Rendiconti Online della Società Geologica Italiana - Vol. 40/2016

Teaching Physical Geography in Italian High Schools (Licei): current situation and perspective

Matteo Sturani (a)
(a) Department of Earth Sciences "Ardito Desio", Statale University of Milan, via Mangiagalli 34, 20133 I-Milan, Italy. E-mail:

Volume: 40/2016
Pages: 91-98


Physical geography as a discipline is not included in national Italian high school curricula, even though it is supposed to be taught as part of the natural science programmes, especially after the 2010 reform of the Italian secondary school system. In particular the reform introduces the study of physical geography for the first time to first year classes in specialized upper secondary schools known as "licei". A survey based on open data shows that Earth Science textbooks released after 2010 tend to offer a broader range of topics than intended by the reform's framework, which provides teachers ample freedom in scheduling. The data, however, also reveals that only a small percentage of science teachers strictly follows the national guidelines, while the majority allocate a very small amount of their schedule to physical geography. This reveals a minor influence of geoscience in the Italian approach to the teaching of general science at high school level. The new reform even if it lacks of implementing information for teachers suggests that both the importance attributed to physical geography in the curricula and the related teaching methods used need to be improved. This meets the need to increase geosciences literacy in scholar population in order to develop an active and responsible attitude towards environmental challenges and hydro-geological risks, which are a distinctive aspect of Italian territory.


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