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The Freinet Pedagogy today: The contribution of the italian movement




The concept of reality from the time of Freinet to today has  so changed in order of making no more adequate his techniques? In fact more than a reality to be conquered by the lower classes today it is a reality  to which give a meaning.
The reality until a few years ago was considered certain and definite, one and only one, its objective existence was not doubted. It was conceived as the place of human action that transforms the world: something to deal with, to change.  Action was the engine and the first stimulus to know. Today we think of a reality as something  to interpret, to give a meaning, where there are different views of reality and of the world: everyone is called to give a meaning to reality .
If Freinet techniques were adequate and functional to the dissemination of ideas, to awareness, communication, today the  reading of reality is complex, problematic,  and changing according to the views and the many facets of meaning.

At this complexity have put hand to help  to decode the great revolutions paradigmatic which crossed the 900:
* Psychoanalysis
* The new physics
* Cultural anthropology, the humanities
* The history of the Annales ( the durations)
* Structuralism
* Ecology of the environment,  the ecology of the mind
* Systems  and complexity theories
* Genetic epistemology
The list could go on with many other ramifications of the  new fields of knowledge and research.

Therefore the  modes of knowledge changed and are changing, and then the concepts of space and time, reality and abstraction (as  neuroscience evidenced, research on the organization and spatial vision, the new -cognitivism, ...) that affect both communication and mode of learning (in which way do the digital natives learn?) and pedagogical theories, that ideas about the world,  culture, environment and the dynamics of social innovation .

Freinet pedagogy maintaining the essence of its pedagogical  and humanistic vision  and his inspiration for the redemption of the lower classes ( ' pedagogy for the people'), needs to open up to new realities and to the increasingly accelerated knowledge available today.
The MCE has  constantly questioned about how to reconcile the new currents of thought and their offsets and rollovers in models of knowledge and the disciplinary structure with the basis of Freinet pedagogy  without distorting it, finding meaningful coincidences.

  For example between the Heisenberg principle of indetermination, which has questioned the objectivity and the supposed neutrality of science, highlighting the role of the  observer object in changing the observed object, and criticism of Freinet towards an  academic and aseptic science closed in itself.

Or between the contributions of cultural anthropology in debunking the mythology of the race and in the criticism of Euro centrism and ethnocentrism and the attention of Freinet to cultural diversity, to subjectivity, to popular culture in spite of the power of the dominant culture.

Or between the recent discovery of the role of mirror neurons that highlights how the individual is naturally predisposed to intersubjectivity and the function that Freinet assigns  to cooperation and solidarity and co-building  of knowledge.

As well as the use of multimedia technologies: the spirit of Freinet in using those of his time was revolutionary and  alternative. Today some of those techniques have been replaced with more modern and powerful media, but the spirit must remain the same. Teaching  the use of technology has to be at service of man  and women and not the contrary,   the real challenge is to provide alternative critical tools to the "digital natives".

The MCE therefore considers that there is continuity and harmony between the educational and methodological proposals and the invitation constantly reiterated by Freinet and practiced by various scholars and his collaborators (P. Le Bohec, H. Go, Ph. Meirieu, ... ) in different countries around the opening to new instances, new needs, beyond the world of research.
belonging to Freinet in particular we consider  still vital and important the following aspects:
Starting from the child: the learner at the center of the processes of teaching / learning (cfr. Invariants)
the natural method, the tâtonnement
cooperative learning
the democratic organization of the class, its institutions (the Council,the assembly ...)
the shared schedule of school work with the assumption of responsibility by the parties that the implementation of the plan involves
the plurality of materials and sources to face the exclusivity of the textbook
space  to expression and to  the word
the direct exercise of democracy as the construction of citizenship

while the  ritual  scanning of activities with the use of typical forms coming from a different social organization ( coming from the agricultural  world and the worker of the  first half of '900;  let’s think to the' Sayings of Matthew 'with the constant appeal to the' common sense ') seem us frankly outdated or to  be integrated  with more and new supports (the socio-constructivist, cognitive apprenticeship, proximal  area of development, planning with the support of integrator backgrounds , psychomotor , animation, simulation activities and role-playing, ...) .
Accepting and recognizing  these contributions, connecting   to the Freinet pedagogy, and developing them in parallel, we think will give benefit the movement representing a modern school in his complex and could foster the  dialogue and coexistence with other proposals (the Anglo-Saxon world, Portugal, to give two examples).

During the RIDEF of Reggio Emilia the MCE has tried to illustrate with some ateliers such reworking.
In particular these workshop :
- "MCE publications '
- Grundtvig
- Astronomy in the town

 have presented a range of possible activities and  new research directions, but, above all, a method of leading that  we define animation.

Between content and researching  fields that the MCE has introduced in its practice we  point out, as   'outsiders' and unsettling than the classical pedagogy Freinet:

the role of  body education in all activities
the personal history, familiar one (family trees), generational one
the imagination as a reservoir of knowledge
the metaphor
the theory of culture (in the anthropological sense)
a pedagogy of the narration
the education to alternative futures
  Other several proposals circulating in our movements are close to these and also represent variations compared to the original scheme of the  Freinet class .
The proposals on the trees of knowledge and French natural mathematics   as the  co-biographies and collective writing  from Le Bohec,  the Spanish body and telling stories worksops, together with the contents of various Mexicans, Brazilians, Japanese ones.
In many of these proposals  we recognize similarities to grow  in order to exchange, to know us, to enrich and refine our knowledge paths.
We need to exchange and mix together more and more and at the same time to define opportunities for discussion and exchange.

Giancarlo CAVINATO ( translated by Marta Fontana