SYA News

A Class Without a Textbook

Step inside Dr. Daniele Gatti's Global Citizenship class, and you will see first-hand the power of student-centered, place-based education.

"For us, our textbook is the Italian society and people," says Gatti when describing the course. "Anything we do, anything we say in class, must be related somehow to what is happening in the world."

As a part of the class, Gatti asks students to conduct in-person interviews with local Italian citizens on issues related to immigration, politics and the economy. These interviews are supplemented with online conversations with people around the world, as well as further research through online articles and newspapers. These diverse voices and opinions are brought together and discussed through guided class conversations.

Recently, Gatti asked four Spanish students currently studying in Italy to attend a class session and participate in a discussion about the Catalonia referendum in Spain. This topic was tied to recent class discussions around a similar issue in Northern Italy. The Spanish students offered varied perspectives on the issue, and provided a context only possible through first-hand conversation.

These conversations and interviews will build towards specific projects designed by students, in which students will work individually or in small groups to dive more deeply into a specific issue. The projects will culminate with an international conference, the Global Issues Network (GIN) in Luxemburg, as well as the Rome Model United Nations (MUN) in the spring.


Dr. Gatti joined SYA Italy in 2011 and has taught both in public schools and in private institutions. Gatti earned his BA, MA and MeD from the University of Viterbo and an MA and PhD from the University of Siena. Dr. Gatti is also a graduate of the Conservatory of Terni.