Facing Social Disadvantage at School: the TV Series «Diario di un Maestro» (1973) and Its Representation of an Italian Model

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroContributo a convegno

Abstract

In 1973, RAI – Radiotelevisione Italiana broadcast the four-part television drama Diario di un maestro (Diary of an elementary school teacher), made by the famous Sicilian film director Vittorio De Seta and adapted from Albino Bernardini’s autobiographical novel Un anno a Pietralata (A year in Pietralata – Pietralata was a poor outer suburb of Rome). The protagonists are the teacher Bruno D’Angelo and his primary school students, who live in conditions of social disadvantage. In a context of cultural and material poverty, D’Angelo’s efforts are directed in the first instance at filling his half-deserted classroom with the children who up to now have preferred the street to school, either because they have no interest in learning, or because they were already working. Many of them actually contributed to supporting their families, finding employment as errand or delivery boys, vendors of garlic or scrap metal collectors. Bernardini’s book took on a different function in the production of the TV series to that originally intended by De Seta: from an experience to be reproduced on screen, it became an outline to be freely consulted, more in relation to the educational style adopted in it than in terms of a precise order of events. Indeed, the twenty or so child-actors do not recite a part, but they spontaneously respond to the input of the teacher-actor. Diario di un maestro portrayed an innovative way of providing schooling that was distant from traditional models focused on academic contents rather than on students’ overall educational development. It was a school sensitive to the needs of students in difficult circumstances, and far from mechanisms driven by achievement, official curricular guidelines, and ministerial bureaucracy. At the same time, the TV drama documented a particular moment in the history of the Italian school system, then under pressure from several quarters to revisit its function and educational approach. Thus, the film version reproduce a specific and successful example of new tendencies within education. It is possible to create an effective school system: this was the message of De Seta’s series. The paper analyses Diario di un maestro as a historical source that has contributed to the representation and construction of the collective mentality of the period. The film was investigated by comparing it to Bernardini’s book, in relation to the educational features of each. A further focus of study was the interrelationships between the TV serial and the broader social and educational context in which it was produced. Analysis of the TV drama and book was supplemented by a review of the relevant literature and filmic materials, as well as by an interview with the researcher Francesco Tonucci, who was educational advisor for the series.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteISCHE 42, Social history of educational knowledge, media and learning technologies. Book of Abstracts
Pagine355-356
Numero di pagine2
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021
EventoISCHE 42, Social history of educational knowledge, media and learning technologies. - Online Conference
Durata: 14 giu 202125 giu 2021

Convegno

ConvegnoISCHE 42, Social history of educational knowledge, media and learning technologies.
CittàOnline Conference
Periodo14/6/2125/6/21

Keywords

  • TV drama
  • social disadvantage
  • XX century
  • Italy
  • school memories

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