Knjižnica Filozofskog fakulteta
Sveučilišta u Zagrebu
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Institutional Repository

Curriculum planning of the European values in compulsory education


Downloads per month over past year

Pavičić Vukičević, Jelena. (2018). Curriculum planning of the European values in compulsory education. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Pedagogy.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij pedagogije) [mentor Previšić, Vlatko].

PDF (Croatian)
Download (3MB) | Preview


Introduction In the 21st century Europe is facing challenges once again. The migrant crisis and the threat of terrorism greatly contribute to the general feeling of (in)security and affect the potential prosperity in the old continent. Therefore, instead of a stabilisation of an intercultural society built on the foundations of equality, peace and solidarity, we find ourselves facing growing radical movements arising out of the feeling of insecurity, reduced employability of the local population and availability of various public services and subsidies. The European Union is a supranational entity whose objective is building lasting peace, social stability and economic growth within its borders through the mobility of people, goods and services. This complex goal cannot be achieved without the inner cohesion of the EU nations or without creating a common European identity founded on European values – the civil, democratic and humanist values of a modern society. As schools play an important role in value socialization among the youth, the curriculum should include all those values that we consider to be a part of the European civilisation and that we wish to pass on to the next generation, without neglecting the importance of national cultural values. This paper deals with the complexity of developing the (European) value system among students by means of the curriculum. Compulsory Education Children in Croatia enter the education system relatively late. Moreover, the period of compulsory education is the shortest one in the education system. Since local government is in charge of establishing preschools, not all children in Croatia get the opportunity to attend preschool programmes which are often financially inaccessible, so their quality and price vary in different areas. Preschool is mandatory one year before enrolment in primary school; however, there is no data that would corroborate that such preschool programs really are made available to all children in Croatia. In addition, not all local governments have established preschool facilities in their territory. Primary school is mandatory and it lasts eight years, which is the shortest period of mandatory education in the European Union. Due to insufficient space in primary schools, as well as the lack of strategic documents, adequate funding and reforms which would define educational goals, we are no closer to finding solutions regarding the improvement of mandatory education in Croatia. One thing is for sure, though: the shorter the mandatory education for general student population, the less knowledge, skills and competences are available to them. As a result, there is less opportunity for students to develop to the extent that would help them achieve the highest quality of life within the family and the community. In addition, secondary education has not been adjusted to the demands of the labour market, and neither has university education, for one simple reason – Croatia has no strategic development strategy. Hence, a high percentage of young Croatians today, regardless of their level of qualification, is educated only to become unemployed or to seek employment abroad, which in the long run leads to a demographic disaster. This does not mean that the role of education is to create labour force for the economic sector – people are much more than just workers, and schools as social institutions are obligated to support individuals in their efforts to develop all of their capacities. However, a lack of jobs will continue to force Croatian citizens to leave the country and start their families elsewhere. This raises the question of who the Croatian schools will teach in the future. The importance of extending the period of compulsory education lies in the fact that horizontal differentiation of programs at a later stage ensures a more accurate diagnosis of students' cognitive capacity, and a more accurate forecast of their academic achievement. At the same time, longer compulsory education provides opportunity for the school to reduce the effect of family background (in the cases of socially deprived families) on the academic achievement and to increase students' individual and social capacities. Curriculum The theoretical part of this paper defines curriculum as the process of acquiring knowledge, skills and competences, which students get in educational institutions. Furthermore, it provides a description of different types of curricula, their main elements, models and ideologies and the theories throughout history. It also deals with hidden curriculum, intercultural curriculum as well as with the global dimensions of curriculum. Its main elements include the value framework and purpose of curriculum, objectives and tasks, content, work organization and learning conditions, competences, assessment and evaluation. The paper also provides the history and development of curriculum, its models, modern versions and research. In addition, it links the curriculum theory to practical work and experience of learning in educational institutions. Values as the Ideological Framework of Curriculum What to teach is a question of value. Values are universal ideas and the principles of guiding the behaviour of individuals and communities. Therefore, European values are “those values which will contribute to co-existence of people with different values i.e. different hierarchies of values in the European environment“ (Vican, 2016, p.12). European values are incorporated in the concept of the European dimension in education, which is designed to support economic and political processes in the European Union, and are complementary to universal human values presented in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (2010). European values include freedom, equality, human dignity, the rule of law, respect for human rights, pluralism and tolerance (Grubiša, 2012). It is evident that European values are compatible with both the holistic approach to man and humanist pedagogy. Since European values are a social and political construct whose importance is universally recognized in EU member states through their institutions, we shall list them here: human rights, respect for human life, freedom, democracy, individual freedom, the rule of law, equality, solidarity, tolerance, self-fulfilment, respect for other cultures, religion. The comparison of the content of these European values with universal human values as defined by Shalom H. Schwartz has shown that the European values are universal human values that base the welfare of the European individual and the European community on humanist value aspect of self-transcendence, with other value dimensions present as well, to a lesser degree: self-enhancement (self-fulfilment), openness to change (freedom and individual freedom) and conservation of traditional values (religion). It can be concluded that European values are a part of universal human values of a plural European civil and democratic society. The diversity of the European society also constitutes a value on which the total European development is based. Teacher as Stakeholder in Curriculum European values in the education system, the place of secondary socialization, are present in the school culture and the value system of the teaching and non-teaching staff. Parents and family, teachers and school, peers and media affect the intensive socialization of attitudes, values and behaviour. The value system of teachers is undoubtedly an important predictor of acquisition and formation of the value system of children and adolescents during their formative years, alongside parents and family, peers, media and social networks as well as other adults that have an important role in their lives. Adolescence, as the period when a person's identity is defined, is essential in the development of values. Furthermore, the values of young people can also reflect the direction of the change of a culture or a society. Teacher competences for value education will depend on the quality of initial education and professional development of teachers, as well as on their participation in action research as part of lifelong learning and professional development in the field of the European dimension in education. How and to what extent European values and the European dimension in education will be included on the agenda of the modern Croatian school will depend on the personal and professional competences of teachers and the personal affirmative attitude toward European values. Research As part of this paper, we conducted an empirical research titled Teacher Attitudes in Curricular Forming of European Value System. The aim of the research was to describe and evaluate the presence of value systems, examine attitudes of grade teachers and subject teachers in primary schools in the city of Zagreb towards the European civil and democratic values and their implementation in the educational system as the predictor of successful implementation of compulsory education curriculum in Croatia with regards to value socialization. Taking into account the aim of the research, we posed eight research problems with associated research hypotheses. The research was conducted on a population of teachers in primary schools in the city of Zagreb, including both grade teachers and teachers of Croatian, English, history and geography. These categories of teachers were selected for the research since they should be familiar with the importance of European values as the democratic and civil values the modern Croatian and European societies are built upon. Moreover, they themselves should possess these values, as they are an important predictor of student socialisation with regard to European values. Since the population under consideration for the 2014/2015 school year in Zagreb included 2,910 teachers, we determined the required respondent sample using the table titled Determining the size of a random sample by Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2007, p. 94), which proposed that the number of respondents from the population of 3,000 should be 341. This number of potential respondents was scaled relative to the population under consideration, which resulted in the following subsamples for categories under consideration: grade teachers (1,800) – 211 respondents, teachers of Croatian (450) – 53 respondents, history teachers (180) – 21 respondent, geography teachers (180) – 21 respondent, teachers of English (300) – 35 respondents. Since the number of respondents in the subsample of history and geography teachers is under 30, which undermines the validity of the research, the number of respondents was increased to 30, which is the minimal sample size that can be statistically analysed (Cohen, 2007, p. 93). Thus, the total number of respondents was increased to 359. By analysing the descriptive characteristics of the respondent sample, we noticed that the sample mostly consisted of female teachers (99%), under the age of 55 (92%) with 30 years of working experience or less (90%) with the grade teacher status (they are not mentors, advisers or heads of county teacher councils). Around the same number of teachers is distributed in three age groups (under 35, 36-45 and 46-55 years) and in three groups depending on the years of service (under 10 years, 11-20 years and 21-30 years). A questionnaire consisting of two major parts was used as the research instrument. The first part consisted of Shalom Schwartz’s Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ), while the second part comprised questions taken from the survey of the European Commission Values of Europeans (2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014) and questions that we created in order to examine the attitudes of teachers on how to implement European values in the compulsory education curriculum. The questionnaire was prepared in the masculine form and distributed online. The PVQ questionnaire (Schwartz et al., 2001) consists of forty short descriptions of different individuals called “portraits”. These portraits define the goals, aspirations and wishes of individuals that point implicitly to the importance of a value to the respondent. At the beginning of the questionnaire, the respondent is asked: “How much is this person like you?” the respondent can choose a response from a 6-point scale. The responses are: very much like me (1), like me (2), somewhat like me (3), a little like me (4), not like me (5) and not like me at all (6). The principle behind this instrument is that when we compare ourselves to others, we focus solely on the described traits of the other individual. Otherwise, our attention would disperse on a variety of own traits that we recognize in ourselves. We added to the questionnaire three other portraits with the same response scale on the subject of teachers’ attitudes regarding the dimensions of a student’s value system (It is important that the value system of his students is equal to (1) his / (2) Croatian / (3) European value system). Questions from the questionnaire The Values of Europeans (Public opinion in the European Union, 2007, The Values of Europeans, 2008, 2010, 2012, Europeans in 2014, 2014) is a part of the survey which examines the values of Europeans conducted by the European Commission every two years as part of a larger research. The focus is mainly on the population of the EU member-states aged 15 and older. However, the study also frequently examines value systems in candidate countries for the EU membership. We selected only subject-related questions to include in this research. Given the subject of this thesis, we concluded that we required additional information about the initial education and professional development of the teachers, as well as information about their attitudes toward the actual implementation of European values in compulsory education. We, therefore, prepared additional four closed-ended questions. The research was conducted in April and May 2015, during spring break and at the beginning of classes in the third quarter of the school year. Using a free web application, we prepared an online questionnaire and sent it by email to heads of county councils of grade teachers, and teachers of Croatian, English, history and geography. We asked that they distribute the link to the questionnaire to all their members. Collected data was analysed using software for statistical analysis (SPSS). Prior to the discussion on the research problems and hypotheses, individual scales and parts of the questionnaire were statistically analysed. The research resulted in the hierarchy of ten universal human values of the respondents (primary school teachers in the city of Zagreb): universalism, self-direction, benevolence, safety, conformity, hedonism, stimulation, achievement, tradition and power. We then established the hierarchy of personal European values of the respondents (respect for human life, freedom, human rights, self-fulfilment, tolerance, individual freedom, religion, equality, solidarity, the rule of law, respect for other cultures, democracy) and the hierarchy of values for which the respondents believe that best represent the entire Europe (democracy, human rights, the rule of law, freedom, equality, solidarity, respect for other cultures, respect for human life, tolerance, self-fulfilment, individual freedom, religion). The specified sets of values (universal human values, personal European values and European values that represent Europe) were ranked according to different independent variables (socio-demographic characteristics of respondents). Younger respondents with less years of service and lower professional status more often selected values of stimulation, achievement and hedonism, while older respondents with more years of service and higher professional status more often selected universalism, self-direction and security. The respondents also ranked European values differently. It was therefore concluded that the variables that affect the value systems of the respondents, as important predictors influencing the European value system, are their profession (the subject they teach) and their professional status, while their age and years of service are not. However, there is no major difference since European values are a part of universal values that mostly fall under the value of benevolence, from the category of self-transcendence. We can draw an indirect conclusion that teaching as a profession has an internal coherence i.e. common elements that link all members of the teaching community, which in turn can help in fully accomplishing the much needed professional independence of teachers. The research also ranked European values with regard to the attitudes of the respondents that the principle of training individuals for co-existence in Europe is more represented in class than in curriculum documents (syllabus / National Curriculum Framework / school curriculum). The highest ranked values of these respondents are freedom, democracy and solidarity (support for others), which the respondents will transfer in class, as part of their implicit theory. We also researched how the respondents ranked European values with regard to their attitude that the programme of a subject is better suited for implementation of European values than the curriculum of interdisciplinary themes and the programme of extra-curricular activities. However, we found no statistically relevant difference between the observed attitudes of individual groups of respondents. We found that the respondents who had come across the notion of European values during their initial education believe that the special subject programme is the most suitable means for the implementation of these values. We also found that the respondents who had come across the notion of European values during their initial education and professional development believe that the principle of training for co-existence in Europe is most included in the school curriculum. Finally, we found that the majority of respondents (77.2%) think that students’ value system should be the same as the European value system. The research also demonstrated that teachers came across the notion of European values more often during their professional development than during their initial education. This is not very reassuring since not all teachers can participate in training seminars. Teachers also believe that there is less opportunity to teach European values in the course of their subject and that it is more appropriate for students to acquire these competences within interdisciplinary themes and extra-curricular activities defined in the school curriculum and the National Curriculum (Framework). This means that teachers will not deal with the topic of values in their direct work in the classroom, since they consider it not as important as the scientific knowledge of the academic subject that they teach. Therefore, this research is also an incentive to improve the syllabus of teaching studies in order for future teachers to acquire knowledge and competences in the European dimension in education and European values at the level of initial education, available to all teaching professions. The results of the described empirical research can be a driving force for a new research project that would explore the value systems of students and parents and give a complete picture about the role of different factors in the value socialization. Teachers in Croatia therefore share the hierarchy of universal human values with their colleagues, and have a similar hierarchy of European values as other Europeans do. The respondents came across the notion of European values mostly in the course of their professional development, and less during their initial education. The respondents believe that students’ set of values should be equal to the European set of values. They also believe that these values are acquired through the programme of interdisciplinary themes and extracurricular activities. European Values as a Part of Curriculum Elements The starting point of this analysis is the assumption that moral education and value education have both an affective and a cognitive component. However, the values should not be taught – they should be lived, applied and experienced daily, together with exemplary models of behaviour (Mougniotte, 1995). Value teaching principles are based on various philosophical, historical, psychological and educational foundations i.e. they are based on different views of human nature, learning and teaching (Rakić, Vukušić, 2010, p.775). Here we come across two basic approaches: the prescriptive approach that promotes character building through direct and open teaching of basic moral imperatives, values and virtues inherent to all people. On the other hand, the descriptive approach promotes indirect education applying creative and critical thinking, problem solving and deduction, which teaches children the competences to deduct independently what is right and moral. This approach stems from Kohlberg’s theory of moral reasoning (discussion on moral dilemmas encourages the development of student’s reasoning) and Piaget’s stages of cognitive development. However, it would be best to merge these two approaches: the skill of reasoning and the focus on universal values i.e. teaching value groups, supported by critical thinking, questioning and discussion (id., 2010, p.779). Elements of modern education curriculum include educational values, educational goals, curriculum principles or frameworks, educational content, organization, methods and means of work and assessment and self-assessment. Curriculum elements can also be defined as planning, implementation, evaluation and revision of curriculum. Curriculum planning includes goals, tasks and content, while curriculum implementation involves organization of work and teaching technology, conditions of learning and methods and means of work. After evaluation curriculum undergoes revision, since it is, in essence, an on-going process, starting after one cycle of curriculum planning is completed and evolving into a new cycle. Values are the ideological framework of the curriculum. Hence all curriculum elements reflect the value foundation of curriculum, making it a comprehensive document of education policy and education process. European values link educational areas and subjects, and by choosing such content, students acquire interdisciplinary competences. Out of six interdisciplinary themes, three themes specifically relate to these values: personal and social development, environmental protection, safety and health, and civil education. All participants of the education process are obligated to include these themes into everyday classes. Modelling or programming of content in the curriculum is a specific issue. Generally, there are three approaches to programming: normative or deductive, empirical or inductive and combined inductive-deductive approaches to programming (Pastuović, 2012). Based on the analysis we concluded that European values can be best modelled using the combined inductivedeductive approach where the focus of the curriculum is on the universally relevant competences for lifelong learning and which are included in the general compulsory education for all. In addition, curriculum content programming or modelling can be explicit or implicit. With regard to Croatian educational practice, European values, although explicitly defined in the general part of the National Curriculum Framework (2011), are implicit in the direct educational work of teachers and teaching assistants, as their implicit theory. Because of the implicit character of the value system of all those involved in the co-construction of the curriculum, it is necessary to examine the value systems of all stakeholders in the education system. This also includes other factors affecting socialisation of children, such as parental and peer influence, media and other social institutions which the child comes into contact with and which affect the formation of its value system. When it comes to the presence of European values in the curriculum (or as part of curriculum content elements incorporated in the syllabus), the following conclusions can be made: (1) a lack of European values in certain subject curricula which are not suitable for the implementation of interdisciplinary themes of civil education and intercultural education, (2) explicitly defined European values as part of cross-curricular or interdisciplinary themes, with a list of values and contents whose values are implemented within civil education, and (3) implicit values present both in the interdisciplinary themes and in subjects (Croatian language or mother tongue, foreign languages, history, geography, etc.). Values are explicitly defined in the curricula and syllabi as the underlying idea and can be found in the principles of curriculum construction and implementation. We often come across these values in interdisciplinary or cross-curricular areas in which interdisciplinary projects, specific to the school and the community in which the school is active, can be implemented. European values are a part of the European dimension in education, as well as a part of civil education. Civil education can be introduced in the form of (1) a separate subject (a usual approach especially in countries in transition, as a way of compensating for democratic deficit); (2) cross-curricular implementation of civil education (civil education content is implemented in the subjects such as history and geography, as can be seen in the National Curriculum Framework, 2011); (3) public discussions in schools featuring various speakers (as part of the school curriculum). The European dimension in education is incorporated in all segments of the education structure: in the syllabus, European studies, initial education, international exchange, professional development of teachers, active participation of students in the teaching process, extra-curricular activities, meetings, contacts, exchanges, visits, joint projects with peers from other countries, media, themes dealing with European culture, heritage and foreign languages, teaching material and administrative structure (Zidarić, 1996, p.173). Conclusion Modern curriculum is a result of the construction of a number of stakeholders, with teachers holding one of the most important roles. In addition to knowledge, skills and competences, teachers also transfer values to their students as part of the curriculum. Therefore, values are the focus of the empirical part of this research, with the main hypothesis that values form an ethical framework of the curriculum and a foundation on which other dimensions are built upon. We come across the notion of European values on a daily basis as residents of an environment where the importance of European values in the modern European society is permanently emphasized, despite major problems on the global level. Croatia, a part of this context, has to become more aware of European values, more familiar with their content and work on their socialization on personal, family, public and social level. Upon analysing their role in education, but also in law and politics, we can conclude that European values represent humanist and democratic values of the modern civil society. As such, they cannot be analysed outside the intercultural context, as this is how we perceive the world today. Moreover, they cannot be separated from civil education, where complementary knowledge, skills and competences are used in educating students for these values. Therefore, there is no alternative to implementing the European dimension in education and the European values in the school culture, the curriculum and the direct educational work in the modern Croatian school fit for the 21st century. Learning about European values reduces the democratic deficit of the society and increases the capacity of individuals and the community to achieve a constructive and quality co-existence in the globalized world of tomorrow.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: curriculum, hidden curriculum, universal value system, European values, value system of teachers, Shalom H. Schwartz
Subjects: Pedagogy
Departments: Department of Pedagogy
Supervisor: Previšić, Vlatko
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij pedagogije
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2018 08:58
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2018 08:58

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item