20 SES 08 JS, Pedagogical Agents Dealing with Challenges in School Regarding Inclusion and Interculturality
Joint Paper Session NW 07 and NW 20
This paper aims to critically illustrate the practices of inclusion (and exclusion) of religious minorities implemented in Italian schools over the past twenty years.
In this period the migration and the presence of pupils with non-Italian citizenship have redesigned the national and local society in Italy in the direction of multiculturalism and multi-religiousness.
This has brought into question many areas of school management: first of all the didactics, or the types of teachings to be offered to students regarding religious traditions (mono / pluri confessional or non-confessional and pluralistic, etc.); and secondly the governance of educational institutions, ie the degrees of inclusion and participation reserved for families, communities and religious actors in the framework of an open and democratic school management on a territorial basis.
In Italy in 1984 the State and the Catholic Church signed an agreement under which the State assured those who wished, to teach them the Catholic religion. In recent years in Italy, following the increased presence of foreign students, we are witnessing the emergence of experimental local practices that, in the absence of a complete and organic design, testify to a liveliness of intentions and attempts to rethink the public school offer. according to the religious pluralism of the students and their communities.
One can recall, by way of example, several recent initiatives: the ten-year experience (1998-2008) promoted by the Rome Inter-religious Table, which brought to the Roman schools "official" exponents of the main religious groups present in the Capital; the not dissimilar proposal of the Centro Astalli currently addressed to some classes of secondary schools in Rome; or, again, the “Face to Faith” program of the 'Tony Blair Faith Foundation', landed, thanks to an agreement with the MIUR in 2011, in some Italian secondary schools to encourage dialogue between students of different cultures and religions thanks to the multimedia network tools; the experimentation of the teaching of 'History of religions' starting from the school year 2010/2011 in different schools of Rome and Turin thanks to the collaboration between universities (University of Turin, Rome Sapienza, Roma Tre) and associationism ('Acmos', 'UVA-Universoaltro', 'Welcome to Italy'); the 'Intercultural Education through Religious Studies' program, currently coordinated by the Ca' Foscari University of Venice.
These are experiences of a heterogeneous nature, often implemented both in state and private schools. Born mostly in an impromptu way and in the absence of a shared planning at national level, these experiences are potentially a harbinger of effective principles and methods, because they are related to the contexts and needs of local actors.
Such practices of including the knowledge of minority religions must be contextualised within what is happening in Europe regarding the evolution of religious teachings in schools. Indeed, they are carried out in dialogue with similar European experiences, but they are differentiated because of the Italian historical and social specificities.
It is therefore proposed to analyze some of these experiences (based on the documentation produced) to consider what needs are being made, what kind of changes they make, but above all what are the reasons for the educational policies they intend to adopt, proposing themselves as a new way of managing "religious cultures" tailored to public schools.
Methodology: critical analysis of texts and contexts. Sources: documentation produced by Italian schools, the Italian Ministry of Education, the European Community
The new inclusion practices describe a moving scenario with multiple implications
Pajer, F. (2007). L’apprendimento religioso in una Europa multireligiosa. Gestire la transizione dell’Irc verso un nuovo profilo scientifico ed educativo della cultura religiosa, in R. De Vita, E. Berti, L. Nasi (a cura di), Ugualmente diversi. Culture, religioni, diritti. Milano: Vita & Pensiero; Ferrari, A. (2008). ‘La scuola italiana di fronte al paradigma musulmano’, in Id. (a cura di), Islam in Europa/Islam in Italia tra diritto e società. Bologna: Il Mulino; Mentasti, L., Ottaviano, C. (2008). Cento cieli in classe. Pratiche, segni e simboli religiosi nella scuola multiculturale. Milano: Unicopli; Canta, C. (2012), ‘Scenari per l'insegnamento della cultura religiosa in Italia’, in Salvarani (a cura di), Perchè le religioni a scuola?. Bologna: EMI. Arici, F., Gabbiadini, R., Moscato, M.T., (a cura di) (2014). La risorsa religione e i suoi dinamismi. Studi multidisciplinari in dialogo. Milano: Franco Angeli. Moscato, M.T., Gatti, R., Caputo, M., (a cura di) (2012). Crescere tra vecchi e nuovi dei. L’esperienza religiosa in prospettiva multidisciplinare. Roma: Armando. Jackson, R., Miedema, W., Weisse, J.P., Willaime, W. (2007). Religion and Education in Europe. Developments, Contexts and Debates. Münster: Waxmann; De Souza, M., Durka, G, Engebretson K., Jackson, R., & Mcgrady, A. (Eds.). (2008). International Handbook of the Religious, Moral and Spiritual Dimensions in Education. Dordrecht/London/NY: Springer; Engebretson, K., de Souza, M., Durka, G., & Gearon, L. (2010). International Handbook of Inter-Religious Education. Dordrecht/London/NY: Springer.
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