The Cultural Centre La Nau of the Universitat de València has opened ‘Escoles i Mestres: dos siglos de historia y memoria en Valencia’ (Schools and teachers: two centuries of history and memory of Valencia), an exhibition that pays tribute to the figure of school and its teachers along the almost two centuries of existence of the public school. The exhibition could be visited at the Academy Room of La Nau until 18 March.
The exhibition intends to “honour the school and its teachers, trying that whoever visits it, and whoever reads the catalogue, recalls the memories of their education,” as explained by Barberá during the the press that was held this morning in La Nau and that has also had the interventions of the Vice-Principal for Culture and Equality of the University of Valencia, Antonio Ariño and Manuel Monfort, dean of the Faculty of Education of the University of Valencia.
The curator of the exhibition has stressed the importance of the school, which possibly constitutes “the most universal shared experience. “We entered the world when we started going to school, because for some time now it has been the institution that makes the transition of the family to the world possible. We entrust our children to it with the assurance that they will find it vaulable the adventures in that first field of test of attitudes and human values.” The exhibition starts from the first schools in the germ of our educational system, to the current ones of the 21st century: “My two children cannot even imagine many of the things of the segregated and confessional school that I attended, as well as I find it hard to imagine what my stay in a shared classroom with classmates in the presence of teachers would have been, and one of the objectives of the exhibition is for all audiences to recognise themselves in their own schools.”
The Vice-Principal Antonio Ariño has highlighted that “the school is intangible heritage that has turn into the main tool to fight against inequality and as element of intregration” that reflects social diversity.
The University complement this exhibition with a broad training programme that includes six free workshops for all ages. Registration here.
The other vector of the exhibition is the teachers training. The academic year 1867-1868 in the Feminine Normal School of Valencia openned very late. It had 38 students attending elementary school teacher studies and a staff of five professors, led by Josefa Ágreda Muñoz, its first director.
Years before, 175 years ago, but also late, on 28 July 1842, the project for the creation of the Masculine Normal School of Valencia was sent to the Ministry of Interior. 58 men started the course, 22 years before a single Valencian woman could get the title of teacher in Valencia.
Two centuries of school experiences
Since the creation of the two Normal Schools, 150 and 175 years ago, the Universitat de València has always been closely linked to these institutions and their role, the training of teachers, to the point that, at present, their Faculty of Teacher training is one of the most demanded and with the largest number of enrolments
In the exhibition you can also find a reflective look at the contexts, processes and resources that have concurred in the historical development of the school. Through very diverse materials and objects (photographs, documents, works of art, scientific instruments, books, notebooks, furniture, audiovisuals ...), its social construction is illustrated for more than two hundred years, offering an opportunity to contemplate, from a distance, those personal school experiences and place them in the historical and social context that gives them meaning, showing where they come from and where they lead, exposing the deficiencies that prevented them from being better, and the virtues that corrected some of the inherited shortage.
Some issues are central to this tour: the evolution of the schooling process, the inequality marks, the transition from the old corporatism to the institutionalization of teacher training, the changes that lead from a culturalist or encyclopedic model to another with a greater professional nature, the paths of pedagogical evolution from tradition to modernity, the itinerary from pedagogical optimism to the social commitment of the school...
This tour has been structured in the exhibition through six stages: “The origins” in the nineteenth century; 'The demands of professional dignity' with the arrival of the 20th century; “The democratising and modernising impulse of the Second Republic;” “The effects and realities of the postwar period;” “The new rationality of developmentalism and technocracy;” and “The time of the democratic transition.”
The exhibition is complemented by a careful catalog that collects, together with the exhibited pieces, a series of essays that provide both a historical perspective of the evolution of the school institution and some of its protagonists, local and non-local, as well as another perspective offered from the evolution of school disciplines, starting point of meetings and conversations between teachers and students.
The exhibition is organized by the Office of the Vice-Principal for Culture and Equality and the Faculty of Teacher Training of the Universitat de València and has the collaboration of the Valencian Provincial Council, the City Council of Valencia, the Film Archive of the Institut Valencià de Cultura, Valencian Department of Education, Research, Culture and Sport, and the General Foundation of the Universitat de València.