Italy – Distance Learning and more. Salesian answers after six weeks of confinement

17 April 2020

(ANS - Rome) - The Covid-19 pandemic has required the school world to find new resources and new languages ​​to normalize what is an extraordinary situation. What seemed like an emergency situation has, instead, become a daily circumstance that has already lasted six weeks. This is how two excellent Salesian institutes - the "Sant’Ambrogio" in Milan and the "Villa Sora" in Frascati – have reacted to the situation.

The "SantAmbrogio" showed right from the start that it was particularly responsive in organizing Distance Education. After a day of training for teachers, Google Classroom was immediately activated, which allows the creation of virtual classes, assigning and receiving materials (photos, videos, links, files) and tasks, but also exchanging private messages. From mid-March the "bell" appears in the form of a link: then the lessons hosted by Google Meet or Zoom begin, without forgetting the videotaped lessons offered in various ways.

School life, normally made of proximity, meeting and dialogue, has thus only been transformed: one of the potentials of digital is the possibility of reaching students in their homes. This was how shy pupils came forward, interacting more actively with teachers and classmates. At the same time, digital has made lessons more captivating by offering a medium closer to children: presentations, videos, interactive lessons are just some of the possibilities available to teachers.

The "Villa Sora" Institute has neither suspended teaching nor students' assessments (also carried out by videoconference), and has not forgotten the parents of the children, starting talks via streaming with them.

“We have rethought the teaching,” says the Dean, Laura Ferrante, “aware that it was not possible to simply transfer online what we did in person, but that we had to preserve the quality of their formation. The second principle that guided us was continuity: maintaining the relationship. More than a month after the start of distance learning, we can say that the model works, for the students' response, for the great enthusiasm of the teachers.”

The Salesian community is also engaged in providing other initiatives: 4 videos of the "Salesian good morning" are offered every day for four different age groups: middle school, biennium, triennium and university students, adults. During Holy Week, several virtual spiritual retreats were proposed. And for adults, a philosophical column has also been created on YouTube that offers a path of reflection and discussion on topics such as suffering and a sense of existence.

“In all these opportunities for meeting, talks and praying, we are only a piece of a mosaic of initiatives that throughout the diocese and throughout the Church have emerged to accompany people in this time of pandemic. We are happy to be part of this Church movement that seeks to be close to people, bringing the Lord to them,” concluded Fr Marco Aspicati, Director of the Institute of Frascati.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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