The school of the future, designed by the students

What will the school of the future be like? The young people involved will take the floor…#leparolechesiamo, la scuola che vogliamo is a project aimed to directlyinvolve students in creating and shaping the future by making their voices heard.

Now in its third edition, the project #leparolechesiamo, la scuola che vogliamo, promoted by Mondadori Education and the Nuovo Devoto-Oli, this year relies on the collaboration of Intesa Sanpaolo and TraiLab, the laboratory of excellence of the Catholic University which brings together researchers and professors from the faculties of sociology, psychology, economics.

"In Intesa Sanpaolo's commitment there has always been a special attention to young people, their education and training and accordingly their access to the world of work ,which are fully fledged components of our Business Plan.
In the #leparolechesiamo, la scuola che vogliamo project, we acknowledged the value of listening to young people.
The school will actually change only if we will be able to listen to the voice of those who live in the school, and who sometimes, “suffer” it without ever being asked. It is inconceivable not involving young people of today in making choices and in the process of training orientations that will definitely affect the adults of tomorrow.
It will forge their destiny as people and workers. Not paying attention to these voices would mean failing on future generations, which we are responsible for".

Elena Jacobs, Head of Social Development and Relations with Universities

The project

The project took place in 3 phases: listening to students, the idea of concrete projects, the achievement of the best projects. 

Listening to students

The listening phase began with the Future Labs, which has involved 15 groups of students, 190 students from high schools and technical and professional institutes throughout Italy, from Enna to Foggia, from Lecce to Milan, from Prato to Naples, from Rho to Catania and Caltanisetta, asked to highlight, through texts and graphics, the criticalities of the current school system and to imagine viable solutions to contingent problems.
How do you see school today? How will the school look like? What will be the improvements? Which are the elements that tomorrow's adults consider essential today? These are some of the questions students began with, starting to narrate their experiences, expressing their dreams and expectations in order to develop concrete and achievable projects.
The children, gathered in experiential listening workshops conducted by a team of TraiLab psychologists and sociologists, were asked to highlight, through texts and graphics, critical issues of the current school system and to imagine viable solutions to contingent problems.
From the Future Lab emerged a light and shadow picture of the Italian school situation: many problems and huge discomfort in living at school, but also a lot of positivity and confidence about the future. Students are willing to do and to take part in bringing change, they want to be key players in pursuing their training path and their individual growth. In particular, with regard to the boys:

  • they are open to dialogue and discussion - they believe and trust the school system even if they transfer a bitter vision of the present
  • they want to be key players of their training process - they crave for taking part in the process of building knowledge and for being at the heart of the education
  • tend to live in the "here and now” - they would like an updated and engaging educational proposal, strongly connected to the development of soft skills and transversal skills required by the world of work
  • they feel little listened to - they feel a certain relational distance with the professors who are sometimes only interested in the program; this generates uneasiness, insecurity and brings up the request for moments of meetings and exchange of views with their professors themselves so to improve the educational relationship
  • they do not pay too much attention to technology - probably being digital natives they consider the technological tools available already outdated or inefficient, but above all they believe that the transformation of the school does not pass from technology, but from the relationships between students, with teachers and with the outside world
  • they are attentive to the condition of school infrastructures - they would like public transport, school buildings, well-kept and tidy laboratories, but they think that this is an unattainable desire for which they propose to relocate the school to museums, parks, companies, or wherever facilities closer to their wishes.

The children’s stories have been collected in an ebook, available for free on the web site.

The conception of the projects

The project has been carried on with the involvement of a larger parterre of students and with a Call to challenge launched in schools of all grades to develop sustainable ideas capable of solving the most urgent problems of the Italian school system.
The contest has focused on three fundamental drivers of great relevance: inclusion, sustainability and innovation.

Over 4000 children from 174 schools throughout Italy, equally distributed among primary, secondary and high schools, described and planned with words, drawings and videos about how they would want the school to be like. Colorful classrooms equipped with modern technologies, but also meeting spaces, laboratories and libraries, up to vegetable gardens with small animals among the wishes of Italian students who imagine a school open to everyone, in respect of the environment and prepares them for the future.
The developed projects have been evaluated by a jury of experts.

These are the three schools that have developed the winning projects in the online event last October 7:

  • Circolo E. De Amicis di Lecce - primary school - has designed a more technological, greener and more inclusive school, with spaces equipped for school time and with many plants and animals to discover
  • Istituto Comprensivo Rina Monti Stella di Verbania - lower secondary school – has suggested to innovate the school through a path focused on the five senses
  • I.I.S. Euclide di Bova Marina - secondary school - has identified five macro-areas of intervention to make the school more inclusive and innovative and guarantee the enhancement of individual talents.

Watch the video to understand what tomorrow's school will be like.

The implementation of projects

To concretely start the change, two projects - selected and evaluated by a board of experts - are now accompanied to the realization through the start of the crowdfunding campaign. An essential step that will allow the collection of the necessary funds to transform the desires of children into reality, realizing at least in part the dream of a better school.

Also, with this collaboration we want to accompany the students through building a world and a society that allows them to fulfill themselves as individuals, aiming to fill the gaps that force those who are most disadvantaged to have less chance in this process.



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