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Mariadaniela Sfarra: knowing one's hidden talents and learning to value them

Personal inclinations acted as a compass in their choice, with the advantage of stimulating curiosity to deepen emerging interests and bring light to others, still dormant.

Mariadaniela Sfarra

Short bio

I’m a teacher of humanities in the II level course for adults of the ITS Aterno-Manthonè in Pescara. I coordinate training projects. I’m an Invalsi contact person for the Institute and an EPALE ambassador. I taught in the laboratories of the School of Specialization in Secondary Teaching, I’m a tutor coordinator in the Active Training Internship and also an expert on the subject. In the past, I dealt with early school leaving.

My story

I’ve been teaching for many years now and by choice to adult students of the II level course of the Aterno-Manthonè State Technical Institute in Pescara.

I find that the educational relationship established with adult students is particularly motivating.

Students enrolling in the course choose to re-enter the training circuit after having experienced their frailties and dropping out of school in the past. Their choice must be supported with a personalized didactic approach that is based on their cognitive needs and focused on their strengths, of which they are sometimes not even aware of.

Preparing and implementing linguistic projects with these objectives provided a way for me to experiment with new educational paths, so that each participant could discover something new about themselves. Each student was free to choose the learning project they wanted to join, within a proposed range of possibilities.

Personal inclinations acted as a compass in their choice, with the advantage of stimulating curiosity to deepen emerging interests and bring light to others, still dormant.

Working on listening to the personal aspirations and cognitive interests of students is always surprising. Each student becomes passionate about their chosen learning path and achieves remarkable results while working in a pleasant way, whether this be individually or in a group.

I find it appropriate to refer to some projects that were carried out during the school year 2021-2022.

1. Participation in the third edition of the Città Sant'Angelo literary prize involved 10 students from different classes. Each elaborated a story or a poem on a theme of their choice. Five students prepared stories on various topics, including: violence against women, bullying, drug addiction. The other 5 students used their poems to speak of an ended love, the nostalgia for summer, and a harmonious relationship with nature.

2. Five students took part in the Melchionna 2022 Artistic-Literary Prize, banned (do they mean ‘banned’ here as in not allowed?)by the Prodigio association of Trento, who sent photos, poems and stories about the bonds that most influenced them. The papers sent spoke of love, affection between family members and social exclusion. A good result was achieved by two students who were awarded with Special Mentions for an autobiographical story and a photograph on the blood bond between mother and daughter.

3. An annual project led to the creation of a book called Dirty Wings, self-published. The author is Virginia Spinelli, a student of the evening VA class. The book is a collection of autobiographical writings in which the author retraced her own experiences and gave them a voice through an original story of feelings, hopes and thoughts. She herself writes: "I have two wings that would like to take off and are dirty with things that have never been lived", as she is in search of herself and her full realization. Writing this has been a help for her.

(Summary of the video by Virginia Spinelli: Hello everybody. I'm Virginia Spinelli from the "Aterno-Manthonè" Institute of Pescara, and I'm attending the last year of the course for adults. I have come to the end of this path. I am already nostalgic but am very happy with my career, both for having found such professors and for having had the opportunity of a social and personal redemption. I participated in various activities, including competitions and, above all, I wrote a book that you can find on Amazon.)

4. Participation in the Petrarchino poetry contest 2022, carried out between January and March. The call also addressed to students of evening courses and was promoted by the "Federico Caffè" Institute of Higher Education in Rome, in collaboration with the Provincial Center for Adult Education n. 3 of Rome. The texts developed by the 10 participants analyzed various themes: ethical values for the young people of today, the war in Ukraine, love, the importance of knowing how to listen and accept oneself as one is. One student was awarded third place and another received the Special Mention.

The works produced in the various didactic-educational projects carried out surprised the participating students themselves, for the quality and successes achieved.

My motto

The value of lifelong learning consists in knowing one's hidden talents and learning to value them.

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