Sent by Enrico Maranzana – For many years the middle school has been seen as the weak link in the school system; the way to remedy this ineffectiveness, however, has never been identified, also because the problem has not been placed in an adequate framework.
Yet the sphere of reference was and is in full evidence. Consider the incipit of the national indications of 2004: “The 1st grade secondary school, confirming a tradition started in 1963 and consolidated in 1979, renews its intention to promote training processes as it is concerned with using knowledge (knowledge) and doing (skills) … to harmoniously develop the pupils’ personality in all directions and to allow them to act in a mature and responsible manner”.
This is a twenty-year policy, reinforced by current legislation; the question arises spontaneously: why were these expectations not met?
Reading the aforementioned ministerial document provides the basis for developing a plausible answer.
In fact, it indicates: ”The essential levels of performance to which all lower secondary schools are required. At the end of the third year, the school organized unitary educational and didactic activities for the student which had the aim of helping him to transform the following (listed) knowledge and personal skills into personal skills”.
The two paragraphs transcribed allow us to focus on the constraints which the activity of the schools must comply with, the non-observance of which is at the origin of the dysfunction:
1) Organize unitary educational and didactic activities. Was the school management characterized by the planning of itineraries whose goals (mature and responsible behavior) were pursued by all the teachings?
2) Use knowledge and skills. Has the ancient concept of school aimed at the transmission of knowledge been overcome? The denunciation of the previous education minister, Patrizio Bianchi, on the “obsessive myth of the program” is significant.
3) Transform into skills. Has a univocal and shared meaning been attributed to the term competence? This is an issue that the ministry has addressed, considering it one of the “most recurring problems in the world of schools, consisting of the use of expressions and terms to which different meanings are attributed”.
The enabling law of 2003 is decisive: there are general competences, whose components are skills and knowledge, and specific competences, a mix of skills and knowledge. Have the schools understood the term ability as an expression of potential, distinguishing it from ability, which refers to acquired behaviours? Have the schools oriented the “educational action planning” of the institute to the development of skills? Did the schools use the skills exclusively to monitor learning processes?
Rationality would like us to investigate the management of schools and compliance with system rules before talking about the weak link.
Middle school, before talking about a weak link, investigate the management of schools and compliance with the rules of the system. Letter – Horizon School News