1 ITALIAN EDUCATION CONTEXT THE EDUCATION SYSTEM The education system in Italy is organised according to the subsidiary principle and autonomy of schools. The State has exclusive competence on general issues on education. Regions share their competences with the State on education issues while they have exclusive competence on vocational education and training 1. The Italian education system includes: Pre-primary school (Scuola dell' infanzia): Non-compulsory education for children between 3 and 6 years of age; First cycle of education: -Primary school (Scuola primaria)for children between 6 and 11 years of age; -Lower secondary school (Scuola secondaria di I grado) for pupils between 11 and 14 years of age; Second cycle of education -Upper secondary school, (Scuola secondaria di II grado) made up of different kinds of schools (licei, technical institutes and vocational institutes). Generally, for students from 14 to 19 years of age -Vocational training courses (IFP) are run by local authorities and can be attended by people who have reached 15 years of age and completed the first cycle of education. Post-secondary non tertiary education (IFTS) Higher education offered by Universities, High level Arts and Music Education system (Alta formazione artistica e musicale - Afam), Higher technical institutes, higher institutions. Education is compulsory from the age of 6 to 16 including the eight years of the first cycle of education together with the first two years of the Second cycle of education and training. Teacher has a second cycle degree (laurea specialistica) to teach at every school level. Primary school teachers can teach all subjects (are generalist teachers), but are responsible for a specific subject area. Since 2001, school institutions have had an administrative, didactic and organisational autonomy, although they belong to the National school system. The school autonomy is regulated by a specific Regulation fixing its different implementations and providing for guidelines on how each school shall draft its educational provision plan (Piano dell'offerta Formativa - POF). 1 https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/fpfis/mwikis/eurydice/index.php/italy:overview
2 At a central level, the education system is managed by the Ministry of Education, University and Research (Ministero dell'istruzione, dell'università e della Ricerca - MIUR), responsible for education in all levels of schools, both public and private. At a decentralized level, the Ministry acts through the Regional School Offices (Uffici Scolastici Regionali - USR) structured in territorial entities at the province level. The territorial entity at the province level, is in charge of assistance, advice and support to school institutions as well as of the integration of migrant and disabled students and, together with Municipalities, checks the compliance to compulsory school attendance. 2 Local administration is currently divided in two levels: province and municipality, with different competences in terms of subjects and school levels. Both the Provinces and the Municipalities carry out their functions in the field of education through specific Education Departments, coordinating the territorial programming of the education and training provision. Primary and secondary level schools are autonomous in terms of teaching, organisation and research, experimentation and development. The head of the school institutions are known as School Headmasters. They are in charge of the management of the institute and he is accountable for the financial resources. Moreover, in compliance with the competence of school collegial bodies, they are entrusted with the management, coordination and enhancement of human resources. THE PRIMARY SCHOOL CURRICULUM This report will focus mainly on primary education which is the field of interest of the CAREM project. Primary school is compulsory, it lasts for five years and involves children between 6 and 11 years old. The purpose of primary school goes beyond simple literacy. Primary school aims at promoting the development of each student s personality, the acquisition and development of knowledge and basic abilities, the learning of expression tools, Italian and English languages, and the enhancement of relational skills, as well as the education to the fundamental principles of civic coexistence. Primary school was modified through a law decree in 2004 and again in These reforms introduced the teaching of Citizenship and Constitution, the option of the sole teacher, the teaching of English and a second European Union language, and IT study. The didactic heart of the training provision plan (POF) is the curriculum, drafted by each institute building on the National Guidelines provided by the Education Ministry. The institute curriculum is an expression of freedom of teaching and school autonomy and, at the same time, explicates the choices of the school community and the institute s identity. The curriculum is a unique project in which both the National Guidelines and the choices of individual schools flow together to set up a relationship of cultural and didactic mutuality with the environment, enabling students to learn to be and to learn to live. learning to learn and learning to invent Indicazioni nazionali per il curricolo della scuola dell infanzia e del primo ciclo d istruzione, 2012, at
3 While designing the institute s curriculum, the teachers have to identify the most effective learning experience, the most significant didactic choices, the most relevant strategies, paying attention to integration among subjects and their possible aggregation in disciplinary areas, in order to enhance a unitary and homogeneous learning of the acquired knowledge. The subjects provided for by the Guidelines during the 5 years of primary school are: Italian, English, history, geography, mathematics, science, technology and IT, music, arts and images, physical education, technology. On top of these, there is the teaching of Citizenship and Constitution, representing a crucial objective that all the schools must consider in their training provision plan. The choice and exploitation of didactic methods and materials must be consistent with the school training provision plan (POF) that is designed in compliance with the educational objectives. Without prejudice to the freedom of teaching, National guidelines for 2012 curriculum identify some basic methodological settings: 4 Enhancement of students experience and knowledge Promotion of exploration and discovery activities Encouragement to cooperative learning Awareness of one s own way of learning Implementation of paths in the form of workshops. As explained above, the schools draft their curriculum independently, complying with the national guidelines set by the State, aiming to fix the learning objectives and their related achievements for children and youngsters skill development. The National Guidelines 2012 include the Profile of competences at the end of the first education cycle including the achievements directly inspired to the 8 European key competences and applied to Italian school reality: 1) communication in the mother tongue; 2) communication in foreign languages; 3) mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology; 4) digital competence; 5) learning to learn; 6) social and civic competences; 7) sense of initiative and entrepreneurship; 8) cultural awareness and expression. The general objective of the Italian education and training system is allowing the students to acquire the competences described in the profile. 4 https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/fpfis/mwikis/eurydice/index.php/italy:teaching_and_learning_in_primary_education
4 At the end of the first cycle, the student will have to be able to express his/her personality, have a proficient level of Italian and an elementary level of English so that they are able to talk with people of different nationalities; he/she will be able to interpret environments, facts and art productions, and he/she will absorb the sense and need of respecting civil coexistence. The student is at the heart of the educational action in all its aspects. Cultural diversity is a defining feature of society, and it fosters school to educate to coexistence and enhancement of each student s different cultural identity and roots. The school shall train students to become Italian citizens as well as Europe and World citizens. 5 In order to give a European dimension to national education programs, Italian schools can access the National Operational Programme (PON), funded by the European Commission and managed by the Education Ministry. Thanks to this programme, each school can carry out some didactic workshops for students and teachers on different themes (fight against school drop-out, environment, IT, equal opportunities, etc.). These workshops are carried out outside school hours and represent paths enriching the training provision. These projects represent a concrete follow-up of the lessons learned by the students in class, and they also promote the spreading of a culture inspired to the values of equality and active citizenship, limit school drop-out and promote teachers professional development. Arts and Image in Italian schools Arts and image is a subject introduced in 2003 through the school reform submitted by the Education Minister Letizia Moratti. This discipline, that replaced Education to images in primary school and Arts Education in lower secondary school, aims at developing and strengthening students ability to express and communicate in a creative and personal way, to observe and understand the images and the different art creations, to acquire their personal aesthetic sensitivity and an attitude of conscious attention towards the artistic heritage. Education to Arts and image should be characterized by a workshop approach through which the student learns, from an early age, the key elements of the image language and, at the same time, he/she experiences different approaches to works of art, also through direct experience on the territory and in museums. Familiarizing with quality images and artworks raises awareness and strengthens creative, aesthetic and expression skills in students, enhance their cultural background and contributes to educate them to an active and responsible citizenship. In order to make the subject contribute to the development of some aspects of student s personality, its learning needs to pass through an integration of different fields: sensorial language/communication historical-cultural expression/communication heritage 5 Indicazioni nazionali per il curricolo della scuola dell infanzia e del primo ciclo d istruzione, 2012, at
5 CONNECTION TO CAREM PROJECT Diversity and inclusion in the Italian educational context Nowadays the school is characterized by multiple diversities among pupils, especially concerning their levels of learning, their individual attitudes, their specific emotional behaviors and cultural backgrounds. Italian education system is based on people inclusion and culture integration, since it sees the respect for diversity as a fundamental value. Therefore schools should design and carry out specific didactic programs, aimed at answering to pupils learning needs, while paying particular attention to those with a migration background. In Italy, in fact, the question of the integration of the second generation is still relatively new and played inevitably in the school, where a certain number of problems exist. The Ministry of Education data show, first of all, the growth of children of immigrants in the Italian schools over 90 s: they were only in They are around now, having had a growth of around 25% per year. 6 The Ministry of Education has proposed several directives on intercultural education, but it is only with the Law 40 7 passed on 1998 (art. 36), that the issue of education of foreign children has been dealt with a comprehensive approach establishing the compulsory education for all foreign children, foreseeing initiatives for the learning of the Italian language and promoting the protection of the language and culture of origin. Despite the progress made, the Italian school still today tends to face the presence of children with a migration background as an emergency and only in few cases it has an effective intervention plan. Amongst the many challenges that education has to face is the struggle against discrimination and exclusion regarding students with disabilities. The education of students with disabilities is a strength of Italian educational system. From the first law dated 1977 to the Legge quadro 104/1992 in fact, Italy took a different pathway than the other European countries, passing a piece of anti-discriminatory legislation known as Integrazione scolastica (School Integration). As a consequence of the application of this policy, several further guidelines has been issued by the MIUR 8 in order to make Italian school as a welcoming community in which all pupils are welcomed regardless of socio-economic background, physical and intellectual impairments, or of any other selective categorization designed to segregate and exclude. Moreover, since the passing of this policy, teaching and learning procedures in ordinary schools have sought to respond to all students requirements, in particular by drawing upon specialised forms of teaching methods. In thirty years of education of students with disabilities within regular schools, there have been many experiments performed, many practices and teaching strategies used. But at present, cuts in school finances over the last few years have been weakening this potentially inclusive system. Yet something is missing in order to achieve a real integration process: there are still barriers and 6 MIUR -ISMU, Alunni con cittadinanza non italiana. Approfondimenti e analisi. Rapporto nazionale a.s. 2011/2012, Gennaio 2013 at:
6 continual bureaucratic, financial and organizational difficulties to be met and overcome 9. The need for CAREM project According to the National Education Guidelines, Italian schools are expected to promote specific actions and inclusive strategies, in order to foster prevention and recovery from school drop-out as well as the inclusion of disabled students or students with special education needs. For these reasons they should launch targeted initiatives in collaboration with local authorities and other educational actors. The CAREM project tries to respond to this need by bridging schools and partner organizations and by promoting at both local and European level - the collaborative art-making approach, so as to foster intercultural education, reduce social marginalization and promote European citizenship within school environments. Collaborative art making is a creative process involving different people to produce a final work. The key feature of collaborative art is that the focus is on the moment of creation instead of the fruition of the final work. By using this approach in the school the students can try out the importance of working together and sharing ideas, experiences, skills. CAREM will develop and test special educational activities, pedagogic materials and strategies based on the collaborative and participative art-making framework. All these activities are relevant to the objectives fixed by the national education guidelines and they are connected to the subject area of linguistics- arts-expression. Italian language, European languages, Music, Arts, Body-Movement-Sports are the disciplines featured. Moreover, all the project s activities are connected to Citizenship and Constitution, which is one of the subjects provided in the Italian school curriculum. The chart below shows some possible connections which have been identified among the activities developed within CAREM project, the objectives listed in the national guidelines, the pertinent subject areas and the Key competences in the European reference framework 10. Activities developed within the CAREM Project Curriculum objectives/ related guidelines Subject Areas EU Key-competences a)group of activities: Intercultural Education -providing support for the construction of people s tolerance and self-awareness; -interacting with other cultures, understanding and comparing them to one s - Italian Language - Music - Arts and image -Body-Movement- KC1-Communication in the mother tongue; KC5- Learning to learn; KC6-Social and civic competences; 9 Di Nocera Maria et al. Una riflessione sui bisogni educativi speciali attraverso una ricerca. Dipartimento di Psicologia Dinamica e Clinica. Facoltà di Psicologia 1 La Sapienza, Università di Roma. Numero: 10- giugno Anno II; at: 10
7 own language -acknowledging and guaranteeing freedom and equality respecting everyone s differences and identities. Sports -Citizenship and Constitution KC8- Cultural awareness and expression. b) Group of activities Marginalisation Reduction -supporting diversity, disadvantages and disabilities in all their forms; -acknowledging and enhancing individual characteristics, preventing the difference from becoming inequality. -Italian Language -Music -Arts and image -Citizenship and Constitution -Body-Movement- Sports KC1-Communication in the mother tongue; KC5- Learning to learn; KC6-Social and civic competences; KC8- Cultural awareness and expression. c) Group of activities: Democratic European Citizenship -educating to a unified but plural citizenship -educating to coexistence, by enhancing the different identities and cultural roots. -Italian Language - European Languages -Music -Arts and image -Body-Movement- Sports -Citizenship Constitution and KC1- Communication in the mother tongue; KC2- Communication in foreign languages; KC5- Learning to learn; KC6-Social and civic competences; KC8- Cultural awareness & expression. The transversal objectives outlined in National Guidelines that CAREM tries to achieve are the following: -enhancing pupils own knowledge and experiences; -carrying out proper actions towards diversity; -fostering exploration and discovery; -encouraging collaborative learning; -raising awareness on pupils own way of learning; -carrying out didactic workshops.
8 All these goals can be reached at a very early stage of pupils educational process, thanks to specific education programs that make use of innovative and participative methodologies, such as collaborative artmaking. Indeed, pupils will learn-by-doing through experiments, manipulations, narrations, games, artistic and musical expressions. The social dimension of learning plays a significant role within school environments, which privilege teacher-centred-methods, that are not suitable to foster inclusive and participative education. A collaborative approach at school should be encouraged instead as it motivates students and fosters critical and creative-thinking, mutual respect and group spirit. In addition, the project encourages the exchange of educational experiences all across Europe. The activities developed within the CAREM framework will be tested in schools and education centres involved in to the project, in order to evaluate their suitability to the local context. Thanks to that, both teachers and pupils will actively participate in the project and contribute to the improvement of the activities developed. The didactic tools and materials (i.e. teacher s guide, booklet of activities), to be developed during the project, will provide teachers with a didactic support about collaborative art-making approach and new methodologies, meeting a need that is increasingly perceived in school contexts. As a matter of facts, teachers often have to cope with new socio-cultural challenges arising in the school context without the appropriate training and theoretical support. CAREM responds to their needs by creating innovative learning programs for educators on how to use collaborative art making and other participatory approaches, aimed at supporting inclusiveness in school and educational paths.
9 References AA.VV., 2001, Obbligo scolastico e obbligo formativo. Sistema italiano e confronto europeo, in Studi e Documenti degli Annali della Pubblica Istruzione, n. 92/93, Le Monnier, downloadable at: Associazione TreeLLLe, 2002, Scuola italiana, scuola europea. Dati e confronti, Quaderno n. 1 maggio 2002, downloadable at: Benadusi L., Niceforo O., 2010, Obbligo scolastico o di istruzione: alla ricerca dell equità, working paper n. 27 della Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, marzo 2010, downloadable at: O._Niceforo Obbligo_scolastico_o_di_istruzione_- _FGA_WP27.pdf Di Nocera Maria et al. Una riflessione sui bisogni educativi speciali attraverso una ricerca Dipartimento di Psicologia Dinamica e Clinica. Facoltà di Psicologia 1 La Sapienza, Università di Roma. Numero: 10- giugno Anno II; at: MIUR, 2010b, La presenza degli alunni stranieri nelle scuole statali, downloadable at: 8ccd4ce23a40e5c6/focus_in_breve_1_2010_.pdf MIUR, 2012, Indicazioni nazionali per il curricolo della scuola dell infanzia e del primo ciclo d istruzione, 2012, downloadable at ac3-a9c c00aaf/prot5559_12_all1_indicazioni_nazionali.pdf Mario Calidoni, 2007, Insegnare con i concetti. Arte e immagine. Milano, Franco Angeli. MIUR -ISMU, Alunni con cittadinanza non italiana. Approfondimenti e analisi. Rapporto nazionale a.s. 2011/2012, Gennaio 2013, downloadable at: Moscati R., Nigris E., Tramma S., 2008, Dentro e fuori la scuola, Bruno Mondadori, Milano. Rossi-Doria M., 2009, Di mestiere faccio il maestro, L Ancora del Mediterraneo, Napoli