Social Class, Language and Power
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Social Class, Language and Power

‘Letter to a Teacher’: Lorenzo Milani and the School of Barbiana
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Carmel Borg
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This book foregrounds the ideas of an important European pedagogue whose writings provide insights for a critical social justice oriented approach to education. Lorenzo Milani has all the credentials to be regarded as potentially a key source of inspiration for critical pedagogy. Milani’s approach to education for social justice gives importance to a number of issues, notably social class issues, race issues especially with his critique of North-South relations and cultural/technological transfer, the collective dimension of learning and action (emphasis is placed on reading and writing the word and the world collectively), student-teachers and teacher-students (a remarkable form of peer tutoring), reading and responding critically to the media (newspapers), the existential basis of one’s learning (from the occasional to the profound motive) and the fusion of academic and technical knowledge. There is also an anti-war pedagogy that emerges from his defence of the right to ‘conscientious objection’ with its process of reading/teaching history against the grain. There is much in the work of Milani and his students to provide the basis for a process of schooling that serves as an antidote to the prevailing contemporary system, a system which gives pride of place to testing, standardization, league tables and vouchers. -- Peter Mayo, University of Malta
Preface; Foreword — Peter Mayo; Introduction; Language use and style in ‘Lettera a una professoressa’; Letter to a Teacher; Part One — Compulsory Schooling cannot fail its students; Part Two — At the Magistrali you also fail, but… ; Part Three — Documentation; Notes and Commentary; Epilogue — John P. Portelli; Index.