Francesco Tonucci and his View of the School System

Do you know who Francesco Tonucci, educational psychologist, is? His views of the school system will give you something to think about!
Francesco Tonucci and his View of the School System

Last update: 16 June, 2021

Francesco Tonucci, also known as Frato, is an Italian thinker, educational psychologist, and illustrator. Furthermore, most of his work is about childhood and the school system.

One of his most famous works is,La Maquina de la Escuela (The School Machine), which represents a graphic and clever criticism of the school system.

Even though he drew it in 1970, unfortunately, it still portraits the kind of education children receive at school.

The School Machine: a representation of what the school system shouldn’t be

Through The School Machine, Francesco Tonucci describes a school system in which students are mere passive agents, who receive information, and who don’t participate in the creation of their own learning.

Furthermore, it shows an authoritarian and indoctrinating model, which only aims to make students achieve certain results or obtain certain grades. In order to do this, the school system doesn’t take into account the different characteristics and needs that students have. Of course, all this is against Francesco Tonucci’s beliefs about the school system.

Francesco Tonucci and his view of the school system

The school system.

An inclusive educational system

Francesco Tonucci stands for an inclusive educational system, where all students have the chance to receive a quality education. In order to do this, it’s important to respect diversity, because every child has their own learning pace and intellectual potential. In fact, this is quite positive and enriching for the development of the next generations.

“The school system must identify childrens’ abilities because they develop them once they’re born. Furthermore, the educational system should promote these abilities, together with curiosity and inquisitiveness. As a result, this will help children grow without losing their essence, which is their most unique characteristic, the one that makes them play without getting tired”.

-Francesco Tonucci-

A participatory school system, according to Francesco Tonucci

In addition, this author thinks that it’s very important to carry out educational methodologies based on participation, collaboration, and cooperation. 

That is to say, teachers should avoid authoritarianism and let students participate actively, by listening to them. This way, they’ll develop their own personal autonomy, and they’ll become responsible and confident people.

“If children participate actively in the school management and decisions, like setting recess rules, they won’t feel like slaves. On the contrary, they’ll feel like free and independent citizens. This is one of the goals a democratic school should try to achieve”.

-Francesco Tonucci-

A playful education

In this sense, Francesco Tonucci also stands up for a playful education system. He states that it should focus on playing games and having fun because this way children:

Francesco Tonucci and education.
  • Learn better.
  • Acquire and understand notions more easily.
  • Feel more motivated and less frustrated.

“To a kid, playing means the chance to take a piece of the world and manipulate it, alone or with friends, knowing that if they can’t get somewhere, they have the chance to invent it”.

-Francesco Tonucci-

Francesco Tonucci and the school system

As you were able to see, we’ve mentioned some of the most important thoughts about the school system from the educational psychologist, Francesco Tonucci. If you find these ideas interesting, we invite you to keep reading about him. Look for more information and you’ll be surprised about his honesty and clarity when describing his views of the school system and children’s development.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Tonucci, F. y  García-Gómez, T. (2008). La maquinaria escolar. Madrid: Centro de Documentación Crítica.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.