Q 1: It would be interesting to understand who educates teachers. I’ll explain; each teacher sets their own teaching based on their experiences and skills, passions and professionalism. We have not all developed the same contents in the same way, so how can we develop an educational action that presents a certain homogeneity among teachers? Especially today, forced to do distance learning due to the pandemic situation.
This question is very complicated, we talk about squaring a circle. To begin with, I am convinced that educators are formed with educators, for example, I am the fruit of the encounter with other teachers. What helped me a lot was to enter the different classrooms and see what others are doing, this gave me a decisive perspective, that is, that each of us has its own strength. For example: who is able to make the groups work together, who is able to make the pupils talk etc etc .
This question is quite complicated at the moment, especially for a class like teachers who are very low-cut. The teachers are often self-referential, microclimates are established so much that there is no longer a homogeneous evaluation. This problem can only be solved by working together.
By working in a team, it could be possible to form teaching that is useful and formative, that makes our students ready to face real reality. To face the real reality you don’t need purely disciplinary skills, but relational and metacognitive skills which, net of the disciplinary ones, allow you to face the other and to orient yourself in everyday life.
To better explain this concept, just think that of many types of integrated disciplinarity within our schools only 2 are used: multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity.
Multidisciplinarity means an investigation of an object through various perspectives. For example, imagine a temple of knowledge where each column represents a discipline. From each column I see the object in different ways; each discipline and in this case each teacher does not mind talking to each other, each solves the problem from their own perspective. This methodology may suffice in the scholastic reality but in the reality of life, interdisciplinarity is needed. Interdisciplinarity, on the other hand, involves dialogue between all subjects.
Taking the example of the temple, I no longer look at it from every column but I am close to it and I link all the disciplines, thus putting the roof on the temple of knowledge, but leaving each column with its specialization. This is not easy even for us teachers as we have been accustomed to thinking according to a disciplinary specialization that has shaped our thinking and that society tends to make disappear in order to make integrated disciplinarity appear: for example, “mechatronics” is a discipline which combines mechanics, information technology and electronics.
It is called trans-disciplinarity ‘, which is when the knowledge of one discipline passes into another until it merges. In fact, our cars no longer need only a mechanic but a mechatronic. However, mechatronics is not enough, today we talk about STEM, a science that blends mathematics, technology, information technology, and engineering with the aim of making these disciplines work together. STEM is now considered as the 4 competence in a European key. The first is functional alphabetical, the second is multilingual, the third is mathematical competence and basic scientific-technological competence, the fourth is digital competence, the fifth is learning to learn.
These 5 are not enough, we must in fact consider the sixth which is to have social and civic skills, and finally the seventh which is that of the spirit of initiative and entrepreneurship. But let’s focus on the eighth competence which concerns cultural awareness and expression. If we are not, even in our differences, aware in a unitary way, we cannot carry out the cultural/educational revolution. Think that this last competence is the one that encompasses the whole disciplinary arc of the human sciences, which are not considered in their specificity but in their metacognitive capacity.
In the European key competencies, there are no single school subjects, even physical education is understood in cultural awareness and expression. This is very significant, in fact in this eighth competence there is the key to the educational process as we move from STEM to STEAM because if I want to conceive something that is both beautiful and functional at the same time I have to enter one of the disciplines of awareness which is art. . So STEAM is science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. With this, I would like to say that we cannot transfer to our students a mentality of an operational type in the real world, where the human sciences intervene to make sense of the scientific ones, not because we are less important but because they work on awareness and cultural expression. For example, think of the pillars of the 20th-century revolution, Einstein and Freud, both of high philosophical culture. Einstein states that what is evident to everyone does not necessarily have the obvious.
What does it mean? To train the students as we wish, that is, capable of facing reality and aware of themselves, we must necessarily go through the formation of ourselves; How? working together. When several people work together, a very powerful synergy is established which represents the principle through which teaching can be renewed. The national indications tell us what we must do but not the how and the difficulty lies precisely in this, to make knowledge a mentality. But how can we do this? Perhaps we can develop our skills so that they become “Aware Automatisms”.
And here comes the word awareness.
Let’s take the example to tidy up your workstation (chair and desk): when the pupils leave the classroom they should arrange their workstation. To make this action become aware of Automatism, we need a science that we can only affirm by working together.
Setting up the own workstation must become a mindset through awareness of skill. Let’s analyze: the skill is to put the chair under the counter, awareness is to know that it is right to do it and automatism means that it must be an unconditional reflex.
Q2: How do I do this? what is competence?
This is where our conscience comes into play, as the learning room is a training ground for life. it is the same condition of the physical education teacher when he makes the pupils play with rules (fairness, humility etc) that are valid also in real life. How much strength is there behind the sporting rules? The moral force is capable of being a metaphor and reference in many real situations. So let’s go back to talking about automatism aware that it is not competent. Tidying up your workstation in a classroom makes me understand that you have developed aware automatism but not yet the competence; in fact, the latter is there when you rearrange “your station” in different environments. Therefore competence is the application of knowledge in different contexts. Competing means meeting someone, not colliding with someone. This is why physical education is sovereign because its rules of the game also apply in real life. For example, the rule of fairness in sport is applied at the highest level of difficulty so that the word compete leads to the original meaning of meeting someone.
Q3: Teachers can create these conscious automatisms but does family support this, making the student find again divided between 2 perspectives?
This unfortunately is part of the squaring of the circle; international documents speak of an “educating community” of which not only the school but also the family is a part. Parents should be educated about this. For example in the schools where I taught, at the beginning of the year, we have a meeting with the parents to ensure that there is communication and cooperation between teachers and parents during the school year.
Returning to the discussion above, it is we who must break down the barriers between the various disciplines. With the “School and Sport” project made with INDIRE, the physical education teacher asked for my help to make the other teachers understand everything as well. Therefore, more practice should be introduced in schools precisely to develop the skills mentioned above. Teachers must come together to make skills develop into real-life competencies. If all teachers took the same direction it would be much easier to arrive at a tangible result. Our motto, as said last time, must be: maximum flexibility and maximum rigor.
Q4: What happen if I were a Minister?
I would bring teaching to be understood as the union of teachers to plan common initiatives and devise educational strategies and teaching methodologies to develop abilities, knowledge, and skills. To develop a common mentality, it is necessary to create real teaching based on skills where the learning room is experienced as a gym in which there are many instructors who, even if not working together, meet in the same field. Everyone can personalize their teaching while maintaining the same purpose.