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60 case studies have been identified. The case studies focus on intercultural issues, integration, non-discrimination values and human rights at school.

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Intercultural Project and Foreign Students Literacy


Name of the teacher
Teresa Paladin
Subject taught:
Years of experience:
34 (as tenured teacher and before)


Name of the School:
I.S.I.S. “A. Gramisci – J. M. Keynes”
School Typology:
Upper Secondary School
Web site:


Background and Context:
The “Gramsci-Keynes” High School is developed in 3 main courses: the Scientific course (traditional, applied science, sports), the Tourism course, the C.A.D. course (surveying course); the students are a total of 1455, the enrolled foreigners are 276, with a percentage of 19%. The multicultural aspect reflects the overall characteristics of the city contest. It is well renown that the Prato territory has a high presence of migrants: Prato, beyond being the second Tuscany city and the third city of the centre of Italy for number of citizens, it is the Italian city with the major number of ethnic groups: 116 at the moment. In Prato the resident foreign population is 14,20% out of the total, more than the twice of the national data (6,4%). The Chinese represent around 41% of it. Operating in the School context where migrations are so present makes interculture a fundamental element of growth and education for all the subjects involved in the educational process.
The intercultural education is then, in a school with the presence of many languages and cultures, not an optional or an added element, but fundamental and transversal to all the subjects: therefore it does not involve only foreign students needs but all the School students regarding knowledge and democratic empowering of cohabitation in the respect and enrichment of the whole community.
The present ethnic groups in the School are many: some of the more represented are Chinese, Moroccan, Romanian, besides North African students, Pakistani and of other nations. Chinese students often present linguistic difficulties, though the other ethnic groups already own linguistic communication and integration addresses to contents and socio-cultural aspects. The School has a long intercultural project history and adhesion to projects against discrimination promoted by institutions and NGOs and this promotes a fertile land for dialogue and debate. The Institute owns multimedia classrooms, linguistic laboratories, scientific and IT labs, with up to date software and responding to the educational needs, a gym and other indoor and outdoor spaces for sport activities, a wide and technologically supported auditorium also for institutional events; in particular, the multimedia library claims a considerably consistent book archive with many books in different languages (French, Chinese, English, etc.). The multimedia library also is a study place and research for students and teachers of the Institute which is accredited as educational agency and location for a prestigious national literary award for secondary schools, “Art of words”.
Factual Description:
The project starts in September, before of the beginning of the classes, and ends with the end of the school. Its development presents different aspects and involves the whole Institute, both as intercultural education for all the the class councils and as welcoming and support for foreign students. The culture of integration is globally spread in the classes; sometimes intolerance and discrimination behaviours have happened and, in those cases, mediational interventions took place between the Interculture referent, the involved people, class councils and mediator tutors.
The concept for which we were born as free individuals with equal rights is spread among students: they are sufficiently used to cohabit in multicultural classes and this situation is not perceived as a problem.
Debating, evaluating the reliability of specific sentences, calibrating welcomingly the relationship with the class is thence an important activity and must be supported. Moreover, it involved students and teachers regardless of students’ birth place: often dwelling and unacceptance emerge independently from the citizenship, hence also among Italian citizenship students.
Foreign students are generally welcome and integrated in the classes and this dimension took always more strength in the Institute the integration quality is related, as expectable, to their Italian language skill.
Creating a participation sense to a common enrichment and exchange and a factive solidarity remains in every case an everyday effort and very often are exactly migrant students to help national students and build a friendship with them.
The active involvement is then essential: in the education field towards peace and citizenship values, to leave the vigilance would mean to create in a small time a desertification of values hardly likely to be gotten back.
The involved actors in the educational process are the teachers, the students, the NGOs operators that interact with the classes and the Interculture Project referent.
The integration process among students find effective answers in the following activities:
- welcoming and integration of first year students and information support about internal rules and school life;
- monitoring of Italian language skills through a screening test;
- organising Italian courses as second language divided per level during the school time table, with final assessment evaluations for the class council and families;
-meetings in occasion of particular events (student election or something else) to build active citizenship paths;
- presence of a Chinese language mediator, able to support the relationship with students’ parents;
- presence tutor mediator Chinese language speakers;
- afternoon B1 level class to strengthen the language.

On September 17th 2015 was built the “Secondary Schools network of the province of Prato” (the “Gramsci-Keynes” on the lead) with a biannual length, to facilitate the realisation of intercultural projects in favour of integration of migrant students and their educational success.

The refugees welcoming issue in Europe is something generally accepted, notwithstanding doubts regarding organisational matters and the operative sharing of all the European Union members.
The parents share the vision of the POFT of the Institute, in which projects and intercultural dimension are specifically recognised. The major teachers’ difficulties are related to education in multilingual and stratified classes.
Activities carried out:
Current year initiatives which the Institute participated:

- “Educational Continuity into the System Actions for the Welcoming Agreement for Foreign students” Project, financially supported by SIC – Prato’s City Council which allowed an educational path for teachers and a laboratory managed by simplifying experts of the “Bread and Roses” cooperative in a first year class on the topic of linguistic support;

- “Interculture and the role of educational institutions for human development. From the compensational model to the inclusive school” Project, promoted by the Educational Science and Psycology Office of the Florence University. The research involved second generation foreign origin students to better know their cultural and life habits, their integration level in the school context and their sense of identity in the territory;

- “Non-discriminating Project from the Prato’s province – Education against discrimination”. The project aimed to improve the sharing of a welcoming culture against every kind of stereotype. Operatos from the following associations intervened: “Cieli Aperti” Association NGO, “Le Mafalde” Association, “La Nara” Anti-violence Centre and other Associations;

Cultural Initiatives involving all the Class Councils for the creation of ethical values linked to good and conscious citizenship procedures, receiving Florence Unicoop and Prato’s Caritas educational purposes.

The education widened knowledges and skills in teachers and students intercultural sector involved in different laboratories, who acquired an interesting education on solidarity topics, on volunteering, the sense of responsibility related to human rights and environment defense, the fight against stereotypes and discriminations. Many different tools were used: videos and movies, direct experiences, forms and surveys, role play games in which also parents were involved.
Assessment and lesson learnt:
These years findings were interesting and positive and produced the spread of good welcoming practices, tutoring models, interculturality also meant as continuity from Primary to Secondary School. The presence of tutor-mediators represents a first-year students integration valid support, but also an example of school success meant to motivate compatriots to better study the subjects.
Tutor-mediators were present inside the incoming Orientation activity, they were then involved in the presentation to their Chinese compatriots and also some Italian students of their various activities and School characteristics. In this function tutor-mediators get in contact also with third year middle school students’ parents.
The cultural mediator role is fundamental for the communicational relationship between teachers and Chinese speaking parents, according to the guidelines provided by the Class Councils, both via telephone and written. Also, in the writing of the PEI, the linguistic mediator role and its presence inside the institute during meetings between teachers and parents, where are shown final results of each and every student, is fundamental, in order to allow an effective communication between Chinese parents and teaching stuff.
Enrolled student forms to the Italian as Second Language classes, divided per levels from the beginner to the A2 level, grant a communication to Italian teachers and, therefore, to the Class Councils, about developments on migrant students Italian Language skill, with the suggestion to insert the course mark as disciplinary evaluation.
The strengthening study laboratory for A2 and B1 outgoing students gives the chance to get a language comprehension support, of the study and execution of given assessments.
The students’ evaluation is diversified: for many communicational language and social rules acquisition already are a very important achievement, for others school success is the important part.
The Institute invites Class Councils to evaluate the whole development of the foreign student at the end of the two first years.
All these activities are very much appreciated either from teachers, students and their parents, this was confirmed by the rising of foreign students’ enrollments during the years.
The overall result of the activity on parents, students and teachers is then absolutely positive.
Description of the Case Study in National Language:

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.