03 SES 02 A, Curriculum Comparison Studies
Grammar schools (“Gymnasium”) in Switzerland are characterized by large heterogeneity regarding entry requirements and graduation rates, which has evolved historically and is politically intended. At the same time, grammar schools’ degrees are mutually recognized and serves as university entrance qualification without a numerus clausus. In addition to entry requirements and graduation rates, grammar schools’s curricula differ substantially between cantons and even between individual schools (cf. Bonati, 2017). However, a comparative, cross-linguistic curriculum analysis of these different but equivalent schools is not yet available.
Our ongoing study addresses curricula of grammar schools in Switzerland, taking the subject “economic education” as an example. In times of economic transformations and crises, different political demands as well as culturally specific differences with respect to economic issues may be expected (cf. Boltanski & Chiapello, 2003). Therefore, cultural differences in the dissemination of economic knowledge and skills become particularly evident in a corresponding curriculum analysis. Consequently, our primary epistemological interest in this study is the different conceptions of "economics" in cultural and multilingual comparison. To clarify this interest analytically, we turn our attention to schools and curricula, and ask: how do curricular contents of economic education differ between language, cultural and economic areas in Switzerland?
Since the banking and financial crisis of 2007/08, economic and financial education has undergone an increasing attribution of importance on all school levels in Switzerland and in Europe (cf. Ackermann, Ruoss & Flury, 2018). This can be seen, for example, in a post-millennial boom of "entrepreneurship education" (e.g. Galvão et al., 2018) and "financial literacy education" (cf. Aprea et al., 2016). Marion Fourcade's (2009) seminal study examined cultural differences in the emergence of different economic discipline formations and the corresponding cultures of thought. She states that "the shape of the educational system is extraordinarily important to understanding how people make jurisdictional claims to theorize about and act on the economy" (ibid., p. 250). The contribution of our study is a specific look at the school as an amplifier of these cultural differences of economic thinking as a consequence of cultural differences of economic concepts in curricula.
The data basis for this study is provided by accessing and indexing 35 curricula, representing around 168 state-approved grammar schools in Switzerland. These curricula stem from all 26 cantons and all three language regions within the country. The curricular learning contents of the subject economic education were examined by a systematic content analysis (cf. Mayring, 2015). The coding systems was deductively derived from the specific knowledge structure of “economics” and “business administration” as academic teaching and research fields (cf. Schumann et al., 2010). Each document was coded to consensus by two coders. The resulting approximately 2’700 codings by consensus were analyzed according to theoretically defined context variables. In particular, the focus of the analysis is on cleavages from political science (cf. Rokkan & Lippset, 1967). On the cantonal level, we added variables such as language, denomination, demographic and economic structure. On the school level, variables such as ownership (public, private) and school tradition (humanistic, commercial) were included to the data set. By cross-tabling the frequency counts, a comprehensive picture may be drawn of economic education taught in different cultural, economic and demographic contexts.
Since curricula where at the center of the political debate about modern schooling ever since (cf. Kliebard, 1986), it is all the more surprising that curriculum studies have so far dealt primarily with issues of political education, cultural, linguistic and identity issues, but only marginally with economic education (cf. Ackermann, in print). But as economic education touches upon normatively contentious contents, its analysis may be of major importance for the theorization of curriculum politics. In our study, we want to take three perspectives on economic education and cultural variations within the respective curricula of Swiss grammar schools. First, we reconstruct the cantonal and/or school-specific differing structures of economic education with a view to regulatory density and teaching freedom (cf. Bonati, 2017). Second, we analyze the expected regional and institutional differences in the learning contents of economic education as school subject. Third, we ask about possible cultures of economic thinking in the context of economic teaching and learning. Switzerland, with its federal, multilingual system of grammar school education, offers interesting analytical conditions that possibly allow for comparison and theorization of the different cultures of economic education on an international scope as well. Beyond this case, we want to generate insights into the cultural "variants of the capitalist spirit" (cf. Münnich & Sachweh, 2017) as well as into the role of schools in the formation of our conception of economics.
Ackermann, N. (in print). Ökonomische Bildung auf der Sekundarstufe II in der Deutschschweiz. Eine vergleichende Lehrplananalyse hinsichtlich Fachstruktur, Bildungsziele und Lerninhalte. Zeitschrift für Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik. Ackermann, N., Ruoss, T., & Flury, C. (2018): Warum fördern sie ökonomische Bildung? Aktivitäten, Argumente und Handlungslegitimationen von Akteuren am Beispiel der Schweiz. bwp@ Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik – online, 35, 1-19. http://www.bwpat.de/ausgabe35/ackermann_etal_bwpat35.pdf Aprea, C., Wuttke, E., Breuer, K., Keng Koh, N., Davies, P., Greimel-Fuhrmann, B., & Lopus, J. S. (2016). Financial Literacy in the Twenty-First Century: An Introduction to the International Handbook of Financial Literacy. In International Handbook of Financial Literacy. Springer Singapore. Bonati, P. (2017). Das Gymnasium im Spiegel seiner Lehrpläne. Untersuchungen, Praxisimpulse, Perspektiven. hep verlag. Boltanski, L., & Chiapello, È. (2003). Der neue Geist des Kapitalismus: Bd. Band 30. UVK Verlagsgesellschaft. Fourcade, M. (2009). Economists and societies: Discipline and profession in the United States, Britain, and France, 1890s to 1990s. Princeton University Press. Galvão, A., Ferreira, J. J., & Marques, C. (2018). Entrepreneurship education and training as facilitators of regional development: A systematic literature review. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 25(1), 17–40. Kliebard, H. M. (1986). The struggle for the American curriculum, 1893-1958 (1. publ). Routledge & Kegan Paul. Mayring, P. (2015). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse (12. Auflage). Weinheim: Beltz. Münnich, S., & Sachweh, P. (2017). Einleitung: Varianten des kapitalistischen Geistes im Wandel? In P. Sachweh & S. Münnich (Hrsg.), Kapitalismus als Lebensform? Deutungsmuster, Legitimation und Kritik in der Marktgesellschaft (S. 3–26). Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden. Rokkan, S. & Lipset, S. M. (1967). Party systems and voter alignments cross-national perspectives. The Free Press. Schumann, S., Eberle, F., Oepke, M., Pflüger, M., Gruber, C., & Pezzotta, D. (2010). Inhaltsauswahl für den Test zur Erfassung ökonomischen Wissens und Könnens im Projekt «Ökonomische Kompetenzen von Maturandinnen und Maturanden (OEKOMA)». Universität Zürich, Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft (ehem. Institut für Gymnasial- und Berufspädagogik).
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