03 SES 11 B, Curriculum Reform and Practices
Educational discourses focus the need of improving creativity and innovation skills in students, as a means of facing the knowledge society needs and demands (Commission of the European Communities, 2007; European Union Council, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011). Being education a process for promoting individuals full growth and development, their creativity and capacity of adapting to different conditions and environments (Dewey, 1966; Freire, 1996; OECD, 2007), a number of concerns and demands are addressed to education. Concerns such as the need of developing approaches able to reach students’ in a more comprehensive and significant way, promoting an understanding of school education as useful and meaningful, and more effective and long lasting learning; and to foster students’ creativity and innovation skills. Traditional schooling, based on transmission is no longer capable of addressing these demands (Pavlovic et al, 2012). Such an educational approach needs to be, itself, creative (Tytler et al, 2011).
Educational research plays a crucial role in this search. Research must produce knowledge that can effectively contribute for educational development and constitute an ally for politicians in decision making processes, teachers, and all educational professionals, enlightening processes, deepening concepts and options and presenting suggestions for improving educational systems. (Commission of the European Communities, 2007b).
Bearing this in mind, a research project was developed with the intention to define an emerging concept – curricular contextualization; to study the pedagogical practices used by teachers related to curricular contextualization, and to understand and verify the existence, or absence, or impacts in educational processes.
Curricular contextualization is a «didactical-pedagogical strategy that aims to promote the students school success and the improvement of their learning. This can be done by adapting curricular contents in order to bring them closer to students and to the environment where teaching and learning occurs and, therefore, as a result, making them more significant and understandable» (Fernandes et al, 2012: 6). So, a contextualized approach resources to strategies that address curricula in new and different ways, using various techniques and tools, providing rich learning moments that, while creative and innovative, show students that the same subject can be addressed in several ways and that different and better results can be achieved when one is able to “think outside the box”. This provides students with different experiences and can be a basis for developing their creativity and innovation skills.
This research aimed to answer the following questions: Do schools with high academic achievement rates resource to curricular contextualization practices? If so, why?; What are the effects of using curricular contextualization?; Does curricular contextualization promotes “thinking outside the box”?
We hereby present the results of this research, aiming to fulfill the educational research goal of proposing different approaches to respond to knowledge society demands on education.
Bogdan, R. & Biklen, S. (1994) Investigação qualitativa em educação: uma introdução à teoria e aos métodos. Porto: Porto Editora; Commission of the European Communities (2007) Schools for the 21st century, pp.1-12; Commission of the European Communities (2007b) Towards more knowledge-based policy and practice in education and training, pp. 1-71; Dewey, J. (1966) Democracy and education. New York: The Free Press. European Union Council (2006) Recommendation of the European parliament and of the council of 18 december 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning, pp. 10-18 European Union Council (2008) Improving competences for the 21st Century: An Agenda for European Cooperation on Schools, pp. 1-47 European Union Council (2009) Council conclusions of 12 May 2009 on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (‘ET 2020’), pp. 2-10 European Union Council (2011) Council conclusions on the role of education and training in the implementation of the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy, pp. 1-3 Fernandes, P. et al (2012) “Curricular Contextualization: Tracking Meanings of a Concept”. The Asia-Pacific Educational Researcher. DOI: 10.1007/s40299-012-0041-1, Freire, P. (1996) Pedagogia da Autonomia: saberes necessários à prática educativa. São Paulo: Editora Paz e Terra Krippendorf, K. (2003). Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology. Beverly Hills: Sage. L’Écuyer, R. (1990). Méthodologie de l’analyse développementale de contenu. Canadá: Presses de l’Úniversite Pavlovic et al (2012) “Development of technical innovation in secondary vocational school students”. Technics technologies education management, vol. 7, nº 2, pp. 667-672 Tytler et al (2011) “A Curriculum Innovation Framework for Science, Technology and Mathematics Education”. Research in Science Education, nº 41, pp. 19-38, DOI: 10.1007/s11165-009-9144-y Yamauchi, L. (2003). Making school relevant for at-risk students: The Wai‘anae High School Hawaiian Studies Program. Journal of Education for Students Placed At-risk, 8 (4), 379-390. doi: 10.1207/S15327671ESPR0804_1
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