DESCRIPTION OF THE EXPERIENCE
In Italy the presence of foreign students is a structural matter and concerns the entire school system. For this reason, it is necessary to identify best practices and spread them according to the Educational Plan offer and the school autonomy, in agreement with local authorities and other institutions that interact in the territory to develop integration. Intercultural education is the premise of the specificity of training courses for foreign students. And the school is the central place for creating and sharing common rules, because good practices can be put into action in everyday life and historical, social, legal and economic knowledge can be transmitted to students.
The Institute "Sassetti – Peruzzi" is located in an area with the presence of many non-Italian-speaking families, who are mainly of Chinese origin. For this reason, last year the school decided to start an experimental project with two parallel classes with the aim to linguistically strengthen both groups. One class had pre-basic/basic linguistic level students whose mother tongue was Chinese, and the other with students of B1-B2 level of Italian, of various origins (Italian, Chinese and other nationalities). The basic-level and mono-ethnic class would have a support teacher for economics and law. The two classes would then participate in visits outside the school, movies and other activities in order to integrate students of Chinese origin with the others. It has to be said though that, due to internal reasons (change of ongoing classes, withdrawal of students of legal age, the alternation of several teachers on the same chair, support teacher arrived only in February), the two classes have shared various activities, such as visits to get to know the neighborhood. The teachers of Italian have also worked together on the same topics.
During the current school year, several intercultural activities were carried out:
Welcome: Chinese students were welcome and introduced in the school with the help of a support teacher, COSPE experts and University students who perform training periods of approximately 150 hours to follow our students, led by regular teachers.
Filling out questionnaires on the competences in L1, bilingual, administered to all students in the first year; Italian students did them in English.
Between September and November literacy courses for multiple language levels were carried out (pre-basic and A1 which will continue in January/February, A2 and two courses at different levels to develop writing and text comprehension skills, one at basic and one at advanced level, for students in the last three curriculum years).
On the day of general discussion with families, the parents of the Chinese students were summoned in the morning and, with the help of the mediator, critical issues for the students were brought up and discussed both by the school and by parents, although few Chinese parents turned up on the day.
Relationship with the territory and other educational or cultural realities:
A partnership with COSPE (the main interlocutor for integration problems) was issued.
The school joined a partnership with the vocational technical school N.2 in Rui'an in the district of Wenzhou and it has been suggested to organize an exchange with China in the next school year.
Relationships have also been developed with the S. Egidio community. They proposed meetings with parents of the foreign students, study aid given by students in the first two years of the upper-secondary school to primary school students, and meetings on topical issues for the students in the last three upper-secondary school years.