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Submitted by Antoinette Men… on 25/02/18 – 08:35

Cooperation is the opposite of individualism, selfishness, oppression, depredation of common resources, war.
Educating for cooperation is necessary to find interest in collective values and give meaning to life, to imagine and build better worlds.
In today's world marked by heavy inequalities and destructive individualisms, educating in cooperation is necessary to build social balance, to combat iniquity and injustice, so that fundamental rights are recognized to all living beings and each one takes responsibility for their realization.
In a world where conflict is too often the number of social relationships and the language of arms is increasingly loud, it is necessary to educate to cooperation:
• to find interest in collective values and give meaning to life, imagine and build better worlds
• to build social balance, to fight iniquity and injustice (data last report ISTAT)
• to recognize rights to all living beings and safeguard life on the planet
• for a real culture of peace
Cooperating, from the first years of life, means re-knowing oneself and the other, developing the ability to listen, to give and receive trust, to know how to work together with a common project, to be accepted and recognized with one's own identity and his own story and be enriched by comparing the identities and stories of others. Expanding perception, building solidarity rather than reinforcing competition and inequality, prevents the formation of representations of rigid and unchangeable social facts.
In the school cooperation develops if the educational environment is designed to welcome, interact, develop reciprocal relationships in the concreteness of daily action, if there is appreciation, curiosity and listening on the part of adults and the judgment is banned. To give everyone, or each one, the possibility of having in the school the meeting point of the most profound reasons for their life and their own research '(A. Canevaro).
That means, acting daily, acting on space and time, democratically establishing a dynamic order to compose and recompose, implementing a pedagogy of research and narration (‘thinking through stories’), studying strategies for the enhancement of each person / to allow them to feel good together, to experience the pleasure of doing, the emotion of knowing, of acting in a reflective and shared way, to discover oneself equal and different.
It means implementing a social and laboratory school, a gymnasium of democracy, but at the same time a new agora open to the territory, a place of meeting, thought and culture.
A living school with an IDENTITY, a system of memory and documentation, underlying an own culture.
S. Asch (in 'Social Psychology', SEI): 'the cooperation action is analogous to the formation of a group: the group and the task constitute a system, and the change in any of the parts of the system modifies all the others set off.'
Freinet defined his teaching as a set of 'techniques' and claimed that each technique has a formative value if it is a life technique inserted into a system of values. The set of techniques modifies the setting, the rhythm, the rules of the school through practices, tools, making available operational conditions, creates the conditions for growing together in a social dimension overcoming negative conditioning, the different forms of marginalization, perceptual and cultural rigidity, stereotypes, ethnocentrism, the taking of partial points of view.
Intervening on such ideas, broadening perception, building solidarity rather than reinforcing competition and inequality, avoids that the representations of social facts become rigid and unchangeable.
F. Oury, father of institutional pedagogy, added that 'human relationships (underlying the techniques) are educational' as they enrich mutual perceptions.
A cooperatively organized class is not a world in itself, but a complex and coherent system in evolution, which creates its own 'institutions', which work thanks to strategies or projects that are not linear or based on efficiency parameters, but on an 'ecological' sensitivity . Reflecting on how to regulate the common life, on how to take into account the opinions and rights of all, is a path across the whole school experience, form citizens / and active men and women . Mario Lodi, commenting on a budget session of the cooperative in his class, affirms the importance of 'giving account to others', of sharing responsibility, of assuming the common good as a value  in a country subjected to amoral feminism, to deregulation, to the phase of capitalism that Ph. Meirieu calls 'compulsive'.
Cooperation is the way and the main aim of the school, it is the utopia for a more right society.
Giancarlo Cavinato – national secretary MCE