While the Minister of Education Marco Bussetti asks the teachers to moderate the amount of summer exercises, one wonders: do the tasks need to be done? We asked Alberto Pellai for his opinion and some advice. So you don’t have to go to the last minute and enjoy your holidays.
Last day of school: for the majority of Italian students the school year closes today and the long-awaited holidays begin. Translated: thirteen (yes, 13) weeks of summer break from desks & blackboards, thirteen weeks of organizational tetris for working parents and thirteen weeks to complete summer homework.
The Minister of Education Marco Bussetti asked the teachers for ‘moderation’ in the volume of the exercises, raising some perplexity on the part of the teachers. The Anief, for example, through the mouth of President Marcello Pacifico, comments: “As a general advice it can be fine, but on two conditions: the first is that the minister studies a lot during the summer because the school as it is will get worse and worse, the second is that it should be remembered that if a teacher decides to allocate more or less homework to pupils, he does so with full knowledge of the facts and always for their own good”.
But does summer homework serve any purpose?
Every June the debate opens and a comparison with our “neighbours” can be useful. If in France and Spain the question of the appropriateness of tasks is still on the table, in Germany there are no real holiday tasks because the same school organization is different: the institutes close for only 6 weeks, in a period between mid-June and mid-August, changing the calendar every two years depending on the Laender, that is, the federal regions to which they belong. Please note, however, that during the year the pupils have weekly breaks (one of which is long for Pentecost), which do not always coincide with their parents’ holidays (with the consequent organisational tetris there too, although limited to one week at a time). A similar model exists also in England and in the northern European countries, among which Finland stands out, bearer of the most innovative school projects. That is to say: no scanning of teaching into disciplines, teaching based on experiential and transversal laboratories and no homework.
So, “The tasks of the holidays are a decision of the teacher: it is not up to the parents to criticize the model of work,” says Alberto Pellai, doctor and psychotherapist of the developmental age (famous for his L’età dello tsunami, published by DeAgostini for which he recently published The first kiss). In a school organization like ours, still traditionally structured on a long (very long!) summer break, some exercises must be done: but how?
Pellai offers us some practical suggestions to transform the much hated tasks into a truly formative opportunity.