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Italy:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

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Overview Italy

Contents

Italy:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Italy:Historical Development

Italy:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Italy:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Italy:Political and Economic Situation

Italy:Organisation and Governance

Italy:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Italy:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Italy:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Italy:Organisation of Private Education

Italy:National Qualifications Framework

Italy:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Italy:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Italy:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Italy:Funding in Education

Italy:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Italy:Higher Education Funding

Italy:Adult Education and Training Funding

Italy:Early Childhood Education and Care

Italy:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Italy:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Italy:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Italy:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Italy:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Italy:Primary Education

Italy:Organisation of Primary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Italy:Assessment in Primary Education

Italy:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Italy:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Italy:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Italy:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Higher Education

Italy:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Italy:First Cycle Programmes

Italy:Bachelor

Italy:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Italy:Second Cycle Programmes

Italy:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Italy:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Italy:Adult Education and Training

Italy:Distribution of Responsibilities

Italy:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Italy:Main Providers

Italy:Main Types of Provision

Italy:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Italy:Teachers and Education Staff

Italy:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Italy:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Italy:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Italy:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Management and Other Education Staff

Italy:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Italy:Management Staff for Higher Education

Italy:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Italy:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Quality Assurance

Italy:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Italy:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Educational Support and Guidance

Italy:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Italy:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Italy:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Italy:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Italy:Mobility and Internationalisation

Italy:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Mobility in Higher Education

Italy:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Italy:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Italy:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Italy:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Italy:National Reforms in School Education

Italy:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Italy:National Reforms in Higher Education

Italy:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Italy:European Perspective

Italy:Legislation

Italy:Glossary

Curriculum, Subjects, Number of Hours

At primary level, the curriculum is defined through National Guidelines for the curriculum (Indicazioni nazionali per il curricolo) of 2012. This document replaces the National Guidelines for the personalised study plans in primary schools (Indicazioni nazionali per i piani di studio personalizzati nella scuola primaria) of 2004 and the Guidelines for the curriculum (Indicazioni per il curricolo), of 2007.

According to new Guidelines, the general aims of the school is the harmonic and comprehensive development of the individual, according to the principles of the Italian Constitution and the European cultural tradition, to be achieved through promotion of knowledge, respect of individual diversities and active involvement of students and their families. The reference horizon for these new guidelines is the framework of lifelong learning key competences established by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union through Recommendation of 18 December 2006.

In particular, the primary level of education has the task of making pupils acquire knowledge and skills fundamental for the development of basic cultural competences.

The subjects foreseen by the new Guidelines for the 5 years of primary school are: Italian, English, history, geography, mathematics, sciences, technology, music, arts, motory sciences and sport (also called body, movement and sport). According to new National Guidelines of 2012, this list of subjects includes also the teaching of 'Citizenship and Constitution' which experimentation, started in school year 2009/2010, has concluded. It is not a separate subject and its contents are outlined through teaching pathways developed by each school. To pursue this objective, all schools must include this teaching in their plans of the educational offer.

Each experience field has its competence development goals which are mandatory for teachers; such experience fields indicate cultural and teaching paths and help teachers to address their educational action towards the integral development of pupils.

The specific learning objectives of Catholic religion have been approved through Decree of the President of the Republic, according to the Concordat rules. The have been recently revised to adapt them to the new competences students should acquire through compulsory education.

At primary level, there are not specific subject timetables. Only the subjects English and Catholic religion have a specific timetable: one hour teaching for English in the first grade, two hours in the second grade, three hours in the third, fourth and fifth grades, for a total minimum compulsory amount of 396 hours throughout all primary education. Two weekly hours are destined either to the teaching of Catholic religion or to alternative activities for those who choose them as an alternative to Catholic religion.

Teaching Methods and Materials

The freedom of teaching is a principle established by the Italian Constitution (section 3); the freedom of the teachers’ methods springs from this principle. The choice and use of teaching methods and materials must be consistent with each school's Plan for the educational offer (POF, which is consistent, in its turn, with the general and educational objectives of the different branches and levels of study established at national level).

Without prejudice to teaching freedom, the National Guidelines for the curriculum (please see 'Curriculum, subjects and number of hours') have provided for some basic methodological approaches, such as, for example, the exploitation of pupils' experiences and knowledge, the promotion of exploration and discovery activities, the encouragement of cooperative learning, the development of the awareness of one's own learning method, carrying out in-lab learning, etc.

Schools, through the Teachers’ assembly, can formally indicate which textbooks teachers will use in their class. However, this indication is not mandatory for teachers and schools. The procedure foresees that teachers choose the textbooks as well as other didactic tools for the classes in which they teach. Teachers then submit their choices to the Teachers’ assembly that formally approves the choice. Teachers may confirm the textbooks adopted the previous year, or they can adopt new textbooks. In the latter case, textbooks can be in digital or mixed version (mixed versions are meant as paper versions, paper and digital versions or digital versions, all with integrative digital contents). In any case, textbooks and didactic tools must be consistent with the curriculum and with the Plan for the educational offer of the school.

Textbooks are free for pupils and costs are paid by municipalities, in accordance with the regional legislations on the right to study. Every year, the Ministry establishes the cover price of textbooks.

Moreover, schools can create, for specific subjects, their own digital didactic tools that students will use as textbooks. Teachers will elaborate such tools in class during the teaching hours and in collaboration with the other class teachers and with students. They will work under the supervision of a teacher who will ensure the scientific and didactic quality of the product. Schools should register their work, get the relevant licence and send their didactic tools to the Ministry of education within the end of the school year, in order to share and deliver it free to other State schools.

As for school year 2015/2016, the cover price of textbooks is the following:

Grade

First grade

textbook

Primary school

textbook (all subjects)

Language

textbook

Various subjects

textbook

Religion Foreign language  Total
1st € 11.40
 € 7.00
 € 3.45
 € 21.85
2nd € 15.96
 
 € 5.15
 € 21.11
3rd € 22.81
 
 € 6.88
 € 29.69
4th € 14.76
€ 18.32
 € 7.00
 € 6.88
 € 46.96
5th € 17.90
€ 21.36
 € 8.59
 € 47.85

Source: Ministerial Decree no. 637/2015

Primary schools are usually provided with many teaching materials and tools. Schools are encouraged to arrange labs or rooms destined to libraries, gyms, scientific or music labs. In general, primary schools have ICT labs for supporting teaching activities, whereas several classes are also equipped with interactive whiteboards (IWB).

Each school pays for didactic materials, tools and equipment within the limits of its financial resources. Local authorities can share in the expenses in accordance with the regional legislations on the right to study.

Legislative references

Ministerial Decree 16 November 2012, no. 254 (National guidelines for the curriculum 2012)

Law Decree 18 October 2012, no 179 converted in Law 17 December 2012, n. 221 (textbooks)

Law 6 August 2008, no. 133 (textbooks)

Law 30 October 2008, no. 169 (Citizenship and Constitution)

Ministerial Decree 31 July 2007 (Guidelines for the curriculum)

D.Lgs. 19 February 2004, no. 59 (National guidelines)