Sunday, May 16, 2004

Paying for the Field Trip (by Alex)

SIENA (#62)

Paying for field trips here in Italy is totally different than in the United States.  Here the paying process is left entirely up to the kids.  As you can imagine, things get much more complicated and also much more disorganized.

For example, let's say there is a trip that costs €200 per kid (my trip cost about that much). The kids are asked to manage their own trip money. This includes collecting and keeping track of all money collected. So they designate one responsible kid out of the class for the lofty task. If there are 20 kids in a class that means that the one kid would be handling €4,000 (or $4,400). And to add to it all, the kids pay in cash!

So the teachers decided that might not be such a great idea. They decided to split it up into 4 payments of €50 which would lower confusion and the chance money will get lost, right?

WRONG! Sulla carta, certo (on paper, definitely) but in reality it confused things because more lists had to be made and people were dealing with smaller bills and coins.

In Italian the word "casino" (whorehouse... or crazyness) would explain the situation perfectly. If a 10 cent coin were to fall on the ground no one would hear it through the casino. When the administrator goes to count the money that he or she has collected the 10 cents would be missing. He or she would then direct a question out into the class. "Mi mancano 10 centesimi."

Kids then erupt from their seats saying, "Ma che cazzo dici?! Ho gia' pagato, Maremma Buddista," (What the hell are you saying?! I already payed, Maremma1 Buddhist2), even though the question was directed towards no one in particular.

Homework in school is organized much like collecting money for the field trips in that the students are expected to take initiative for their own learning experience. Teachers don't assign homework; instead, they assign topics. It is the job of the student to figure out what to study and how to study it. But this freedom has its negatives. Some students don't do any work and others simply skip school. But over all, I think it is a good experience to have early on rather than later during university years.

In general, here in Italy simple processes in school are left up to the students to figure out for themselves. The same rules seem to exist in other parts of life a well, but most evident in other parts of the education system.

1) A region near Siena used to substitute madonna or mother of god.

2) Used to substitute some other parolaccia (bad word).

Click here to read more about my trip to Verona.

COMMENTS from the original blog

2004-05-29 22:35:20 edp
Re: Paying for the Field Trip (by Alex)
Grazie mille, Alex, for finally answering my question about what "bel casino" might mean, from one of the earliest stories on the site.  Now I get it!

No comments: