Continuity and discontinuity at school: institutional tensions and pedagogical trajectories in the Italian education system


  • Elisabetta Nigris Pensa MultiMedia Editore
  • Luisa Zecca


This paper outlines the debate concerning the ongoing fragmentation of the school experience for 3- to 14-year-old students in Italy, despite the setting up of Istituti Comprensivi that bring groups of nursery, primary, and lower secondary schools together under a single management structure. When discontinuity is intentionally planned, it helps teachers to stimulate growth and development in children. At the same time, building relationships between people and schools in such a way as to facilitate continuity can also be a deliberate strategy for fostering learning and growth. We focus here on the causes of continuity and discontinuity in students’ learning paths and in the present curriculum (based on the 2012 National Curricular Guidelines), approaching the topic from an institutional perspective and drawing on the results of a qualitative study of teachers’ practices and perceptions to point out both the tensions and the trajectories inherent in the current model.