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Australia - Fill hearts and minds even if classes are empty

11 May 2020

(ANS - Sidney) - The classrooms are closed, the school playgrounds are empty and the staff classrooms are silent. A normal school day now comes to life through a screen and headphones. But in a period of uncertainty and change, one thing remains constant: teachers will find a way to teach and students will find a way to learn.

However, one wonders: what is the most important element of our Salesian education? Is it really a building or technology that is fundamental? Clearly, classrooms and technology play an important role. With the devices that are used in classrooms, teachers can take students anywhere in the world, they can show them the recreations of atoms and they can open their minds to new arts and cultures. It is always thanks to technology that children, from home, can continue to learn, connecting to the internet and following lessons thanks to a screen and a microphone.

But one cannot help but think of the many young people who do not have certain comforts at home and who now run a great risk of falling behind their peers. Where before a good teacher could integrate their learning and help them overcome challenges, today we are limited to the screens, cameras and microphones we have - or lack.

It thus becomes clear what the fundamental element of Salesian education is: young people. Teachers, educators and leaders all have important roles, but without young people, you cannot be a Salesian. The core of Salesian education must remain constant and these difficult times have made it abundantly clear.

At the end of this period of isolation, in fact, young people will not remember the countless exercises, but they will remember the person who asked: "How are you?". They will remember the time when we changed our plans to meet their needs. They will remember the friendly face that took the time to connect and share a laugh with them.

This is an appeal for the renewal of the Salesian Family. This period of physical and social distance should reorientate our vision and efforts. Salesian education should not rely on buildings, structures, documents, meetings and programs. They are important, of course, but they are not the fundamental element. This isolation gave us an idea of ​​what the real needs of young people are and when we return to our normal life, it is important to continue making sure that "young people feel loved".

Source: The Links 

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