MARTA MATA, THE TEACHER'S HOUSE
a time when the name Marta Mata was the sacred totem pole of active
Catalan teaching. Since then, generations of teachers have placed
their faith in her. At first it was a professional faith, and
then later a political faith. They delegated their desire for
improvement to this woman who, still today, strives after the
dream of an equitable education system, which would be capable
of turning out free people, able to think for themselves and thirsty
for culture. She enjoys her work so much that she often forgets
to talk about herself.
Born in Barcelona on 22 June 1926, Marta Mata is a teacher and
educationalist. Her life has been characterised by her almost
total devotion to the world of teaching. She was to the forefront
as a driving force behind the main teaching renewal movement in
the country, emanating from the Rosa Sensat teacher training school,
of which she was director until it became a school in 1980 and
in which, even today, she is still actively involved.
She was elected
a member of parliament in the socialist coalition of Catalonia
in 1977. In this capacity, she worked on the parliamentary committees
for Culture and Education and Science. In the 1979 legislative
elections she was re-elected. From then on she was also president
of the Rafael Campalans Foundation. In 1980 she was elected to
the Catalan parliament, where she was to work on the Cultural
Policy committee. In the previous legislature she had been made
a senator for Catalonia. She continues to work on educational
issues and is convinced that civil society now knows at last that
education is an issue which must be resolved universally.
- Why do
we parents always have the impression that we're not doing it
quite right? Is it bad to doubt yourself?
internally is good. Doubting in front of your children is not.
It is not a question of making them believe that we are possessors
of all truth. It is enough to give them the security that they
will do alright, that they will achieve their dreams- simply
give them the confidence that they will achieve it. Even if
inside you have your doubts, you must try not to transmit them
to your children.
- What do
you miss in the present-day school system?
It's very simple. Real involvement of people. What we used to
dream of years ago and what Proebel preached 160 years ago.
In an institution which aspires to be a school, everyone must
play a role: government and municipality, city-dwellers and
country people, teachers and the young, mothers and fathers.
And the enthusiasm for learning, for human progress, in short,
that is a doctrine. But I would like it to be a reality. Also,
what many of us experienced in the days of the Republic and
which, now at a time when beliefs are firmer but no one lives
according to them, seems to have been diluted.
- And if
I were to ask you for the golden rule for educating our children?
Try to discover in your children what even they themselves have
not discovered yet. Understand what they have inside them before
even they themselves suspect it. You will see everything. Consider
them as persons.
the child should not be treated like a child?
Nooo! But neither should we have a relationship of equals with
them. For example: we must be aware that they have a long way
to go yet; they are only starting, but their values have the
same force as ours, and we should consider them with this respect.