Saturday, August 25, 2007

Born to educate

Click on the image to enjoy a slideshow on Calasanz's life- in Spanish.
Make sure your speakers are on, not to miss the wonderful background music!

This year I've started working for a Scolopi school. If you'd asked me about the Scolopi (or Piarists) just one year ago, I'm afraid I would have been clueless... shame on me! Not just thinking of me as a Catholic teacher (though being a Catholic, I'd never worked for a religious school before, you know). I'm actually thinking of all Argentinian teachers.

Let's begin at the beginning. You may be unaware that their founder (St. Joseph Calasanz - aka Calasanza and Calasanctius) has been proclaimed "protector of all State primary and secondary schools" in Argentina ( National Law Nº 13 633/49). If there was general agreement on the importance of his contribution for our educators then, I wonder, how come his figure has gradually vanished from the curricula at Teacher's Training Colleges to the point of my never having heard about him in all my years at schools and training colleges?

This "teacher of teachers", as Calasanz has often been called, opened (back in November 1597) the first public free school in Europe. He worked all throughout his life to teach children in general, and poor children in particular. I've heard he discovered his calling to educate the underprivileged as he walked around some of the poorest neighbourhoods in Rome. I can't help thinking he would feel but quite the same if he walked around Buenos Aires, my city, today... He was, nevertheless, quite optimistic about the power of education:
if from the time they are of tender age the children are instilled with piety and the arts, one can expect, beyond all manner of doubt, a happy tenor their whole life through" (Constitutions of 1622, n. 2 - as cited by J.Ma. Lecea)

Piety AND Arts. An education in values PLUS the access to information. At times where many equated "teaching" with "instruction", this visionary grasped an unquestioned truth today (at least in principle): "to educate" does not merely mean "to transmit knowledge"; education is what makes us (both learners and teachers) human.

Joseph Calasanz was born exactly 450 years ago. Four centuries ago, he gave a step that would influence worlwide education forever... Let his passion for education and for the poor and unlearned go on living in every teacher's heart for long!



Giyo said...

An educational giant.
I haven´t read about him before!
Calasanz always showed a great interest in the instruction of children, specially for those who were poor and neglected. That´s why he opened a free school of homeless children.
Another pioneer of education that shows us that children´s needs are the most important!

Loreley said...

How increadible we have never come across this exceptional human being!
Thank you Gladys for trying to bring him back to life in your words and trying to give us an overview of who he was and how important he is now.
As always, I love children and I firmly believe that they are the future and how we educate them is what our society is going to be like.
I hope we keep on in the right path and keep in mind what he did in life. See you on Friday,

L@U F.S. said...

To think that such an incredible person existed and spread his word around when we didn't even exist as a society!! How marvellous history and life can be!!
I can see a similarity in Calasanz views that match Domingo F. Sarmiento's. Both were concerned in educating children from low classes and make them better people.

Lu.G. said...

It is nice to learn about the existence of this beautiful person.
I agree with Gladys in the sense that he would have felt the same while walking along the streets in Buenos Aires today.I would like to see those children who are living in the streets laughing all together in a group while learning in their school.I think we all want that.

Anonymous said...

the work is fantastic , how increadible we have never como across this exceptional human being. see you later lautaro ......

MILAGROS. said...

the work is very interesting. calasanz was a brilliant person.! he was so generous =).

FLORENCIA :) said...

Hi! I like this work on Calasanz, I think it's really important to show us the good person that he was.
He wanted to help poor children so he founded a lot of schools.That was really nice.

Well, that's all, kisses.