03 SES 12 A, Evaluation of Curriculum Integration
Today's society is characterized by constant change and innovation (Hargreaves, 2003), requiring citizens to find unique and original answers to new situations, for which they are challenged to use personal resources, such as knowledge, information, skills and values (Tiana, Moya & Luengo, 2011). In addition, within the European space, new expectations regarding education, such as preparing citizens to reflect on the consequences of change for environment and sustainability, or on the consequences of social inequalities for democracy, peace, and social cohesion (e.g., Halász & Michel, 2011) as well as challenges related to citizens’ mobility within the European space (e.g., Telling & Seraponni, 2019), also created a rich context for the discussion around the need for competence-based curricula. However, developing a competence-based curriculum requires involving different educational agents in a process of change (Ananiadou & Claro, 2009; Halász & Michel, 2011), a process that is difficult to implement (Gordon et al., 2009; Halász & Michel, 2011). One difficulty is related to the plurality of meanings that the concept assumes (Gordon et al., 2012a; Mulder, Weigel & Collins, 2007; Telling & Seraponni, 2019). In addition, misunderstanding of the term competences translates into teaching practices misaligned from the political orientations or in apparent changes of practices (e.g., Galvão, Freire, Faria, Baptista & Reis, 2017). Thus, it is important to know how teachers construct the concept of competences and what is its relationship with their perspective on education, the school and the role of teacher. In the current study, we used Moscovici's Theory of Social Representations (1981) for exploring teachers understanding of competences, assuming that social representations are a system of socially shared meanings, which affects decision-making and action (Abric, 1994). Studies in the educational context reveal that social representations about what it means to be a teacher and about pedagogical innovation affect teachers’ practices, often in non-anticipated directions (e.g., Martikainen, 2019). However, despite its importance, few studies explored teachers' social representations regarding competences and competence-based curriculum. Importantly, involving teachers in reflecting on their ideas about schooling, teaching and curriculum may constitute a relevant basis for promoting teachers’ professional development (Bergman, 2017). Data presented in this communication were collected as part of a broad in-progress study, aimed at understanding how the concept of competences is represented by the Portuguese teachers. In particular, the goal of the present communication is to identify which key words are associated with the concept of competences.
For exploring teachers’ understandings of the concept competences, we used a mix-methodology, collecting data by means of a questionnaire and focus-group interviews. In a first phase, participants filled in an individual online questionnaire that gathered their views regarding the concept competences, as well as schooling, curriculum and teaching. The information collected by the questionnaire was then used for initially feeding the focus group interviews, encouraging group interactions and enacting the discussion and the dynamics of meaning constructing and reconstruction (Morgan, 1998). For selecting participants, a purposeful sampling approach was used (Etikan, Musa & Alkassim, 2015). Firstly, participants were selected with the goal to ensuring maximum variation and thus to document unique or diverse variations concerning participants’ views. Criteria was: teaching subject and school level, years of teaching experience, period of initial teaching training (before and after the implementation of competence-based curriculum), types of school and pedagogical approaches. For organizing the focus-group, a homogeneous criterion was used (Morgan, 1998), with groups formed by teachers from similar training cohorts, as well as similar types of school and pedagogical approaches. 20 teachers answered the questionnaire, of which 90% are female. On average, they were 40 years old (SD = 10,9) and they had 14,6 year of teaching experience (SD = 10,6). The questionnaire, purposefully built for the study, is formed by two parts: teacher understanding of the concept competences, and teachers’ perspectives of school, curriculum and teaching. Regarding the first part, teachers were asked to make a word association for the concept competences (five words), and then asked to rate the words by order of importance for understanding the concept competence (Wolter, 2018). An intensive reading was made, paying special attention to teachers’ lexical choice. Then teachers’ answers were analyzed, in terms of the meaning and values associated with the concept competences.
Preliminary analysis showed that teachers mentioned 110 words; those most mentioned were creativity (10%) and collaboration (10%), followed by critical thinking (7%), communication (6%), autonomy and responsibility (5%). 43% were different words (such as tolerance, empathy, versatility). Most mentioned words were categorized as ways of thinking (e.g., creativity and critical thinking) and of working (e.g., collaboration and communication). Importantly, teachers also identified competences for adjusting to today’s world (such as social responsibility) although to a less extent. Results capture teachers’ understanding of the concept competences. Despite teachers have an understanding that seems aligned with several international orientations (e.g., Anastou & Claro, 2009) and 21st century competences (Voogt & Roblet, 2012), questions remain how they translate their understanding of competences to teaching practices (e.g., planning and assessment) and how they enact a curriculum that is still built around disciplinary subjects; although mention should be made to Portuguese efforts to develop transdisciplinary themes and to create organizational conditions for making curriculum enactment more flexible. Consistently, it will be essential to explore how teachers value each dimension of competence and how they position themselves regarding competence based-curricula.
Abric, J.C. (1994). Pratiques sociales et représentations. Paris: PUF. Annaniadou, K., & Claro, M. (2009). 21st century skills and competences for new millennium learners in OECD countries. OECD Education Working Papers, 41,1- 19. Bergman, D. (2017). Content analysis of science teacher representations in Google Images. Contemporary Issues in Technology & Teacher Education, 17(1), 80-96. Etikan, I., Musa, S. & Alkassim, R. (2015). Comparison of Convenience Sampling and Purposive Sampling. American Journal of Theoretical and Applied Statistics, 5(1), 1-4. European Council (2009). Strategic Framework for European Cooperation. In Education and Training (ET 2020). Conclusions of 12 May 2009. Galvão, C., Freire, A., Faria, C., Baptista, M. & Reis, P. (2017). Avaliação do Currículo das Ciências Físicas e Naturais. Lisboa: IEUL. Gordon, J. et al., (2009): Key competences in Europe: Opening doors for lifelong learners across the school curriculum and teacher education, CASE Network Reports, No. 87, ISBN 978-83-7178-497-2. Gordon, J., Rey, O., Siewiorek, A., Vivitsou, M. & Saari, R. (2012). KeyCoNet 2012 Literature Review: Key competence development in school education in Europe. HAL. ensl-01576387 Halász, G. & Michel, A. (2011). Key Competences in Europe: interpretation, policy formulation and implementation. European Journal of Education, 46(3), 298-306. Hargreaves, A. (2003). O ensino e a sociedade de conhecimento. Porto: Porto Editora Martikainen, J. (2019). Social representations of teachership based on students’ and teachers’ drawings of a typical teacher. Social Psychology of Education, 22, 579–606. Morgan, D.L. (1998). The focus group guidebook. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications. Moscovici, S. (1981). On social representations. In J. P. Forgas (Ed.), Social Cognition, Perspectives on Everyday Understanding (pp. 181-209). London: Academic Press. Mulder, M., Weigel, T. & Collins, K. (2007). The concept of competence in the development of vocational education and training in selected EU member states: a critical analysis. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 59(1), 67-88. Telling, K. & Seraponni, M. (2019). The rise and change of the competence strategy: Reflections on twenty-five years of skills policies in EU. European Educational Research Journal, 18(4), 387-406. Tiana, A., Moya, J. & Luengo, F. (2011). Implementing Key Competences in Basic Education: reflections on curriculum design and development in Spain. European Journal of Education, 46(3), 307-322. Voogt, J., & Roblin, N. P. (2012). Comparative analysis of international frameworks for 21st century competences: Implications for national curriculum policies. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 44(3), 299-321 Wolter, R. (2018). Structural Approach to Social Representations: Bridges between Theory and Methods. Psico-USF, 23(4), 621-631.
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