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“A slow and quality time” A conversation with the pedagogist Marta Tropeano

“A slow and quality time” A conversation with the pedagogist Marta Tropeano

Starting from one of the points considered fundamental in the Law n.170 of 2010, “relational and emotional diseases” I asked Marta Tropeano, pedagogist, teacher and writer of fairy tales, what role emotions have in learning processes: the word “emotion” comes from Latin e-movere which means to let out, move, shake up. Emotions play an important role in our life and work experiences, especially at school for children. It would be desirable today that emotions could be considered natural and human, and for this reason accepted and not managed and/ or controlled… If properly supported by teachers, emotions can become a resource, as well as the content of the education, because the student not only thinks and processes, but “feels” and participates. A school that lets emotions enter the classroom, which “takes advantage” of their natural presence, becomes an institution that engages on a broad front, in which objectives become general because they concern not only education in the classical sense, but «human training»…”

At this point I’d like to reflect on how often I heard words, addressing certain statements even to very young children, such as: “you are now old to make tantrums, you are a little man”, or : “Girls don’t act like that and you get ugly if you cry”.

Here we could open another very interesting chapter on the gender factor as a further differential element in some difficulties showed by children (much more numerous males than females), certainly not for genetic factors (not scientifically proven) but more than anything on how much, in some cases, a certain dominant culture can influence us, from our earliest moments of life, according to our gender.

I wonder why culturally there should be a sort of stigmatization on the way of expressing emotions, so to want to infuse in the child who feels them, a sense of inadequacy that is expressed in “you are not or will not be enough “man” if you behave like this” and in “you’re not and you’re not gonna be pretty enough”.

Let’s talk about children, why “make them adult” or make them feel uncomfortable about something for which they are asking for our help or attention?

In this regards, Tropeano : …” I more and more often meet parents and teachers who think that the child should grow up, become autonomous as quickly as possible (the so-called American pedagogical current of precociousness), without respecting their time of individual autonomy and aiming to consider them as someone who lacks something.

We forget that the child is not an adult but on the contrary a “future adult”…” , ..” teaching and pedagogy have disappeared from school institutions leaving the application only to medical diagnosis and then to the National Health Service…” , .” Unfortunately, today we are witnessing an increase in DSA diagnosis and this can be linked to socio-cultural changes and to the paradigm shift that happened and that placed the health and not the pedagogical aspect at the centre.

I would like to reflect here on the law n.170 of 2010 that regulates ” New rules on specific learning disorders in school” emphasizing “adequate” cognitive skills but with “slowdowns” in learning processes. But perhaps the question is this: “Why do children not learn by traditional methods?”

This last question forces us to reflect on how fundamental it is to take into account the individual characteristics of each person who, perhaps, expresses their difficulties as well as their own qualities in a unique way. That’s why talking about “traditional methods” is discordant. Because it doesn’t take into account many (too many) factors. ” We should, perhaps, question the quality of school programmes.”

Some statements of the pedagogist brought me back to analyze other fundamental points of the Law n.170 of 2010: “To train teachers and to sensitize parents, To favor the communication between school, families and services”. These are essential elements in my opinion, but the reality is that very often it happens that we are not able to meet to carry out a common project that has as its core the quality of life of children, thinking that making a diagnosis solves the problem (thus deresponsibilising all those who have to deal with it).

To do all of this we need that “slow and quality time”, which very often, even because of the frenetic rhythms of adult life, is missing.

I realizethat at the end of every article there are always more questions than answers.

And I wish I can meet more and more people who, like me, never stop wanting to deepen, explore, know.

I personally thank Dr Tropeano for her availability and generosity in sharing her experience, below her final considerations:

“I thank the project Papillon.

As teacher and pedagogist I’ve always tried to consider the “learning relationship as a factor of school and social integration” as central.

Reading and totally agreeing with the article on specific learning disorders (dsa) of the Speech Therapist Dr Valeria Verna, I came up with a reflection on the word Inclusion. It’s a word that has so many meanings and it’s at the same time an open challenge which we find ourselves living in a time, this of globalization, where theoretically the barriers, the borders, the limits should have collapsed and that, instead, they seem to impose themselves with greater strength and determination. I think the Papillon project stands as a “common emotional space” where like an emotional map it guides both us professionals but also parents, teachers, young people and adults towards beauty and communicative diversity”.

Valeria Verna

Thanks to Chiara Fanasca for the translation of this article


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“A slow and quality time” A conversation with the pedagogist Marta Tropeano