Trip to the Barbiana School in Tuscany

Trip to the Barbiana School in Tuscany

Posted by: on November 14, 2014   |Comments (0)|Travel

This week the PC education students went on a field trip to the Barbiana School in Tuscany.This school was founded by a priest named Don Lorenzo Milani, and many students who had been kicked out or failed out of other Italian school systems found that they were welcome here. Earlier in the semester, we were assigned a reading written by eight young boys who had attended Barbiana called ‘Lettura a una Professoressa’ (‘Letter to a Teacher’). In the reading, the boys criticized flaws in the Italian school systems. The Don Milani school accepted everyone, and the students who attended the school played an active role in their education.

I care


On the day of the field trip, we met by the Arno River and hopped on a bus. We drove a little over an hour to the base of the mountain that the Barbiana School is located on. Then, we had to hike up the mountain for about an hour from there. I think that we all definitely underestimated the legitimacy of the term “hike”. By the time we got to the top, we were all very tired and sweaty. The scenery was absolutely beautiful. We were surrounded by trees and green, grassy hills and mountains. It was amazing, and really nice to get out of the city for a little while. We went into the tiny school and sat down in the classroom. One particularly interesting thing that we learned from our guide while we were at Barbiana was that anything that the students wanted or needed to use, they had to make themselves. They had even made the tables and chairs that we were sitting on! They referred to this as “learning by doing” because the students certainly learned a lot through creating all of the tools and materials that they needed for their education.

Barbiana 3Barbuana


Our guide spoke entirely in Italian, but our teacher was able to translate what she was saying into English for us. She told us all about the founding of the school, and how some of the students came from extremely far away (one boy had to walk over an hour and cross a river to get to the school). It was evident from what our guide was saying that Don Milani really cared about his students. He went to great lengths to ensure that his students got the education that they deserved. The students who attended the school also played an active role in their education. They were able to decide some of the things that they studied based on what interested them. Also, another fact that I thought was interesting was that the students were also teachers. Once they had been at the Barbiana school for a little while, they would be expected to teach their peers. After our tour, we were all starving, and still had to hike back down to the bus! The hike down was pretty hilarious, we were all tripping over our own feet and struggling to keep our balance as we went down the steep patches of the hike. However, all of our efforts were worth it, because we got to have lunch at a local trattoria. It was a very traditional Italian restaurant that our teacher had picked out, and he told us that we would be treated to the “best ravioli of our lives”. The food certainly did not disappoint. We had three different courses of ravioli. The first was filled with a ricotta cheese, and the second two were filled with mashed potatoes (which is a common Tuscan dish). They were absolutely delicious and we were all absolutely stuffed by the time our lunch was over! It was a great field trip, and well worth the hike!


Kathryn Abraham

This week the PC education students went on a field trip to the Barbiana School in Tuscany.This school was founded... MORE

Making Firenze Feel Like Home

Posted by: on October 17, 2014   |Comments (0)|Florence

I am studying abroad for the semester in Florence, Italy or as the locals would say “Firenze.” I have been here for 7 weeks now- almost half way through this experience- and the time is really flying by! Now that I have been here for a good amount of time I have settled into my new (or not so new) Italian home and I really love it! Firenze is a GORGEOUS city full of things to do. So far my roommates and I have gone to the Duomo (the beautiful cathedral here), the Boboli Gardens (beautiful gardens and greenery), the Ponte Vecchio (main bridge over the river where a lot of good jewelry is sold) and every Gelateria (ice cream place) Florence has!

Students at the Boboli Gardens!

Students at the Boboli Gardens!


The city is relatively small and very easy to navigate. My first two weeks were quite overwhelming, especially because I felt like I didn’t know where anything was, but by the third week I was able to understand many directions and now I know the city without ever taking out my map! The apartments here are SO nice. I live in a 6 -person apartment with 5 other PC girls. We have plenty of space with a living room, kitchen, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and lots of common space. The rest of the EDU girls are in apartments throughout the city as well and we live within a 15-minute walking distance of everyone. School is also about a 10- minute walk away, which I love because it lets me explore the city even when I am just walking to class.  My roommates and I love to cook in our apartment and use the kitchen nearly every night for dinner. It’s very helpful to have a full kitchen with a stove, oven, and refrigerator so we can cook for ourselves and save our money for traveling around Europe! So far I have been to Pisa, Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Switzerland, and Paris. It is very easy to travel from Florence to the rest of Europe, which has become one of my favorite aspects of this experience! I also love staying in Florence and exploring the city that we are living in! I can already tell that this experience will be over in the blink of an eye and that I will miss my Florentine home for years to come!

-Bridget Murray

I am studying abroad for the semester in Florence, Italy or as the locals would say “Firenze.” I have been... MORE

Learning about Teaching English

Posted by: on September 25, 2013   |Comments (0)|Uncategorized

Goings on in Tuscany at the End of September:

Students are learning English in classrooms throughout the United States, as well as in English as Foreign language classrooms throughout the world.  The PC students studying in Florence will be teaching English to nine, ten and eleven year olds under the supervision of an Italian English as a Foreign Language teacher.  PC education students in Florence have spent the first few weeks of the semester learning pedagogical practices for English Language Development as well strategies to support simultaneous teaching of content and language in a sheltered English model.  [Note: For those interested in learning about the current status of English Language Instruction this past summer’s American Educator had several articles]. Additionally in their Diversity in Education class, the students have been learning some Italian specifically for the elementary classroom.

                             “Go to page…” =Vai alla pagina #….”
                              “Did you understand?” – Hai capito?

These classes have prepared the students for the start of  their 10 week practicum teaching English as a Foreign Language.

This past weekend the students traveled to Assisi, Perugia and Siena with the Fairfield in Florence program.


Some of PC EDU students in Assisi overlooking the towns below!




“We enjoyed the beautiful views and going on tours provided by the school field trip! Not to mention trying a wonderful gelato treat!  Kathryn Andrea, Class of ’15

The World Bicycle Championship is taking place in Florence this week.   The route traverses the Tuscany country-side, but ends crossing central Florence pass the Duomo to the stadium.  What fun to see the competitors race through the streets as we walk to the class or the grocery store.


Goings on in Tuscany at the End of September: Students are learning English in classrooms throughout the United States, as... MORE