L’esperienza dell’ITS Aterno-Manthonè di Pescara con Diregiovani, raccontata dalla docente Mariadaniela Sfarra, ambasciatrice di EPALE per l’Abruzzo.

 46 years old and I teach Humanities (II level course) to adults at ITS Aterno-Manthonè(link is external) in Pescara, where I have been working for about ten years. I coordinate training projects and language workshops for native and non-native students. I have been a teaching fellow at the Faculty of Sciences Education at the University of L’Aquila where my specialty is School Dispersion. I have also led several workshops and training courses for secondary school teachers and I am a Tutor Coordinator at the TFA, and Consultant for School Improvement.

I discovered the Epale platform in 2017 when searching the internet for useful ideas for my work. I signed up and published my first article in January 2018, which was about a training project for the promotion of reading among adults which my school had carried out. This contribution was also circulated on the Italian Epale social platforms. Shortly afterwards, I was then invited to report on this experience at the AperiEPALE in Teramo, a promotional event organised by The Italian EPALE NSS. I am currently an Epale Ambassador for Abruzzo.

The situation of students not being able to attend school because of the lockdown measures was effectively managed by enhancing distance learning. This is something that had already been tested in previous years, as required by current legislation for this type of school. The main concern was that the lack of schooling would create a gap between adult students (those who have returned to school) and children, who already have experience of school closures. This did not happen. We were able to use this situation as an opportunity to experiment with new teaching strategies, to use platforms, video lessons, virtual classes and online working groups, and to promote dialogue between teachers and students.

I would like to highlight in particular an artistic-expressive initiative which I promoted using  an autobiographical method involving my first year students and then others from the third and fifth year. It lasted for five months. For the first year students this was a continuation of something they were already used to; familiarising themselves with well-known poems.

The students were invited to write poetic compositions that expressed moods and emotions creatively.

The students were aged between 16 and 44 and, despite the variety of experiences, they were eager to express themselves in an unusual form, with surprising results. They describe the distance from their loved ones, the difficulty of engaging time, resentment, anxiety about work and much more. A student’s reflection: “This desire to run away, this desire to dream” emerges strongly, while another writes, “I miss my classmates, a shoulder beside us when we were in class, and the reassuring gaze of my professors.” The texts are the results of the DaD (Distance Learning Activity) part of the Institute project called “Distant But Close Project” which is promoted by the IdO and the Dire-Diregiovani news agency as part of the activities run by the task force from the Ministry of Education.

All content has been published on the webmagazine called La scuola fa notizia, promoted by diregiovani.it www.diregiovani.it/2020/04/27/311148-pescara-dad-e-poesia-per-gli-studenti-dei-corsi-serali.dg/(link is external) and is also available on Epale (epale.ec.europa.eu/it/blog/sentimenti-versi-nella-dad-al-corso-serale-di-pescara). In the second part of the project, the fifth year students expressed their thoughts about not being able to share the school experience with their classmates and the typical mood of graduates, with their fears and hopes for a better future.

In addition to poetry and narration, photography was also used to communicate the emotions of some first and third year writers.

Click on the following link http://lascuolafanotizia.diregiovani.it/author/itsmanthonepescara/(link is external) to read the papers published by the associates, together with the works coordinated by my colleagues in English and French. The success of the DaD project was demonstrated by the sharing of the contributions published with all those enrolled on the evening course through the closed Facebook group the Institute’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SeraleAternoManthone/(link is external)). This generated a spirit of initiative and desire to get involved.

As we look ahead to the return to class in September, there is little doubt that ICT skills will be better integrated with teaching.

This will no doubt benefit those students enrolled on courses who cannot regularly attend lessons in person. This promises to be an effective means of reducing the risk of early school drop-outs.

EPALE è la piattaforma elettronica per l’apprendimento degli adulti in Europa.
La versione italiana del testo è disponibile qui.