Common Good Schools Italy
Teachers in Italy associated with Together for the Common Good are taking forward Common Good Thinking into their classrooms and school culture. From time to time we post an update here.
During a visit to Liverpool in 2017, a group of Italian teachers were given an unusual gift. A red candle depicting people holding hands was given as a token of their international friendship with their host, Peter Bull, Head of RE at Alsop High School. Their friendship had been forged through Together for the Common Good, and their shared interest in bringing Common Good values into schools.
The Italian teachers embarked on sending the candle on a tour of schools across Italy, from Modena to Sardinia, from Milan to Saronno, over a period of months. In each school the candle was used as a prop to introduce the Liverpool ecumenical story. Hundreds of children heard the story and learned about the Common Good in their classrooms.
In July 2018, Franca Gambari, coordinator of the Italian teachers revisited Liverpool and brought the candle back to her Liverpool friend, Peter Bull.
President of the Association of Italian Catholic Teachers (AIMC) in the Province of Modena, Emilia Romagna, Franca has been an associate of Together for the Common Good since its inception in 2011, and introduced the organisation to her colleagues.
Commenting on the relationship with Liverpool, Franca said: "the link with our British colleagues goes on. After touring several Italian schools, the ‘Common Good Candle’ was taken back to Liverpool last summer. While I was with Jenny Sinclair it was officially handed to Peter Bull who had given it to us last year when we attended a teachers' conference as part of his initiative, 'Faith 17: Working Together for the Common Good.' We very much enjoyed sharing our Common Good initiatives with our English colleagues."
"The beautiful candle, portraying people holding hands, was a memento of our visit, given to us with a mission of introducing Common Good values to our pupils."
Franca hopes that the candle will now "continue its pilgrimage to other countries, lighting the flame of Common Good in other classrooms and inviting other students to reflect on Common Good values."
"When I returned the candle to Peter, he gave me another gift, a beautiful painted cross. We have since resolved that the cross would also go on a pilgrimage around our schools. Our colleagues in Saronno expressed their wish to take it first, so my AIMC colleague Arcangela Bizzarri and I went to Lombardy to hand it officially to Giuliana Paterniti Bardi - Saronno’s AIMC President – and her School Director Professor Annamaria Rossato. In the months to follow it was to tour to our Sardinian colleagues and we intend the pilgrimage to end in Emilia Romagna, before taking it back to England again."
"Meanwhile, I attended the T4CG Family Day in London and was astonished by the Common Good Schools resources they have developed for teachers. My Italian colleagues and I are contributing to the pilot phase, by trialling some of these resources in our schools. We are excited to be bringing Common Good principles into our classrooms and we can't wait to see what happens next."
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History and links
The Italian teachers' initial engagement with Together for the Common Good was through Franca Gambari (AIMC) who organised a conference 'Educating for the Common Good' in 2016 in San Marino.
They learned about 'Hope 2016: working together for the Common Good' and afterwards followed 'Faith 2017: working together for the Common Good' - both award-winning initiatives in Liverpool led by Alsop High School, and in which T4CG was a partner. To learn more about the work that took place in Liverpool, click here.
The Italian teachers sent a delegation to meet their Liverpool counterparts in July 2017, which included presentations from the Italian teachers (here and here) as well as from the Liverpool Faith 2017 team of teachers (here).
Their Liverpool visit was captured on our blog in 'Teaching the Common Good', and in From Liverpool to Italy. Since the visit, the group of teachers in Italy continued to spread awareness of the Common Good across their network.
To learn more about AIMC's Common Good activities in Italy, visit their blog here.