07 SES 04 A, Teachers and Intercultural Education
As Italy became an immigrant-receiving nation, it appropriated the intercultural discourse and practices and issued policies aimed to valorize diversity and to promote “democratic values and access to quality education for all children” both at the level of compulsory education and of nurseries and childhood education schools, many of which are instituted and managed by the state and/or the municipal educational office. The early intercultural discourse connected diversity mainly to the cultural, religious or linguistic background of the immigrant families with the indication that they were to be considered as valuable educational resources. Gender soon became also a relevant dimension to be paid attention to in early education. In fact, while the percentage of women teachers had been growing since the late 1950s in every school grade from primary to higher secondary, and were the absolute majority in pre-school, in 1971 the law 1004 instituing state and municipal nursery and childhood schools recognized that men educators could become part of those schools’ educating staff so as to counteract the prejudice that childhood care was the exclusive woman’s responsibility and to provide different role models for the toddlers.
In 2014, in a seminar on intercultural education for nursery educators, I raised the issue of gender diversity since I had had the opportunity to meet two of them and discuss whether, and how, teachers’ gender contributes to the construction of a professional identity, as well as to answering the families’ expectations. I was authorized to collect the narratives of all the men educators working for Florence nursery schools and also observe some of them during school time. The proposal here submitted expands the paper presented at the American Anthropological Association 2014 conference by analyzing all the narratives collected.
F. Gobbo (2004), Cultural intersections: the life story of a Roma cultural mediator, in European Educational Research Journal, 3 (3), 626-641. F. Gobbo (2014), "Send in the clowns!", or the imagination at work: the narratives of three pediatric ward clowns, in Studia Paedagogica, 19 (4) 101-120. F. Gobbo (2014), Bringing up the babies: men educators in Florence nursery schools, paper presented at 2014 AAA conference, Washington D.C., B. Rogoff, The cultural nature of human development, Oxford, Oxford University Press. I. Scheffler (1991), Four languages of education, I. Scheffler, in praise of the cognitive emotions, New York, Routledge.
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