The pedagogy of Don Bosco may be re-named for our times as the ‘pedagogy of expression’ because it is a system of education that is designed to enable a student to grow fully and freely into the kind of person he or she is ‘meant’ to be. Don Bosco himself called his educative method ‘the preventive system’ – a name he chose to contrast it with the ‘repressive system’ in vogue during his time. The latter was a type of education that used fear of punishment as the basis for control. In contrast, Don Bosco’s preventive method would seek to ‘prevent’ the very need for punishment by placing the child in an environment in which he/she is encouraged to choose the ‘good’ rather than the ‘bad’. In positive terms, this environment would create a healthy, congenial and friendly atmosphere in order to elicit the best that a student can offer – his/her complete self-expression.
The roots or the invisible principles of Don Bosco’s ‘system of expression’ are ‘Rapport’, ‘Religion’ and ‘Reason’, while the trunk or visible body of this educational method is ‘Presence’.