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“The choice of young people depends on their inclinations, but also on the luck of meeting a great master”. Rita Levi-Montalcini

With the arrival of the new year, more or less, we find ourselves taking stock of what we have done and what we intend to do in the days to come.

It is the evening of January 1st as I write what you are reading and just before starting to tick my fingers on my pc I thought: “The first article of 2023 is a responsibility”, not that it isn’t for all of us in any other day of the year, but the thought went by itself and I said to myself “do well, do better”.

I didn’t know what I wanted to tell you about until a few days ago I saw the film “Dead Poets Society” on TV. Crossed by various emotional states, all the blog articles came back to me. I was overwhelmed by the words of the kids who wrote about Papillon and the teachers, psychologists and psychotherapists who interact with them on a daily basis and talk to us about it.

Let’s go back to the movie that ignited a spark for me. Not that I’ve never seen it but this time it was something new. A story set in the 60s where a group of adolescent students attend a boys’ school in which the most important thing seems to be discipline and the achievement of a destiny already written for them by the rigid and bourgeois families from which they come.

Professor Keating (renamed “Captain” by the boys), played by actor Robin Williams will make them glimpse the hope of the possibility of a different life, a life where each of them can express themselves, pursue their dreams, without necessarily having to adapt to the life that a reactionary society imposes.

Keating is warned by other teachers of the institute about the dangers of his attitude towards his students in an attempt to encourage them to be free thinkers, to look at things from every angle even when they think they already know enough.

“Whatever people say, words and ideas can change the world”. This is just one of the phrases spoken by the professor that perhaps ignited in me the desire to underline the importance and responsibility that some people have, due to the professional role they play, in the lives of children and adolescents in such delicate moments of their life.

I feel I have to recognize the good work that Professor Sara Lazzaro does in the school with the kids. I would like to thank all of them who write about Papillon with the desire and curiosity to know, ask and express their ideas. Guys full of courage …free thinkers.

Thanks to Dr. Maria Giubettini who collects their questions and provides them with answers that don’t come from anywhere else. And to Dr. Marco Michelini who addresses very important issues on unconscious dynamics. And to all the others who always offer excellent food for thought.

I would like to conclude by adding that it would be really essential that in schools, in addition to knowledge and skills, greater importance could be given to the relationship, to the relationship that is established with the students. I read an article by Antonio Vigilante ( which offers further insights into the subject, also from an economic, political and social point of view. Specifically, it focuses on the Invalsi tests and on the risk of seeing the Italian school very centered on a method that risks monopolizing classroom lessons and increasingly resembling models that have led other countries to not very reassuring results.

If we really began to see school not as a factory ready to churn out work production machines, which only considers grades and stimulates competitiveness, if all students of all social backgrounds had the same opportunities, if no one was left behind and if the psychological, relational aspect assumes a relevant centrality, we would see things change. A valid teacher makes the difference, and how if she does, but it would be right if she were put in the condition of not being an exception.

Watch the movie again if you like. Welcome 2023. Let’s get busy.

Valeria Verna


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“The choice of young people depends on their inclinations, but also on the luck of meeting a great master”. Rita Levi-Montalcini