Five characteristics of a Change Maker School: Liceo Attilio Bertolucci

We speak with Aluisi Tosolini about the five main characteristics of the high school Atilio Bertolucci, an Italian scientific, musical and sports school, born 10 years ago in the city of Parma, and chosen as Change Maker by Ashoka Italia.

The first characteristic is that school is the home of the student. Each year, students are told at the beginning of the course that they will not be numbers. As soon as they enter the school it will become their second home for the next five years of study.

The second characteristic is that all students and teachers are protagonists and capable of creating culture, active and critical citizens. This means that they recognize the student as an active person capable of committing themselves and building a new way of being. Culture is a new way of responding to contemporary challenges.

To make all this possible, the school must be a social intellectual capable of researching and adapting to the challenges of contemporary culture, society and globalisation. This means building in large networks, third characteristic of the school. The first of these networks is the network of innovation and educational experimentation. The Liceo along with 22 other Italian schools formed in 2014 a movement known as “Educational Vanguard” that promotes 15 ideas of educational innovation from the base. This movement believes that changes do not happen from the top, but that they occur from the base with schools capable of innovating, with students taking their own responsibility, and thus becoming change makers.

The fourth element that characterises the Lyceum is the commitment to its territory. The school is not an entity outside its territory, but is the social intellectual able to read the educational needs of a territory and respond. It is a very significant commitment that is rarely accepted, since it forces us to read social reality and to commit to respond with creations of culture, with innovation capacity, creating new institutions and new ways of working. This means participating directly, for example, in matters of educational innovation in the digital environment and in the internationalization process.

Being active and critical citizens today means learning to read a new alphabet, the Big Data alphabet. To do this, they have developed a course called mathematical plus, which delves into mathematical concepts with the aim of forming data scientists who are capable of interpreting and responding to problems in the world and in today’s society.

The last feature of the school is the ability to be in networks, European networks, and to be able to use the funding that these networks offer to improve not only school facilities but also the educational offer. Networking for human rights, peace and citizenship. This entails a significant involvement in European and Erasmus projects, in which students work with colleagues from other countries in projects on, for example, climate change. The digital identity and European citizenship grows from below thanks to the students, conscientious children.

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