Piazza, Simone (2008) Scuola, famiglia, comunitĂ : confronto tra culture sinergie locali verso una scuola partecipata e comunitaria. [Ph.D. thesis]
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In this modern global society, where egocentric attitudes lead to the individual feeling fragmented, alone, and ever more competitive, and where educational and social institutions
are ever more strained (the well-known â€ścrisis in education, the family, and other institutionsâ€ť), it becomes of paramount importance, firstly, to comprehend such dynamics,
and, secondly, to cooperate in order to create and build a socio-political and pedagogic path towards global change, with the aim of overcoming the social isolation and devaluation of the
individual, reconstructing a network of relationships and community interactions and ever more active means of participation by all those involved.
The present research starts from the above point of view. On the one hand, information is presented about the cultural and organizational dimensions of current day schooling and the
relationship between the school and the local community, and an alternative model of â€śsocioeducational cultureâ€ť is proposed, based around individuals in a local socio-cultural context.
More specifically, using a mainly ethnographic ideology, a study is undertaken of four primary schools in three different types of neighbourhood (2 in the province of Treviso, 1 in
Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, and 1 in Bogota, Colombia) and their relative local contexts (mainly represented by family and external socio-educational organizations).
On the other hand, using observations which emerge from analysis of the data, and by comparing the existing scientific literature, the research aims to define a proposed model for
an all-inclusive, community-based, state school, both integral to, and integrated in, the local community, within an integrated local education system which in turn is both participatory
and community-based (the pedagogic purpose).
The main findings emerging from the field research were analysed at two levels of interpretation, the level of interpersonal relationships, and the degree of participation in
democratic management. Results showed: how meetings (both formal and informal) were structured; a representation of their educational role; a picture of both interpersonal and interinstitutional relationships at the local internal level; and a view of local participation, of both adults and children, and its role.
Following initial analysis and reconstruction of the local cultural framework specific to each observed context, the second part of the research comprised an intercultural comparison of the
main findings â€“ both frequently recurring and unusual findings. For example, in all four contexts, despite different characteristics, it emerged that the â€ścommunity relationsâ€ť dimension is closely linked to that of â€śparticipatory managementâ€ť, and that in the socioeducational organization equal paths are pursued in the exploitation of relationships, the
humanization of relationships and of conflict management on the one hand, and on the other, of raising awareness, the promotion of a social option (Don Milaniâ€™s â€śI careâ€ť) and a framework of appropriate space for the democratic participation of the different individuals involved â€“ adults and children â€“space where, by comparison and negotiation of â€ścultureâ€ť (meaning, expectations, values), a critical understanding of reality can be triggered, and shared planning of improved ways towards greater humanisation implemented.
The present cross-sectional analysis leads to a vision of the school and local community understood as places to be lived in a new way, being actively participated in, and experienced
as a community of inter-related individuals involved in a mutual process of educational and social improvement.
An interpretative analysis and critical reflection of the pedagogic option adopted, within a framework of school autonomy and a widespread demand for more local self-determination, can be related to authors such as Dewey, Mounier, Freinet, Freire and Milani. These, among others, shared a transformational, liberating and democratic vision they thought important to
recover, both in the school and in the local and wider community, to create foundations for the genuine development of the whole human being, integral to, and integrated in, the local community.
The vision is one of a school, able to discover its own social and political role, and critically confront, even welcome, external requests for a higher quality teaching framework, within a
comprehensive and integrated programme of education, whilst respecting the areas of competence of individuals.
The vision is one of a localised social and educational system, able to renegotiate its own cultural foundations, adopting a shared perspective on which to build the local â€śeducational
communityâ€ť, leading to the prospect of an â€śeducational cityâ€ť (Barcellona, 1990).
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