Professor Antonella Fucecchi of the Tasso Secondary School in Rome was initially involved in the Get Up and Goals! project to help creating the Teaching and Learning Unit on the subject of Global Migration. Later, she tested the TLU with her students, during the Geo-History hours with the II C class.
The 25 students were arranged into five groups to analyse different aspects of the global migration issue: Migrations in History, Italian emigration, Colonialism and migration, Migration and communication, Five models of integration.
All students involved said they found the subjects intriguing and, despite some inevitable organisational difficulties and the extra-work required, they appreciated the individual work followed by the sharing and talking with their classmates.
"Last year, we were already involved in group projects – says Edoardo – but the results were poor as the topics weren’t interesting. This time, instead, we all liked the subjects".
Riccardo follows: “It wasn’t an easy job as our teacher decided to give us just a few guidelines, so to see what we could do. Then we had to search for our sources, which, in some cases, was hard".
Each group shared the workload among its members, so each student worked on a specific micro-area of the topic.
"Teamwork is not easy - Eugenia says. First of all, there is a lot of individual work to do, and then you have to organise the whole team. Each one of us must do their part well to reach the best possible outcome for the whole group".
Livia echoes: “My group had to analyse 5 integration models from 5 different countries, so we did one each. The main difficulty was finding interesting topics for each country. The risk was repeating the same topics and doing boring work".
All students said the global migration subject was truly fascinating. "First of all, it was crucial to know migrations from a historical point of view - says Edoardo. I was particularly struck by my classmate Francesco, who reported about fake news and how politicians may say things that are not true or only partially true. This confuses people. If they do not go further deep into certain topics, as we did, and stop at what politicians say, they do not have a full picture”.
Beatrice and her group analysed the course of migration during the various stages of human development, learning that "migrations started with homo sapiens, therefore they are not a recent phenomenon. So, we shouldn’t worry about it, but consider it as the normal course of History. This work helped us to better understand what migrations are and how they work".
Caterina also worked on "Migrations in History", concentrating on what Italians call “barbarian invasions” and the Mongol invasion. "I was unaware that other European countries have a different perception of the invasions. In fact, in Italy, France and other Latin countries, they are called "barbarian invasions", while in England or Germany they are called "human migrations" and this struck me very much as it gives you a completely different view. In France or Italy, they are a negative issue, while elsewhere they are positive". Benedetta follows on this idea: "We realised that migrations shouldn’t surprise us, as they have been happening from the beginning of History. Migrations not only had the purpose of populating uninhabited lands or reinforcing already existing populations but brought with them a genetic-cultural background and certainly contributed to shaping the world, which is, and has always been, a constantly-changing melting pot”.
Representation of migrations by the media was another subject. Teresa, one of the participants in the dedicated group, analysed some websites and gave an overview of the most important migration-related films in recent years. "I discovered new aspects of migration I didn't know. I found many interesting websites like Parole O_Stili (in English, ed), or others gathering testimonials by migrants. I think reading their own words is wonderful”.
Having studied different models of integration in five European countries, today Elena feels more prepared to hold a conversation on such a relevant topic: "Surely, anything we learnt was important. Above all, today I know the reasons why migrants are accepted or rejected in some European countries. If I had to tell someone why I support migrations, I would certainly have a much broader background and information and I could motivate my opinions.".
Analysing with her group a number of diasporas, Benedetta was struck by the different levels of interest they appear to raise. “I focused on the Armenian and the Kurdish diasporas. While my classmate researching the Jewish diaspora found plenty of information, I really struggled. For the Armenians, I read “Skylark Farm” by Antonia Arslan. The Kurds were much more complicated. Hopefully, I have read Zerocalcare’s comic “Kobane Calling”. It’s a shame to learn that the Kurdish diaspora is considered less important than the Jewish one”.
All students agreed on a very positive opinion on the whole program, considering both the importance of the subject and the outcomes. "The value of this project – says Livia – stems not only on the studying itself but on the discussion you later have with your classmates. I was struck by learning about fake news or getting to know about some films related to migrations. I would suggest extending the project to other schools, because traditional Geography is no longer enough".
At the end of the year, Professor Fucecchi acknowledged the students’ commitment and cooperation abilities by publicly awarding them a prize during a School event.
"We did not expect such recognition," says Livia on behalf of the class. That’s why both my classmate and I gave a terrible speech in front of the whole School. However, I think it was an important award. I kept the certificate and I intend to hang it in class next year. We must be proud of our reward, which was not assigned to a single person, but to us all, as a group".
CISP and all promoters of Get Up and Goals! deeply thank all II C students and their teacher Fucecchi for sharing their thoughts and for the commitment towards the project, which we are happy to appreciate publicly.
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