Mariadaniela Sfarra: self-narration as a vehicle for expressing a desire for redemption
I am a teacher of Humanities on the Level II Course for adults at ITS Aterno-Manthonè in Pescara. I coordinate training projects and language workshops for native and non-native students. I am also an Epale Ambassador for my region, Abruzzo. I have directed several workshops and courses for the training of secondary school teachers, Tutor Coordinator in the TFA (Active Training Internship), and Consultant for School Improvement. I have been a teaching fellow at the Faculty of Sciences Education at the University in L'Aquila where my specialty is school dispersion.
EPALE allows me to share ideas with European adult education professionals. It is a space where I can publish the results of my work with students and from where I can get ideas to create new projects. But EPALE is even more than all this. It is "networking" between national and European ambassadors to overcome individualism and the fragmentation of our society.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the current school year 2021-2021 students at my school, ITS Aterno-Manthonè in Pescara, have had to make a significant change: from attending the majority of classes in person, they have had to adapt to distance learning (Didattica a distanza, DaD). To mitigate any adverse effect on the linguistic abilities of adult students who had just returned to the educational system, and to avoid the risk of fragmentation in their social life, I coordinated two linguistic projects based on creative writing, one for the third graders and one for the fourth grade. The third grade students, after an in-depth study on Boccaccio's Decameron, were asked to write their own short stories.
Like the narrators in the Decameron, who had moved away from their plague-infested city, they had to imagine an ideal space for escaping reality and meeting as a class-group.
This work was very much supported by digital tools such as video lessons, online working groups. We were able to collect all the short stories and decided to publish them under the title The Thousand and One Evenings, as multimedia eBook, in which the themes were chosen by the authors themselves. The name of the work was inspired by the title of the work The Thousand and One Nights, but shifted to the evening for the course attended by the students. The collection was published in written and audio format, and to highlight its expressive effectiveness was accompanied by powerful imagery. The work crossed different voices and styles. Authors were encouraged to express their own personality and share it with potential readers through online publication. The book was a success: stories were read and shared on social networks. Students were enthusiastic because they felt they had overcome a challenge, both personally and as a group. The eBook was selected by the Ministry of Education as one of the projects of the “Schools, educational and community stories” initiative.
Another learning project, which I coordinated during the distance learning phase, featured a student from the fourth year, who wrote Rumrì, a work of self-narration and creative writing. Using the autobiographical method, the student gave voice to her own experiences through her original story of feelings and hopes. The work is published here: https://www.epubeditor.it/ebook/?static=222899.
The title Rumrì means woman in the Romani language. This work focuses on femininity and the author’s world. The student was free to choose content and stylistic features so that she could express her inner self better.
Self-narration was thus a vehicle for expressing a desire for redemption and the search for meaning. The inner monologue is the narrative technique used for the expression of one's personality; a technique that alternates with forms of dialogue, imagined or told, with external characters that enrich the message.
The writings in the collection address different themes: the desire for freedom, love, life in the suburbs, the pain experienced and how to overcome it.
The publication was positively received by readers. In fact, we had over 1000 visitors to the platform within a few days. Many of these readers have also requested “Rumrì” in paper format, explaining that they are looking forward to future texts. The projects carried out were shared with all those enrolled on the Course through the Institute's Facebook page, encouraging the spirit of initiative of the first-time authors and of others. I was able to trace a path to encourage also future participation and improved language skills with the support of digital tools.
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