Accepted Paper:

When diversity enters the classroom: experiences from a Slovenian minority school on the Italian border  


Lucia Rodeghiero (University Milano Bicocca)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will discuss how "diversity" is practiced and theorized in the context of a minority school, in its school programs, everyday life and school texts.

Paper long abstract:

Even if Slovene minority schools in Italy are intended for the autochthonous Slovene minority, in recent times the minority school had to adapt itself to the changing social environment (the enlargement of the European Union and the immigration phenomenon) of which it is part. Therefore a school which was designed only for the Slovenian minority group is now attended also by Italian and foreigner (mostly from the ex Yugoslav republics) pupils.

In the school where I did my ethnographic work (in the Trieste district ) teachers have to cope with diversity, defined both as the status of being a minority school, and as the ethnic, religious, national and linguistic different belongings of pupils in the school. Teachers have to adjust their classes (the used language and some of the taught items) to the new situation.

Moreover not every teacher identifies him/herself with the Slovenian ethnic belonging and this fact complicates the situation. A constant, shifting and never definitive definition of the self and the other takes place during the lessons; but it can also be inferred leafing through the school texts used in the school, where terms like diversity, ethnicity, nationality, identity are used without any problematization.

In this context my presence as anthropologist inside the classroom was anything but neutral and I had to face dilemmas about the eventuality of reacting or not to the requests of the school itself.

This paper investigates both the practical situation inside this specific school and the theoretical problem of a lack of an anthropological training and awareness among the people concerned in the educational endeavour.

Furthermore, what kind of tools would these teachers need to deal with a diversity of which they are often part?

Panel W091
Teaching diversity (workshop of the EASA TAN network)