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Experiences of the Institut-Escola de la República (Junior-High School of the Republic): visit by Francesca Valls

November 4, 2022

A pedagogical meeting was held last Friday at the Blanquerna-URL Auditorium of the School of Psychology, Educational Sciences and Sport with Francesca Valls, a centenarian, and former student of Barcelona's Institut-Escola Pi i Margall during the Republican Government of Catalonia.

FPCEE- Francesca Valls Institut Escola

At the age of one hundred years, Francesca Valls spent a very pleasant time with the first year students of the degrees in Primary Education and Early Childhood Education explaining her experience as a student at the Institut-Escola Pi i Margall in Barcelona during the Republic.

As she explained, at the Institut-Escola there was time for dialogue, always taking into account the students, who had a very close relationship with the teachers. The values of the center were coeducation and lay education with the Catalan language as the vehicular language. In the Institut-Escola nothing was forbidden, neither religion nor other languages, but they were very conscious of the importance of the Catalan language as a cultural value.

Our students had the opportunity to hear firsthand what it was like to teach at the time, get to know the pedagogical methods and become aware of the effects of the Civil War.During the conflict, classes continued despite the fear; during the bombings, the entire class had to go down to the school's basement floor for protection.

FPCEE - Francesca Valls Ins Escola Anna Montserrat i Anna Pagès

Under the dictatorship, the Institut-Escola disappeared, which was a very significant loss. Over time, in order to stay in contact with those who attended, a non-profit association of friends of the Institut-Escola was created to meet for conferences and excursions. The association was founden in 1979 and lasted until 2011.

Francesca has never stopped studying, she is enrolled in the university for seniors. She explained that she loves learning new things and enjoys listening to teachers. The meeting, held by professors Anna de Montserrat and Anna Pagès, featured the participation of the writer Salvador Domènech.

The experience enabled us to value the legacy of renovating education, full of values and solidarity of the Government of the Second Republic. It is crucial to recover the historical legacy of active school experiences if we are to continue to improve the present of education.

The students of the School, future education professionals, had the opportunity to ask their questions and had a very enriching time listening to the life experiences of a woman full of energy. Valls gave them life advice and spoke to them regarding the importance of having a sense of history in order to be a teacher. "You have to remember and recover the past to improve the present".

FPCEE - Francesca Valls ins Escola Alumnat Educació

Lastly, she added that a good teacher is one who values the students and who exercises the profession with love and dedication.

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