To the (late) relief of text editors, the Council of Ministers approved the Primary curriculum on Tuesday. The text enshrines the competence approach in the stage and the gender perspective as a central element when addressing the subjects, a measure that raised quite a stir last summer, when it became known that the drafts included this approach also for subjects (in theory ) more aseptic, such as Mathematics. When the noise died down, experts praised this decision to make these subjects more inclusive.
The new Secondary curricula, a “revolution” that allows teachers to choose the content of the subjects
The text, which will govern what is taught and how, gives more weight to Artistic Education, Knowledge of the Natural, Social and Cultural Environment and Mathematics. The curriculum sets between 50% and 60% of the contents, which will have to be completed by the autonomous communities depending on whether or not they have their own language. This proportion of the state curriculum is slightly lower than that of other laws, with the idea of leaving a small margin of maneuver for the centers to adapt the teachings to their specific reality. Catalonia, for example, has already advanced in this direction and will give up to 20% of the timetable to schools to manage it.
The approval of the resumes is also good news for text editors, who protested a month ago because they will hardly have time to adapt the materials to the new law. Some new curricula, and especially ones like the ones brought by Lomloe, which represent a break with the previous, implies redoing all the textbooks, a process that, according to sources from the National Association of Book and Teaching Material Publishers, usually takes a year. . “Although it is not the first time that curricula have been approved like this” in the afternoon, adds the spokesman. The Ministry of Education usually remembers when asked that the Lomce curricula were approved in April, two months later than the current ones.
The publishers, who already had this delay, had already begun to work with the drafts that the ministry has been passing them, explains the spokesman. And he also gives a little slap on the wrist to some communities – he prefers not to point the finger – and urges them to continue developing the part that touches them, even if it is provisionally.
The issue does not only affect publishers: institutes have to choose a book first and teachers will also have to at some point adapt the curricula to their schedules for next year. May would be the optimal month to start this process, but this year it will not happen. The Primary curriculum comes into force in the odd courses this first year (from September) and in the rest the following year.
More teaching and center autonomy
The version of the text that the Council of Ministers has approved is a slightly different version to the one that was leaked last summer and that caused so much controversy. The minister, Pilar Alegría, explained in an interview with this newspaper that they had introduced slight modifications that affected the form more than the substance to appease the most conservative sector of concerted education, very troubled those days due to what they felt was an attack on your model.
The main novelty included in the curriculum at the formal level is the transition from a content teaching system (what is colloquially called “knowing”) to another competency-based (“knowing how to do”) and the associated changes in assessment, movement that will give teachers more freedom to plan and develop their classes.
The teachings will now be articulated based on specific situations, with a more applied character, if you will, and the curricula will no longer be a list (usually very detailed) of issues that students must know to refer to things that they must know how to do. This decision has generated adherence, but also rejection because it opens the door for different things to be studied in each community due to the freedom of centers and teachers to model the curriculum or for not establishing as compulsory some learning that we all know today (the rule of three , for example).
In this regard, a teacher explained: “From the point of view of Mathematics, the fact that there are no certain topics in Primary is more political noise than anything else,” says Pablo Beltrán-Pellicer, professor of Didactics of Mathematics at the University of Zaragoza, who on the specific absence of the rule of three argues: “It is a very procedural learning. Now it appears in Primary and it is an aberration from the point of view of didactics. In Secondary it does not appear. We associate that the rule of three is useful because we use it to calculate in the context of sales or cooking recipes and we justify it that way. But there is extensive mathematical research literature that explains that this rule leads to problems because it generates other obstacles”, he maintains while defending that “proportionality is still the curriculum” and what it touches is “approach it from arithmetic, giving meaning to numbers”.
Among the biggest challenges that the new curricula will present is that teachers will need training, according to experts on the subject. “It is an important methodological change,” says Toni González, president of the federation of associations of directors of public secondary schools. “It will take training, sharing experiences between centers and being able to go to bibliographic material where teachers can support each other to change that methodology and can work on skills in the classroom,” he predicts.