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portada de BMM


MARTA MATA, THE TEACHER'S HOUSE

There was 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.

Biography
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?
  • Doubting 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.
  • Then, 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.