Renzulli Learning va in Italia

Translated from the Italian article below: “At the Middle School of Contrà Santa Caterina the first section implementing the SEM Model is born. SEM, an acronym that stands for ‘Schoolwide Enrichment Model’, is quite literally a model of school enrichment: a pedagogical system that aims at developing each student’s potential through increased development of one’s creative capacity. The creators are Dr. Joseph Renzulli, of Italian origin, and Dr, Sally Reis,  both  distinguished professors of educational psychology at the University of Connecticut, and supporters of inclusive teaching that enhances both the brightest students, the so-called ‘gifted’ with above-average abilities, and those most in need of help, within the same class.

This will also be the case for the Maffei Middle School at Comprehensive 1 directed by Carmela Mancuso, where in September 2019, a first class will officially start embracing the philosophy of Renzulli – a philosophy that since the 1970s has become widespread in the United States, but is still little known in Italy. The new educational offer that will be added to the musical, sports, and digital courses was illustrated to families in December, and the enrollment requests outnumbered the school’s expectations to the point that the Institute will have to proceed through a selection process. But what is the educational proposal about? ”

There will be particular attention to the personalization of learning through targeted strategies that will allow each student to give their best,” explains the Vice-Principal of the Comprehensive Institute 1, Francesca Carli-. “It will be easier for teachers to identify their students’ talents and for pupils to discover what their own interests are and choose the high school in a more knowledgeable way.” There will not be any deviation from the Italian Ministry of Education programs. The curriculum will not deviate from the national one, but the students will work and learn in collaborative teams. They will probably have different textbooks than the students of the other courses and will be able to enhance their skills in enrichment clusters (English, creative writing, robotics, to name a few) that will be organized according to the students’ precise requests and which represent one of the strengths of the new educational strand.

“Talent is lost if it is not detected early,” explains Lara Milan, from Vicenza, Masters Degree in Foreign Languages ​​in Padua, ‘Enrichment Specialist’ (a professional figure that does not yet exist in Italy, yet) in the United States, a researcher at the University of Pavia, the only Italian university to have established the ‘LabTalento’ for the study of students with high potential, co-author with Joseph Renzulli of a volume on enrichment, and creator of the course that will come to light at Maffei, where, for the last two years, she has been in charge of the professional training of the teachers who will undertake the SEM path. “In Italy we support children with learning difficulties (dyslexia, dyscalculia, autism, Asperger) but we forget that there is a world of excellence in which not enough is invested. Yet, if more resources were allocated to promote talent development, the impact on our society in terms of economics would be enormous,” adds Milan. “The SEM class will not be composed only of pupils with high potential. Renzulli has opened schools of this type also in the Bronx to show that there is talent even in the most difficult children. It is the responsibility of teachers to detect it and make it emerge.””