“Let us study in a better place” is an initiative to improve learning processes, by using creative ideas and solutions. We want to make a school in a suburban neighbourhood a more stimulating place to learn through processes, methodologies or solutions, that can be replicated in other Italian and European school, also located in peripheral urban areas.
The high school is located in a suburban area of Ragusa which has about 15,000 residents and displays a situation of physical and social degradation. Within this urban context, about 2,000 students attend the schools in the area on daily basis, of which more than 900 are in high school. This creates a clear contrast between the deterioration of the neighbourhood and the fundamental function of the school in the path of student growth and learning.
The goal of the challenge is to promote through creative ideas a process of urban regeneration and social and cultural growth within the area in which the school is located. Solution providers will have to promote a series of specific interventions aimed to improve the school and neighbourhood habitat, involving in the process students,residents and teachers, as well as experts and cultural operators. We believe that taking care of the urban space, in fact, means anticipating the social degeneration that often accompanies the lack of common space. The task of the school is to focus the attention on the dynamics of marginalization, integration, social hardship of the neighbourhood and, at the same time, help create opportunities to promote the identification and development of shared solutions. If the starting point is the school, the recipient of the regeneration process is the entire community of the district, in a process where the school is open to the context of reference.
The scientific high school of Ragusa is located in the north area of the city and is in one of the suburbs in the entry road to the city center. Active for over fifty years, it has formed generations of students and today, together with the adjacent commercial technical institute, it is the most popular school complex in the area, within one of the main study centers of the province of Ragusa. The target group is represented by all the students and teaching staff of the institute, who will benefit directly from the interventions foreseen by the solution within the school structure. In addition to this, the collateral targets of the activities will be the residents of the populous neighbourhood surrounding the school structure, which will benefit from the implementation of creative ideas (such as urban art, art installation, innovative interventions, or similar) that will be implemented in the area around the school.
The task of the school is to foresee the present and future needs of the younger generations that it accompanies day by day in the educational process. One of the fundamental aspects is to guarantee a comfortable and welcoming learning environment, a prerequisite for socializing and sharing.
The high school, as a challenge owner, believes that to make the teaching approach really effective it is fundamental that it takes place in an appropriate context, both inside and outside the school. Improving space means improving fruition.
In the past, the school has hosted workshops and reflection activities where students shared their thoughts and ideas. This strong motivational level of the students pushed the school to accept their proposals and think on a wider level by also involving the urban context. The challenge will be coordinated by two teachers and a group of students who have already shown interest in similar challenges in the past.
Although previous initiatives were discussed, they remained “theoretical” and were not put in practice. With this challenge, the high school wants to use creative solutions as a link between the school and the neighbourhood, by generating greater awareness for the students within the environment they frequent daily, giving them the opportunity to become a local guide, like a storyteller about the creative works implemented.
Solutions could be identified among one or more of the following:
- Creation of artistic pieces (sculptures, paintings, photography, etc.) within the school
- Creation of artistic pieces around the school in the neighborhood
- Practical activities (workshops, moments of comparison)
- Production of documentation materials (video, photo, reportage).
The Solution Provider will work side by side with the school during the implementation of the solution. The school will provide information and data related to the environment, the needs of students and the neighbourhood. Particularly, the students of the school will run a preliminary analysis to see which are the main areas within the school and the neighbourhood where it is best to step in.
In the phases of implementation of the solution, the school will ensure active involvement of teachers and students and will support the solution provider in the promotion of activities related to the challenge.
The school will also support the Solution Provider by facilitating connections with students, and third parties, both public (municipality, other schools in the neighborhood) and private (residents, recreational facilities in the area), with the aim of extending and consolidating as much as possible the regeneration process of the entire district.
By sharing this process with the entire local community, the school hopes to obtain in the future further resources that can enable them to continue developing the project even after the challenge is completed.
The challenge is 100% compliant with ethical standards and does not raise any ethical issues at a social level. On the contrary, this challenge tries to avoid the risk that widespread physical degradation in important areas of the city, produces and multiplies social difficulties. By encouraging students to participate in this challenge, encouraging dialogue with the residents of the neighbourhood and imagining the school as a cultural open environments, means teaching young people to take care of common goods and improve the quality of life of the whole community.