Link to the book (in case you cannot find the folder earlier): Microsoft Word - LETTER TO A TEACHER.doc (arvindguptatoys.com)
Letter to a teacher written by
eight young Italian boys who were teacher-students in this tiny country from the mountains outside Florence started by
the local parish priest, a man who knew well that such children would not
otherwise be able to gain an education – it is a straightforward comparison of
the fortunes of Pierino and Gianni, two generic students representing the
privileged and the poor people respectively. It took them a year. Simple and
clearly, with some devastating and statistical analysis of the Italian
education system, that set out to show the ways in which attitudes towards
class, behavior, language and subject-matter militates against the poor. They
describe too, the reforms they propose, and the methods they use in their own
school – the School of Barbiana.
Each is emblematic of his origins
and of his educational chances in the Italian system of the time. Pierino is a
son of the middle classes and Gianni is a son of peasants. But while the text
is firmly rooted in the specifics of place, culture and time, it is also
universal. Privilege and money still talk in education today, and the poor
still get a raw deal from the equal opportunity that is supposed to exist in
our society today.
This notable book was written for
the parents of the Italian poor. But it is about poor everywhere: their anger
is the anger of every worker and peasant who sees middle-class children
absorbed effortlessly into schools as teacher’s favorites.
Letter to a teacher was a best
seller in Italy and has been published subsequently in many languages. The
school of Barbiana was awarded the prize of the Italian Physical Society,
usually reserved for promising physicists, for the statistical achievement
involved in the book.