Theories of education (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Federica Valbusa
Federica Valbusa
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 1A dal Sep 21, 2020 al Oct 31, 2020.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

A theory of education expresses a conception of the human flourishing and of the ways through which it can be promoted; coherently, it orients the design of educative experiences aimed at developing the different existentive dimensions of the person. The theory of education on which the course is focused is the Socratic one that conceives education as a practice of care: according to this conception, the mission of the educator consists in encouraging the other to care for him/herself.
Knowledge and understanding:
At the end of the course, students should know the theories of education that, from the antiquity to the present day, develop the conception of education as a practice of care; furthermore, they should have understood how the educative experiences, designed starting from these theories, qualify themselves.
Moreover, students should know what are the fundamental issues that arise from a theoretical reflection on teaching and education, what are the problems that nowadays emerge in the educational contexts and what are the main challenges that the didactic practice has to face today.
Capacity to apply knowledge and understanding:
At the end of the course, students should be able to frame the pedagogical reflection adequately, by giving reference to the fundamental theories of education deepened during the lessons, and its main practical declinations, with reference to educative and didactic projects realized in schools.
Autonomy of judgment:
At the end of the course, students should have developed:
- the capacity to individuate and critically investigate the educational needs of contemporaneity;
- the capacity to critically evaluate the didactic and educative practices, being able to recognize the theoretical perspectives that orient their design;
- the capacity to critically examine the coherence between the educative experiences and the theoretical conceptions to which they explicitly inspire themselves.


The course will present the fundamental principles of the philosophy of care, in connection with the development of a theory of emotional education. In particular, the course will focus on the following themes:
- Education as a practice of care
- Care, ethics and education
- Care for oneself and emotional dimension
- Cognitive conception of emotions
- Emotional self-understanding
- “The vegetable garden of emotions”: a project of emotional education
- The diary of emotions: an instrument to reflect on one’s own emotional life

- Mortari, L. (2019). Aver cura di sé. Milano: Raffaello Cortina.
- Valbusa, F. e Mortari, L. (2017). L’orto delle emozioni. Teoria e ricerca sull’educazione alla vita affettiva. Milano: Franco Angeli.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Mortari Aver cura di sé Cortina 2019
Valbusa F., Mortari L. L’orto delle emozioni. Teoria e ricerca sull'educazione alla vita affettiva (Edizione 1) Angeli: Milano 2017 9788891760760

Assessment methods and criteria

As regard the evaluation tools, different instruments will be used, including open questions, written report, and oral presentation. The evaluation will concern the capacity of critically managing and rethinking the learning contents, and the comprehension of the fundamental concepts explained in the texts of the course.