The second week of the job shadowing is over and all the uncertainties and fears have gradually faded thanks to the kindness of Per Esempio staff, workers at Borgo Vecchio school and especially to the children.
One of the main constraints I have had to deal with is language. You try to say something, but people don’t understand you, sometimes it is frustrating, which makes me think of children, who often even speak our language, but we don’t understand what they are telling us. We don’t understand their attitudes; we don’t attend their needs because we are so focused on ourselves and our problems.
The children have shown me that they have a great empathic capacity. They have endeavored to understand me, paying attention to my grimaces, gestures and patience when trying to communicate, allowing me to integrate into their world. They haven’t let verbal language be a limiting factor in our interaction. Many times their solidarity has gone further and they have taught me words in Italian to allow me help them in their tasks. Our communication has often been based on sounds, gestures, signs and especially smiles.
This week I had the opportunity to observe more closely the work of youth workers with the children at school in Borgo Vecchio. I realize that their work goes beyond helping them with their tasks: actually all the people working there have become a second family for these children. They have established an affective relationship that in my opinion benefits both the child and the person who educates.
Also this week I had the opportunity to meet another organization that is working with projects related to Early School Leaving, ZEN Insieme Laboratory, and the director of the Organization Mariangela Di Gangi.
The work that has been done is admirable, they have managed to establish themselves in the area called “ZEN” and they have their own infrastructure and equipment to carry out their activities. It was a surprise to see all the children running to embrace and kiss Mariangela when they saw her arrive. Watching her playing a very important role in their lives once again helped me to realize the importance of affective development in children and how this plays a vital role in working against ESL.
However, if we recognize the importance of learning through experience and observation, we also accept the role that psychosocial and affective development plays at this stage and the great value of promoting self-esteem and trust in the child. Generating from early stages of life, this achievement has a great impact on school performance and learning. Positive feelings guarantee self-confidence to the children and give them very important clues about whether what they are doing is right or not. The child’s interest and motivation are closely linked to affective aspects. I have observed that the physical approach, through the touch and positive caresses is a good demonstration that helps children to feel integrated.
I realize that the work is not only concentrated on educators: the families as the first educational context need to reflect on their educational guidelines and become aware of their role in the education of their sons and daughters. The current reality is hectic and this has repercussions on the children’s life, which alternately emerge in school and family contexts such as lack of interest, lack of motivation, dependence, poor performance, school failure, violence, etc. Society, families, schools or students, independently, can’t be blamed in the abstract, but the lack of interaction among all of them is what propitiates this situation.
Just as the human being is inseparable from his/her learning ability, he/she is also inseparable from his/her emotions and emotional states and it is demonstrated that these ones favor the creation of learning, so it is important to create a positive climate and to favor positive emotions to predispose them to learning.
The new patterns concerning children and youngsters education call for a momentous turn to take place in the Third Millennium, a turn that concerns us all because we are protagonists of it. It is up to each of us to learn the new concepts of age evolution from the double point of view of personality and actions.