22910163 - History of education

The course’s objective is acquiring and consolidating knowledge concerning history of pedagogical ideas that have been expressed by some of the most important western authors between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries. The aim is to make students aware that the history of past ideas is a fundamental tool for understanding present times.

Through the study of History of Pedagogy the student will be able to achieve the following training objectives:
1) In terms of knowledge and understanding, the awareness of the epistemological foundations of the history of pedagogical ideas
2) In terms of ability to apply the acquired knowledge, the ability to critically analyze the relationship between pedagogical ideas and different educational practices;
3) In terms of autonomy of judgment, the ability to evaluate how much of the past survives in present educational contexts;
4) In terms of learning and research abilities, to increase the knowledge of the most recent cognitive pathways in the field of history of pedagogy and education;
5) communication skills aimed at identifying and criticizing stereotypes and prejudices conveyed by pedagogical ideas, in order to facilitate their overcoming through educational practices.

teacher profile | teaching materials


The course will be articulated in a general part and a workshop part.
The general part will tackle, in the first semester, the main authors of the history of education of modern and contemporary age through the analysis of the principal schools of thought.
In the first semester the workshop part will be dedicated to the analysis of some specific themes of the history of education in the contemporary age, in particular as regards the history of Italian pedagogical Marxism through the analysis of the thought of its major interpreters: Mario Alighiero Manacorda, Dina Bertoni Jovine, Lucio Lombardo Radice and Bruno Ciari. For this purpose, Carmela Covato's book, "The pedagogical itinerary of Italian Marxism" will be examined.

In the second semester the workshop activity will continue focusing especially on the educational thought of Antonio Gramsci will be studied in-depth through the reading of a particularly relevant place concerning the prison notes, the Notebook 12, in which Gramsci outlines his idea of school and education in opposition to the model offered by Giovanni Gentile’s Reform of 1923.
It will also be taken into consideration, again in the second half of the year,the educational thought of one of the major authors of the Twentieth century, John Dewey. A particularly significant work of the American pedagogist will be analysed, The School and Society, in which Dewey, putting school in relation with the social process in its entirety, outlines the idea of the formation of a new democratic citizen endowed with scientific spirit and a historical and critical sense.

Core Documentation

The following volumes will be analysed:

S. Santamaita; Storia dell’educazione e delle pedagogie, Bruno Mondadori, Milano, 2013.
A.Gramsci, Quaderno del carcere n. 12. A cura di Chiara Meta, Edizioni Conoscenza, Roma, 2018.
J. Dewey, Scuola e società. A cura di F. Borruso, Edizioni Conoscenza, Roma, 2018.
C. Covato, L’itinerario pedagogico del marxismo italiano, Edizioni Conoscenza, Roma, 2022

Type of delivery of the course

the course will be delivered through taught classes, audiovisual material will be adopted: films and documentaries will be used

Type of evaluation

an oral test is scheduled