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Learning as source of life and the school la rinnovata pizzigoni
Learning as source of life and the School
“La Rinnovata Pizzigoni”
Università degli Studi Roma Tre
Department of Education
General and Social Pedagogy
International Conference on Adults Education
24-25 October 2013 - Bucharest, Romania
Transforming the educational relationship: intergenerational and family
learning for the lifelong learning society
• Symbolic Interactionism and Ethnomethodology (Dilthey, Dewey,
• Comparative research in education (Sadler, Hans, Holmes)
• Conceptualization and practice of the innovation (Pizzigoni)
Since 1907 the Pizzigoni School «La Rinnovata» of
Milan (Italy) is promoting the adoption of the
experimental method. The concept of learning as source
of life is the materialization of the social interaction
studied by the ethnomethodology. This is a new way to
approach the problem of knowledge and innovation in
contemporary school system. Moreover, comparative
analysis in the context of educational studies provides
the theoretical framework for understanding the relation
between institutional change and scolastic experience.
Scientific contest of presentation
PEDAGOGY and School Education according to
Person Argument Interactive Explanation Methodology
•School is part of
the global society
source of life
The early 20th century in Italy was
a century dedicated to women as
regards education and it was
definitely important in the subsequent
development of feminine pedagogy and
teachers and educators did not
believe so much in having to render
a service to science as to serve childhood
and man-child, thus, conceiving the
best education for developing the child
New Pedagogy founded by Women
• Montessori and Pizzigoni were involved in a new scientific and
experimental pedagogy, running along parallel paths and perhaps
never directly meeting.
• Montessori saw experimental pedagogy as based on a method of
scientific pedagogy, whereas, for Pizzigoni, it was objective teaching
• Montessori began her experiment with “Casa dei bambini”/Home for
Children in Rome (1907) and wrote “The Method of scientific
pedagogy”(1909); Pizzigoni conceived the fundamental guidelines for
the School “La Rinnovata” in Milan (1907), created the first nucleus
as an experiment, in Ghisolfa (1911) and presented The Renovated
School according to the experimental method in a public speech. In a
short article in the “Pedagogic Journal” in 1909, Pizzigoni was able to
show her interest in scientific and practical research.
La Rinnovata Pizzigoni, 1927
Nursery for children 0-3 years
La Rinnovata Pizzigoni, 2013
• G. Pizzigoni criticizes Herbart who is satisfied with a teacher
capable of describing his experiences, while the teacher should
reawaken the experience of children. She prefers Fröbel, Author of
"Education of man", and appreciates the emphasis on the
importance of life in the open air, nature, travel and walks; one’s
own country is a “single whole”, and nature is an "all continuous”
(G. Pizzigoni 1956, 26).
• As for Vincenzo Cuoco, Pizzigoni likes the specification of the aim
of education that “more than presenting positive ideas, has to
provide the mind with the aptitude to understand science” (G.
Pizzigoni 1956, 27).
• After having reviewed these studies, Pizzigoni states, “How can I
express the great joy of hearing the eco of my soul in these
writings?” (G. Pizzigoni 1956, 28). And then, “This is how the
concept of the duty of school is gradually completed and assumes
the entirety of the great value in educating individuals and
reforming society” (G. Pizzigoni 1956, 29).
Reform Pedagogy – New Schools - Progressive Education
Pizzigoni had studied and known:
• the experiences of the new school in Europe and USA
• how the U.S. presented itself as the land of true, modern, scientific
pedagogy, against verbalism and in favour of personal and
intellectual observation of the facts and phenomena. That school
seemed truly to reply to the needs of childhood
• American Schools presented by Omer Buyse, the Hamptom
school, the English open-air school, Letchwork in Garden City,
Abbotsholme and workshops of practical pedagogy
• Landerziehungsheime (1898) of Lietz, a 19th century experiment in
education towards citizenship (Germany)
• École des Roches of Edmond Demolins (France)
• Waldschulen in Switzerland
• Swedish workshops, and Tolstoj’s Jasnaja Poljana school (Russia)
“I wanted to renew the school too old as much as I could, but I was
judged by many as a very strange person. My spirit, however,
does not quieted, and seeking the school directly, as I had a
quick and concise vision about what should be the elementary
It was in 1907 that, almost obeying to a voice which was speaking
inside me, I have written in a breath the fundamental points on
which the new school should have been built: I had saw what it
was going to be the new environment, and I had saw how the
children could move around, I had saw the light and the beauty
from a life lived for the benefit of the minds and of the souls of
the childhood, and so I have formed the ideal framework of the
Basic lines and programs of the renovated school, 1922
LEARNING AS SOURCE OF LIFE
“Let us leave the world of words and enter the world of facts,
that is my motto. I have conceived the school this way: facts
teach; pupils experiment and learn; all teachers do is bring
all the facts they find fundamentally educational into contact
with the pupils, or the latter into contact with the former, and
guide the minds of those who have to learn, so that the
learning is ordered and becomes a source of life” (G.
Pizzigoni 1929, 10-11).
The teacher and school prepare the conditions and ensure the
possibilities of learning.
Pizzigoni talks about the dream and utopia of the
new school, thought out in a new environment
and with new teachers
“Knowledge of child psychology, individual and
collective; aptitude to live the life of the world of
little people; a mind trained in the knowledge of
nature and social and national life; knowledge of
method criterion for carrying out various sciences,
and great interest in childhood, valued in itself, in its
continuous development and in the future it will
reach: in my opinion, these are the indispensable
elements of training a teacher for a truly renewed
primary school” (G. Pizzigoni 1956, 11).
Objective teaching, the experimental
method, the psycho-physical experience of
the pupil, workshops, classes in the open
air and forming the character of the child
are the original aspects of the Renovated
School, which opposes verbalism, studying
for exams more than for life, and collecting
words rather than observable facts.
Pizzigoni Fund in the Historical Museum of Didactics “Mauro Laeng”
A new Archives has been created with the purpose of presenting the
original idea of “La Rinnovata Pizzigoni” and the continuity of
experimental pedagogy, from 1927 to 2013. The Archives, called
“Fondo Pizzigoni” is on line with worldwide access to children’s
The 350 records are important to everybody that would like to follow
the initial impulse over the years, knowing the experience aimed to
create a new environment where conditions of learning are based on
the school of joy and the respect of the children.
The effect of the New Schools in Europe and in USA lasts in
the contemporary pedagogy assuming new forms.
The experimental method of Pizzigoni, or method of
personal experience, combined with the attachment of the
teacher at the school and pupils, was and is a significant
innovation in which it is possible to find signs of the
pedagogical transformations that have crossed the Italian
school in these last hundred years of history. The method
has an high social impact because it refers to the school
environment in terms of world, with mutual enrichment.
This education in school is characterized by constant
principles rooted in the concept of 'learning as source of
life'. Learning is a problem of existence from which derives
the importance of knowledge.
Be a school in the method and make the method a school
Denzin, N. K. (1970) “Symbolic Interactionism and Ethnomethodology”, in Douglas , J. D.
(ed.) Understanding Everyday Life. Toward the Reconstruction of Sociological Knowledge,
Dewey, J. (1938) Logic, the Theory of Inquiry, New York: Holt
Dilthey, W. (1914) “Der Aufbau der geschichtlichen Welt in den Geisteswissenschaften”,
III/2, iv, in Gesammelte Schriften, VII, Leipzig: Teubner
Hans, N. (1949) Comparative education. A study of educational factors and traditions,
London: Routledge and Kegan Paul
Holmes, B. (1965) Problems in education. A comparative approach , London: Routledge and
Pizzigoni, G. (1922) Linee fondamentali e programmi della scuola elementare rinnovata
secondo il metodo sperimentale, Milano: Paravia & C.
Pizzigoni, G. (1929) L’insegnamento oggettivo. Estratto dalla “Rivista Pedagogica” diretta
da Luigi Credaro, anno XIII, fasc. 3-4, Milano: Tipografia della Scuola Rinnovata.
Pizzigoni, G. (1937) Scuola nuova maestro nuovo scolaro nuovo, Milano: Ufficio di
Propaganda dell’«Opera Pizzigoni»
Pizzigoni, G. (1956) Linee fondamentali e programmi e altri scritti, Brescia: La Scuola
Sadler, M. E. (1900) How far can we learn anything of practical value from the study of
foreign systems of education?, Guildford: Surrey Advertiser Office
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