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A profession of uncertainty: the Reggio Emilia image of the ‘rich’ teacher

Blog Editor, IOE Digital20 April 2016

Peter Moss
In last month’s blog, I introduced a new book about Loris Malaguzzi, one of the 20th century’s great educationalists, whose legacy is the world-famous municipal schools of Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy. One of Malaguzzi’s great achievements was to build this system of council-run schools for children from birth to 6 years with the active participation of a collaborative network of stakeholders: children, parents, citizens, city politicians and officials – and teachers. A teacher himself, by education and in his early career, Malaguzzi not only understood teaching but devoted much thought and effort to creating a team of valued, competent and supported teachers for Reggio’s municipal schools.
His starting point was the meaning of education and the image of the teacher. Education, he was clear, was holistic, education-in-its-broadest-sense: not only teaching, but ‘assistance with the psychological growth and maturity of every human being, to allow their personality to expand in as rich and as individually and socially normal a way as possible.’ And just as his political choice was for the image of the rich child, so that called for an accompanying image of the ‘rich’ teacher, for such children demand ‘rich intelligence in others, rich curiosity in others, a very high and advanced capacity for fantasy, imagination, learning and culture’.
‘Rich’ teachers had to be open to, indeed welcome, the unexpected and uncertainty. Ours, (more…)

The hundred languages of childhood know no age bounds

Blog Editor, IOE Digital23 March 2016

Peter Moss.
Loris Malaguzzi (1920-94) was one of the great educationalists of the 20th century. He was a thinker, but also a doer, a council employee who played a leading role in the evolution of a network of municipal schools in the Italian city of Reggio Emilia, 70 kilometres west of Bologna. Today, the schools and Malaguzzi are  an inspiration to those who resist the spread of neoliberal and neoconservative education policies.
Most educationalists won’t have heard of Reggio Emilia or Malaguzzi. This is in part because both are Italian, and most of his work is in Italian. A newly published book – ‘Loris Malaguzzi and the Schools of Reggio Emilia’ – edited by myself and colleagues in Reggio Emilia, aims to rectify this, with English translations of a selection of his writings and speeches, starting in 1945 (when, as he wrote ‘everything seemed possible’). But there’s another reason. Malaguzzi and Reggio Emilia are world famous for early childhood education, a field largely untrodden by the rest of education. Yet Malaguzzi was convinced that he was engaged in a project of educational renewal, which knew no age bounds.
What lessons does Malaguzzi have for all education? He insists that education is, first and (more…)