Rome (Italy). On 8 October 2022, in online mode, Sr. Marcia Koffermann, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians of Our Lady Aparecida Province (BAP), PhD student in Social Communication at the University of Huelva, Spain, presented to the FMA, members of the Interprovincial Conference East Asia (CIAO) School, a reflection on the theme: “Integral formation in an infodemic context”.
The theme stimulates a discussion on the current challenges concerning the infosphere, in particular on the infodemic, the dissemination of an excessive amount of information, sometimes not accurate that makes it difficult to orient oneself and identify reliable sources, which spreads widely through social networks, and on how, in the face of this reality, the school can contribute to the formation of a critical, participatory, and aware citizen.
In the first part of the presentation, Sr. Marcia focused on contemporary reality, immersed in a context of post-truth, in which truth appears as a relative concept and dominates emotionality, leading to: loss of autonomy and individual critical sense; systematic manipulation of the passions of individuals; charismatic leadership, understood as a kind of distortion of the realistic narrative; propensity for discursive rhetoric and exaggeration, even aggression or verbal violence, present in many mass demonstrations.
In the second part, she emphasized the need to offer young people an integral education. In face in today’s context of great technological development, knowledge and learning are no longer an exclusive domain of the school. Families can no longer be the only ones responsible for transmitting values, for the simple fact that from an early age, children spend most of their life at school and less and less time with their parents. With the growth of digital media, facts begin to be narrated through different visions, adopting discourses that are always charged with divergent emotions, beliefs, and opinions.
For this reason, an integral education that takes into account the multidimensionality of the person is an essential condition for the construction of society. Truly critical thinking is not reached only with the development of reason, it is also necessary to educate from the senses, emotions, and beliefs.
The proposal of Pope Francis of the Global Educational Pact is in this direction. It sees the involvement of all the forces of society in the commitment to educate. The Salesian educators then have in their hands the great inheritance of Don Bosco’s Preventive System who, already in the last century, had intuited that education cannot be a process of transmitting contents, but a healthy and balanced synthesis of reason, religion, and loving-kindness. Sr. Marcia also brought to the attention of the participants the UNESCO document: “Re-imagining the future together: a new social contract for education”, that is along this line.
Finally, the speaker highlighted the importance of building educational communicative ecosystems in view of integral education, focusing on the proposal of the Global Educational Pact, especially on thesui seven commitments indicated by Pope Francis.
Sr. Marcia Koffermann concluded her presentation by noting that in the face of the complexity of the world there are no simple solutions. A joint effort is needed, uniting forces between different institutions to face the human crisis in which the world is immersed with courage and effectiveness, and to relocate it to the right place in the Common Home, which is the planet in which it lives.
“We need the courage to generate processes that consciously assume the existing fragmentation and the contrasts that in fact we carry with us; the courage to recreate the fabric of relationships in favor of a humanity capable of speaking the language of fraternity” (Pope Francis).