A new pedagogical approach called «Outdoor Education» is spreading rapidly in the world. This is happening because it corresponds perfectly to the needs of the children of this historical period in which we begin to talk about a new pathology: «The deficit of nature». The main idea behind this approach is that ecological awareness cannot be born abstractly or intellectually through books, but must be cultivated as a small seed and grow in everyday life.
We interview for searching for superman movie the amazing Danilo Casertano, an italian Waldorf-Steiner pedagogy trained teacher, cofounder of Manes Association and the «Asilo nel Bosco e del Mare» school, a very special kindergarten and primary forest school in Ostia near Rome.
This is the first part of three of Danilo’s interview where we discuss about the battle between two models of school hierarchies: the vertical (traditional one) and the horizontal (democratic) structures. You can see full transcription below.
«Talking on the philosophy in education, I think that there are two main visions that I have been watching fighting. On one side there is the democratic idea of school, so it’s very horizontal, everyone counts one, students, families, teachers are all the same, and the other one is the vertical, the authority, so teacher is God, is over God, and over God there is the State, it’s very vertical. It’s always, as far as I’ve seen a battle between who is right and who is wrong.
I have been a teacher for some years, then I started to run projects and at one point we as a group decided to accept both ways. So the horizontal way, which gives freedom, it’s a beautiful attitude towards life for everyone. But freedom without responsibility is quite dangerous, so a teacher is free as much as he’s responsible. If you want to do something different, you are free to do it, and if you are responsible then you become an authority.
“Responsibility” comes from the Latin word which means «augeo» which means to become more. So the authority is the one who lets you become more. If you are only in the horizontal line, there is no possibility of going even down. The authority can be also the one who let you go up, meaning a mentor, somebody to love or admire.
This antiauthority kind of education is caused also because authority over the time, like the man, the father, of course if it has been bad you would hate it, but a good father, a good authority, it’s something that if you have met once in your life you will never forget. Because it’s beautiful sometimes to abandon yourself to somebody else, it’s an act of trust. Those things for us come together, I mean freedom is not more important than authority, so freedom and authority and there is the responsibility.
It happens also with the children that as more responsible you are more freedom you deserve. It’s very easy to understand once you do outdoor education. If I can trust you, for example, if you are aware when we cross the street then we can do more. If you are not able even to tie your shoes, or you cannot use a ladder to go up, you cannot go to the Hymalayas.
So being responsible and being free are things that come together. Then a responsible person that uses freedom becomes an authority.«