Specchio Magico, the Italian partner of SENSES project, has decided to involve some of the schools in which it operates within this experience; in particular, this took place through training courses for teachers and class meetings, lasting about four weeks, for pupils attending lower secondary school.
The idea behind it was precisely to bring some of the key principles of SENSES to schools, to validate their effectiveness in the field and, at the same time, to receive valuable returns from those who live in the school every day, teachers and pupils.
It is therefore a project created together with the students, to make each intervention as personal and in line with their needs and characteristics. The classes of the three years of lower secondary school worked on 3 different aspects.
In the first classes, the theme was welcoming, understood as knowledge of the new context, knowledge of others and, at the same time, self-knowledge. Specchio Magico operators, through constant sharing with the teachers and their involvement, proposed experiences of self and heteronarrative, of comparison, sharing and negotiation: decision making skills, problem solving skills were trained, organization skills and planning have been supported and it was made a reflection on oneself as unique and unrepeatable subjects.
In the second grades, the theme of autonomy and empowerment has found ample space; through time, space and material management activities, pupils experienced their active role in the learning process; the deepening of cognitive styles and therefore of cognitive functioning guided the construction of a personal study method, the result of the specific skills of each person.
In the third grades, the issue addressed was that of orientation, that is, the choice of secondary school. The project was based on the progressive development of an awareness of themselves, their interests, their abilities and fragilities. Through the investigation of the various intelligences, the identification of their own motivations, the variables that influence the choices, the children had the opportunity to deepen their self-knowledge, to identify functional strategies for decision-making processes and management methods of controversial emotions, such as the desire to grow up and the fear of making mistakes.
Methodologies and materials have been adopted throughout the project aimed at encouraging school inclusion, sharing and comparison; the active participation of the children and the direct involvement of teachers have allowed the emergence of personal dimensions and experiences, the enhancement of the experiences of each and the construction of a complex and progressively developing awareness.
In a moment of discussion, following the training course, the teachers shared some reflections, which we report below, which constitute a stimulus and a guide for the construction of growth paths.
“The reflection on children as individuals and the well-being of the student, taken as it is, even at school, is interesting”; “I liked the playful ludic methodology, the involvement of the teachers with the children”; “The moment of acceptance is a hard point for every institution”; “It was nice because we analyze and review the teacher’s approach, we must also take into account the generational change and our approach”; “The importance of being in tune with fellow teachers”; “We have had the opportunity to question ourselves from a critical point of view”.
The attention to the personal dimension, to active planning, to the development of transversal and relational skills, has constituted a red thread within this project but, at the same time, refers to some of the focuses and objectives on which the SENSES team works.