The idea of undertaking this project with the third class of Liceo Scientifico, the current fourth class, arose from two main reasons: the first one is didactic-educational, that is to say trying to privilege the relationship connecting the present to the past and then to the present day again. Such a connection seems quite essential when you are teaching History and Literature. The other one is the chance to discuss about social problems that have affected Italian society, and not only that, in the last years, such as the immigration phenomenon, the control of immigration flows and of immigrates’ staying.
Thanks to this project we have been able also to privilege innovative didactic strategies such as teaching lab based on team working and on multimedia technologies, which is an essential need for the acquisition of project skills.
We tried to make the students develop an attitude of responsibility and civic sense, experience collaboration and organization, test their abilities, while learning how to overcome difficulties working together when they come up.
The project was aimed at giving young students knowledge, experiences and instruments not to fear diversity. Making them learn how to coexist with each other will lead to a general positive coexistence and this is one of the challenges of our age.
In particular, the main goals of the project were:
- promoting the integration of Italian youngsters with immigrants through knowledge, respect, openness to new cultures, histories and experiences that every immigrant brings with himself;
- stimulating the need for a new meaningful relationship, for meeting the other, that are crucial steps in the processes of growth and personal and civic development;
- guiding students to face the challenges that modern society is posing helping them to adopt a cultural and historical perspective ;
- promoting dialogue between (interlocutors with) different points of view, aiming at the acquisition of an active and self-conscious citizenship.
While discussing the issue of immigration in class, I realized that some students talked about immigration, but, as for many Italians, their knowledge of the phenomenon was filtered by some preconceived ideas and numerous cases reported in the news with a high impact on the public opinion but not representative in themselves.
Our work started from the experiences of some students’ immigrated families, from the discriminations suffered during the first years spent in Italy, on which the students were asked to reflect.
The activity continued with a visit to the reception center of the barrack “Serena” in Quinto di Treviso.
Bearing in mind all the students’ observations, that were compared and discussed in class, we mapped out the script on which we would have to focus our work.
The students were called to wonder about who the stranger really is, why he embarrasses and queries us, why he scares us and if we can go on deceiving ourselves that he is not the same as we are.
The need to select some core themes immediately arose. This was at the expense of other ideas that were less suited to the purpose of the project. The students wanted to prove that the encounter between people from different cultures and ethnic groups has always implied narrow-minded approaches since ancient times. These attitudes have been present in forms of racism and discrimination.
They also show that Italians seem to have lost their historical memory as they don’t recall the times when their own country was a land of emigrants; also, they don’t understand the difference between the condition of their fathers or grandfathers and that of those who are running away from war, hunger and persecution. We investigated the philosophical reflections that brought to the acknowledgement of the human rights: starting from ancient Greece, through modern natural law, to the present time. We discussed about the main social and economic phenomena related to different cultures and connected to the migration issue that characterize our world, and about the main historical developments that involved our territory, still referring to the migration issue.
The class watched some videos to learn the main events that clarified the national and European situation about the migration issue. Then they proceeded by reading documents such as the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions, the Convention On The Rights Of The Child, the Italian Constitution Chart to show that there are laws that protect the human rights, that acknowledge the rights to integration and to promotion of equal opportunities. Then we discussed about the complex issues related to their effective implementation within the different States.
The division of the class into heterogeneous groups followed the setting of the editorial plan. Each group was called to read and re-elaborate material taken from the works of scholars and historians. This activity was followed up by searching the net, in order to collect data, information and images about events that are affecting the territory of our province, our country and the EU and about the measures the institutions are taking to face this new challenge.
We have decided to create a video which appeals to the most favourite means of communication of teenagers, both as producers of information and users. Thus the students have written and translated the script into English, shot the scenes, recorded the narrators’ voices, and finally edited a short documentary in Italian with English subtitles.
Prof. Elena Carbone