Proximity education in the days on social distancing
Since the end of last February, like everyone else in Italy, the guests of the residential structures of Farsi Prossimo Onlus have been living in isolation without the chance to go out. Beyond the obvious discomforts that it has created, this emergency has made it possible for both the operators and the guests who benefit from the services to adapt and act on their own initiative, and has revealed unexpected opportunities on several fronts.
In an emergency that, even before the suspension of travel and work activities on site, imposed the closure of all schools and the interruption of teaching activities in Italy, Farsi Prossimo Onlus has placed at the centre of its priorities, in addition to guaranteeing the continuity of the provision of basic services, educational and health care assistance, schooling, training and linguistic tutoring of its users.
Why? Would the consequences of a suspension of studies have such a negative impact on the learning path of students in the different communities?
Paola Piras, trainer employed by Farsi Prossimo Onlus, says that the answer has to be found at a relational level. It comes from this intuition ‘From distance learning to close learning’, a training course addressed to the team of Italian as a second language teachers, which focuses on relational needs. From one meeting to another, starting from a reflection on strategies to reduce distances in distance learning and on the ways to relate through the new tools available, they explore platforms and software to interact remotely and their potential, the forms of teaching through synchronous and asynchronous classes.
With the growth of online learning offers, several technical needs have gradually emerged in the various communities. The Intercultural Day Care Centre has been at the forefront with its partners to ensure that the necessary equipment could be available to offer the online courses that have primarily served the communities for unaccompanied migrant children, mother-child communities and women’s communities.
The educators, privileged observers of the recipients of this new mode of learning, stress its critical aspects and advantages. Despite the logistical difficulties (management of spaces; stability of connections; lack of direct interaction with the teacher), all emphasize the student’s empowerment that this modality entails and the strengthening of digital literacy even for younger users, so confident in the use of social media, but often uncomfortable even in elementary digital operations, such as sending an email. Both of them will be precious resources for their greater and personal involvement in future choices.