Don out with: “This book is not written for

Don Lorenzo Milani wanted to emphasise problems
on social classes, racial issues, the relationship between a student and a
teacher, the aspects of learning and being active, analysing media reports, but
most of all he wanted to focus on social justice.

Although he was a priest, he did not
criticize other religions, in fact he founded the ‘school of people’ when he
was still in San Donato in Calenzano, a town near Florence. This school welcomed
children from all different backgrounds and it did not matter whether they were
from a catholic background or not. Milani’s first priority was always the
students so when the authorities noticed this, they managed to exile him to
Barbiana where he founded another school, the School of Barbiana. He was exiled
because at that time his ideas on social justice, when it came to education,
were considered dangerous and radical. When Milani was in Barbiana, he noticed
how critical the children were in their education. Some of these children had
either failed their exams or were treated and encouraged negatively when it
came to education so most of them were not interested to learn. Don Lorenzo
Milani created this school according to the community’s needs and it attracted
a lot of citizens. He encouraged his students to focus on their own interests
and achieve whatever they wanted to as long as they were learning. He also
emphasised his students’ opinions by training them to analyse articles on
newspapers and write about them. This helped them to face social problems in
the future with determination and not giving up on them before even trying to
solve the problems they are facing. Milani gathered ten boys from the School of
Barbiana and organized a timetable for them which included eight hours of work
for six or seven days a week. The school attracted more children and the oldest
ones would offer up their time to teach the younger ones. Milani’s teaching
methods encouraged more people to follow his footsteps.

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The most popular writing product that
emerged from the School of Barbiana was the “Letter to a Teacher” (Lettera a
una professoressa). This writing was coordinated by Milani himself and he used
the method of ‘group-writing’. It was written by eight boys who attended the
School of Barbiana. The book declares how wrongful the class-based education
is. The class-based education is when middle-class students have advantage over
those who are poor, for example children who come from a rich background get
into schools and are given educational opportunities without any barriers in
contrary of those who are poor. It also expresses the voice of the poor and
their anger over class-based educational system. The book starts out with:

“This
book is not written for teachers, but for parents. It is a call for them to
organize. At first sight it seems written by one boy alone. Actually we, the
authors, are eight boys from the school of Barbiana. Other schoolmates, who are
now at work, helped us on Sundays” (1Nora Rossi and Tom Cole, March
1969).

According to a paper
published by Nora Rossi and Tom Cole, “Under the leadership of Milani, they
insisted that their conclusions also be accurate, and were willing to go
through a painstaking discipline. Although some readers may only glance at the
statistical work, its presence makes their moving appeal for change still more
forceful”, (2Nora Rossi and Tom Cole, March 1969). The boys wanted
that their writing would feel sentimental to those who read it. They wanted to
show how critical the class-based educational system is. They also wanted to
gather the corrected data which they did eventually, with the help of officers
from