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Transcultural science at school

The cross-cultural approach finds fruitful and socially relevant ground of application in schools: this by virtue of both their quality of Institution and the specific characteristics that make the school (classes, corridors, canteens, parents-teachers interview rooms ) a significant place for the experience of children and young people and an important hub for communication and development of intercultural skills in adults themselves. In schools, people meet and interact putting into play their own concepts of care, family, education, personal growth, aggregation, future prospects, and the whole constellation of values and emotional experiences related to education.

Transcultural science looks at each individual as an object of cultural transmission and subject of psychological selection: an Italian student - as well as a 'foreigner' - builds his own identity through the experiences of the family, community and peer environment, drawing deeply from daily school experience and how it is interpreted in the family. Different cultures appear in the school starting from Italian families as well as from foreign ones, for this reason the cross-cultural approach in the school always tries to extend to the entire community of an institution. However, it is appropriate to consider how migration phenomena have placed the accent, in Italy, on dimensions of conflict and on difficulties related to 'foreign' pupils (presence, insertion, language, ...): for this reason, working in the school often leads to the introduction of a cross-cultural perspective starting from reports of unease in 'foreign' pupils.

Who is generally understood in Italian schools today with the definition 'foreign pupil'? To pupils children of immigrants it is necessary to add the children of mixed couples, Italian-foreign or foreign parents of different origins. There will therefore be the following groupings (which obviously have overlapping areas):

· Students without Italian citizenship

· Students with Italian citizenship, first generation

· Pupils with Italian citizenship, second generation

· Children of mixed couples (Italian-foreigner, foreigner-foreigner)


Critical areas and intervention

Each of the above situations presents common problems, attributable to the area of insertion in the multiple territorial realities, in the intertwining of languages and cultural norms that underlie the social and interpersonal relationships of the community. Some realities present discomfort knots that decline more specifically, linked to sensitive culture variables such as:

· Experience modality influenced by culturally shaped matrices of meaning

· Migration planning and cultural crossing process

· Ways of living in the territory, of experiencing open spaces, the home, common spaces, institutions, places of social gathering

· Instability of the socio-economic situation, often characterized by changes in status dictated by migration

Problems related to individual identity and the family system triggered by phenomena such as family reunification, working conditions, housing conditions, presence-absence of resident relatives, the possibility of practicing one's religious belief, new interpersonal relationships, ...

In this case, some uncomfortable situations have been found in the school which constitute the risk of early school leaving for foreign pupils (as previously defined):

Prolonged absences related to situations in which a parent, for reasons related to migration, calls the family members around him, or the family closes in on himself for issues related to a difficult adaptation process or more specific reasons.

· School-family communication difficulties intensified by individual variables or by the family system of cultural origin.

Temporary transfers of pupils to their countries of origin due to a fragmentation of the experience of the family unit in Italy, with effects on the development process of the children and on the level of parent-child relationships.

Difficulty in diagnosing specific problems in pupils whose experience includes a process of adaptation (which can be extended to any situation of change) and of crossing cultures (language, learning, conduct, praxies, hyperactivity, anxiety, ...).

· Difficulty in understanding, acceptance, action in situations where a specific disorder (eg DSA learning) complexes the school experience of a foreign pupil and the experience of his family.

In light of these considerations, the presence of a specific project in the cross-cultural area is considered of great importance, with the presence / consultancy of a specialist professional whose interventions will be aimed at pursuing, for example, the following objectives:

· Promote actions that encourage the development of a sense of belonging, a central variable for the development of social cohesion, for the care of the common good and for a positive school experience. These interventions are aimed at pupils and the parent community.

· To encourage school-family communication in situations where the culture sensitive variable plays an important role, promoting an understanding of events based on meeting and dialogue (why absences? Why don't you do your homework? Why don't you bring the material) ?, ...)

· Make sure that assessments of the specific problems presented by pupils that meet the culture sensitive criteria included in the updated editions of the reference diagnostic manuals are carried out (in person or by external specialists such as neuropsychiatrists or speech therapists).

· To act as a node in the network of services and agencies that can intervene in support of the situation, promoting the explanation of personal and culturally shaped explanatory models, placing the emphasis on the specific migratory projects in which the singular event of the student in question fits. and its possible discomfort.

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