03 SES 07 A, Curricular Capacity Building
In the early 2000s, the field of education in Portugal experienced significant curriculum changes resulting from the work developed by the Ministry of Education together with several sectors of the educational community. These changes were based on the Process of Participated Reflection on the Curriculum which led to new ways in its conception, giving rise to the National Curriculum for Basic Education (NCBE).
This Curriculum Reorganisation established a NCBE organised around general competences and specific competences for each disciplinary area, presenting suggestions for their development, based on educational experiences to be accomplished by the students. A curriculum had been designed at national level that could be reconceptualised at the local scale.
Now that political discourse has changed again and a national curriculum has been established at national level, understood as a set of contents and aims, implemented on the basis of study plans, programmes, the knowledge, abilities and learning goals that should be achieved in each year of schooling, we think it is essential to understand how the national curriculum and the geography curriculum in particular, which was intended to be reconceptualised at the local level, was reinterpreted in the practices of teachers.
In this study, we have applied the “policy cycle” approach developed by Stephen Ball. In analysing policy in general and educational policy in particular, Stephen Ball defends a “policy cycle” approach as a contribution to understanding the way in which they are produced, what is their purpose, and what are their effects.
Rejecting the notion that policies are implemented, Ball proposes a continuous cycle consisting of three major contexts: the context of influence, the context of text production, and the context of practice. He later expanded this cycle to the contexts of results/effects and the context of political strategy (Ball, 1994). Each of these contexts presents arenas, positions and interest groups and each involves disputes and confrontations (Ball et al., 1992), quite apart from there being complex relations amongst them which are not always apparent.
This approach has been used in different circumstances to research and theorise policies, i.e., as Mainardes (2009) mentions, it is a way of thinking about policy and about how policies are designed.
Taking this approach as a theoretical-methodological reference, we intend to understand how the National Curriculum and that of Geography for Basic Education was designed and implemented, and how it has been (re)interpreted in the practices of teachers, during the 2000s in Portugal. Ball’s “policy cycle” approach offers an analytical framework to focus on the path taken by curriculum policy, since its initial formulation to the practices developed in the school and classroom setting.
The goal is to deepen our insights into how the national and geography curricula were designed, took shape and how they have translated into practice(s), based on this theoretical-methodological framework according to the first three contexts of the “policy cycle”. To this end, we have applied a number of research procedures which enabled us to give voice to several stakeholders who played an active role in the development of Portuguese curriculum policy. We gave voice to politicians, academics, curriculum authors and teachers.
BALL, Stephen (1990). Politics and Policy making in education. Explorations in Policy Sociology: Education Reform Act. . New York e London: Routledge. BALL, Stephen, BOWE, Richard, with GOLD, A. (orgs) (1992). Reforming education & changing scholl: cases studies in policy sociology. London/New York: Routledge. BALL, Stephen (1994) Education Reform. A critical and post-strutural approach. Buckingham. Philadelphia: Open University Press BALL, Stephen (1998). “Cidadania Global, consumo e política educacional”, in SILVA, Luís (org.). A escola cidadã no contexto da globalização. Petrópolis: Vozes, pp.121-137. BALL, Stephen, BOWE, Richard (1998). “El currículum nacional y su ‘puesta en práctica’: el papel de los departamentos de materias o asignaturas” in Política educativa y reforma del currículum Revista de estudos do currículo, vol.1, nº 2, pp.105-131. (Documento digitalizado). BALL, Stephen (2001). “Directrizes Políticas Globais e Relações Políticas em Educação” in Currículo sem fronteiras, v.1, n.2, pp. 99-116, Julho/Dez. Disponibilisado em http://www.curriculosemfronteiras.org/ Acesso em: 12 de Dezembro de 2008. BALL, Stephen (2002). “Reformar escolas/reformar professores e os terrores da performatividade” in Revista Portuguesa de educação, 15, n.2, pp. 03-23, Universidade do Minho. BALL, Stephen (2004). “Performatividade, Privatização e o Pós-estado do Bem-Estar” in Educação Sociedade, Vol.25, n.89, pp. 1105-1126, Set./Dez. Texto disponível em http://www.cedes.unicamp.br Acesso em: 12 de Dezembro de 2008. BALL, Stephen, (2006). “Sociologia das políticas educacionais e pesquisa crítico-social: uma revisão pessoal das políticas educacionais e da pesquisa em política educacional” in Currículo sem fronteiras, v.6, n.2, pp. 10-32, Julho/Dez. Disponibilizado em http://www.curriculosemfronteiras.org/ Acesso em 12 de Dezembro de 2008. BALL, Stephen (2008). The education debate. Bristol:The Policy Press. ESTEVES, Manuela (2006). “Análise de conteúdo” in LIMA, Jorge Ávila., PACHECO, José Augusto (org.) (2006) Fazer investigação. Contributos para a elaboração de dissertações e teses. Porto: Porto Editora, Colecção Panorama, pp.105- 126. MAINARDES, Jefferson (2006) “Abordagem do ciclo de políticas: uma contribuição para a análise de políticas educacionais” in Educação Sociedade, vol. 27, nº94, pp. 47-69, Janeiro/Abril. Texto disponível em http://www.cedes.unicamp.br Acesso em: 12 de Dezembro de 2008. MAINARDES, Jefferson, MARCONDES, Maria Inês (2009). “Entrevista com Stephen J. Ball: um diálogo sobre justiça social, pesquisa e política educacional” in Educação Sociedade, Campinas, vol.30,nº 106, pp.303-318, Jan/Abril 2009.Texto disponível em http://www.cedes.unicamp.br Acesso em 22 de Fevereiro de 2011. VALA, Jorge (1986). “Análise de Conteúdo” in SILVA, Augusto Santos, PINTO, José Madureira Metodologia das Ciências Sociais Porto: Edições Afrontamento, Biblioteca das Ciências do Homem, pp.101-128.
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