DAD in high school, the adolescents experienced school as an optional experience and upon returning a sort of mutual reckoning began: the school set up a path of crossfire and – after having “used” the politically correct reasons of the need for sociality and the importance of proxemics in teaching – has actually subjected the students to daily assignments  (maybe the professional horizon of the teachers remains the scrutinies, sadly); but also the students have metaphorically put the teachers up against the wall, they are no longer even willing to cheat the school, they actually desert it.

The pandemic has therefore only worked as a highlight of a foretold educational terminus: even the high school must review its programs and focus on motivation, collaboration and competence. If it remains anchored to the scheme of contents and frontal methodologies, if the educational relationship is based on “whoever wins it over”, we risk having a sensational and perhaps incontrovertible disconnect with the generations of digital natives (from born in 2006 and beyond). The future of society is at stake.

Report on DAD during the lockdown

The supplementary report relating to the survey on teaching practices during the lockdown is online.
The Report, based on the study of the answers given to the online questionnaire by over 3,700 Italian teachers, is configured as a snapshot for a peculiar historical moment.

It’s not an exhaustive analysis but makes a constructive reflection.

Some of the data that emerged substantially reveal a transposition of traditional frontal teaching into the DDA, where two main practices emerge, such as video-conference lessons and the allocation of resources for study and exercises.

In general, the part of the teachers who took part in the survey split into two groups, one having a greater confidence with the ITC and face the distance as inspiring and professional challenge. The second a lower confidence with strong need to increase ITC skill for the didactics.

https://www.indire.it/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Report-integrativo-Novembre-2020_con-grafici-1.pdf

DDI Plan

After lock down, a new edition of Piano Nazionale Scuola Digitale is called Piano Didattica Digitale Integrata now. Actually, it’s more like a check-list, while PNSD was something like a “what we should do for them”. PNSD was a list of good intentions by government and the school could join some announcements for the money to do. By DDI the schools write what they really can do with devices and cloud.
What will it make the difference? The difference will be in WHO is writing that. the more teachers involved in developing the plan, the more likely it is that the plan will be realized.

What happens tomorrow?

“Analogamente, rivendicare l’importanza di utilizzare nella didattica e nell’apprendimento anche le tecnologie digitali non vuol dire affatto che queste tecnologie siano tutte uguali ed egualmente buone, che una piattaforma valga l’altra, che non ci siano rischi di monopolio, di uso improprio dei dati, di distorsioni o manipolazioni. Le piattaforme e gli strumenti della didattica on-line non sono tutti uguali. Le scelte che scuole e insegnanti sono chiamati a fare sono culturali, non solo tecnologiche; o meglio, sono culturali anche nel loro aspetto tecnologico, perché le tecnologie sono parte della cultura. Non riguardano solo gli strumenti ma anche i contenuti, le metodologie, le pratiche didattiche e di apprendimento. Se si fanno scelte sbagliate, il risultato può essere disastroso”

Passi da: Gino Roncaglia. “Cosa succede a settembre?”.

Again about teaching by distance

Again about teaching by distance

We all are living in systems that are CLOSED and OPEN at the same time, and sometimes we call them “closed” and sometimes we call “open”, in according by our behaviors, our points of view, our favorite teaching techniques and so on.

So it may happen that the student ON LINE or the teacher ON LINE by their IPAD are closer and performant than they are used to be, “close” in the classroom! Strange, isn’t it?

CLOSE and OPEN, presence and distance, to be (close) or not to be… we must consider “relative”, seriously.

What’s the distance?

What’s the distance?

it is the most pronounced word in relation to school.

if we think of the pre-pandemic school, however, the teachers have always said we need also a “distant school” (eg homework) and as well the innovators have often proposed an absolutely “remote” formula, such as the flipped classroom .

And this is essentially due to the fact that the concept of “presence” is completely relative, from the learning point of view.

We have often admitted that we practice teaching through technological devices, (also) because inside the physical presence of a student there’s a mental distance; it’s that gap many of us have precisely tried to fill with technology.

And it’s the reason I think it is useful today to re-problematize the concept of distance.