An American mother tells us about Italian schools

A school year abroad

The author Deirdre Straughan in the post, ” A school year abroad”, lists a series of difference between Italian and American schools.  She also highlights the sides that the Italian school should improve.

Straughan supports her idea by telling her own experience. She moved to Italy therefore she married an Italian husband from who had a daughter, Rossella.  Rossella frequented all her five years of high school in Italy even though she failed her 4th year because of math and her mother reported the pressure that teachers put on students over there.

The first thing that she says is that the Italian school system is not well balanced because:

  • There are no extra curricular activities after school such as sports, which are not provided by the school and end up to be expensive and to take a lot of time and this privates them opportunities for awards or recognition;
  • Italian kids simply don’t have time or opportunity to do much of anything outside of school but homework, which can be demotivating for those who don’t shine at school but still have skills that they never have the opportunity to use because of lack of time;
  • Kids have to study with their parents almost all the time because the school doesn’t provide a guidance counselor, and that’s maybe why many university students seem profoundly uninterested in the degrees for which their parents studied;
  • Even if you fail just one class, you have to repeat the entire year of high school (usually a quarter of every class fails the year);
  • Italian grading are supposed to be on a scale of 1-10, with 6 being a pass, but grades above 7 don’t seem to be assigned at all routinely and in a discussion on Expats, one Italian participant opined that some high school teachers grade punitively to enhance their own sense of power;
  • The Italian government encourages students to go on exchange programs during both high school and university, but their re-entry into the Italian system is difficult because you have to study (alone or just with you parents) all summer to make up the deficit, then trying to pass exams before the new school year, so that they can rejoin their classmates in the fifth year;
  • I would also add, but that’s not reported by the author, that Italian teachers don’t know how to use computers so Italian students can’t even bring their own, unless they have dyslexia, or they can’t even type essays on the computer because there might be the chance of parents doing their kids’ homework.

The author purpose is to show how bad-balanced the Italian school is and how much there is to do in order to make things better. She also shows really well where the things to work on are so that it is easier to understand that there is another way to concept school that can be not perfect but at least better.

The author answers the research question saying that the Italian school has to work on balance and look at other school system, like the American one for example, that seems better in many ways.


This article in my opinion express totally the pure truth and it is exactly what students what to change about that terrifying school. I hope that the Italian government will hear what Americans think about their school system and that they will be so ashamed that they will have to change it because that is the only way to let teenagers live their teens happily and not scared, unmotivated and with low self-esteem.



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