This essay deals with the role played by FL in the Spanish Education System, criteria that should be reflected in the School’s Educational Project, as well as in the School’s Curricular Project, or the PCC.
The first part of the heading of this topic deals with foreign languages in the curriculum, so we might start this essay by defining or identifying the legal framework within which we must operate, since we are now in a situation of CHANGE.
Our current (present-day) National Education Law is known by its initials “LOE” –Ley Orgánica de Educación, or Organic Education Law. This law was passed by Spanish Parliament in December 2006 and regulates different Education stages: Infant Education, Primary and Secondary Education as well as Official Language Schools and Music Conservatories. The moment LOE was passed by Parliament, our previous Law, LOGSE of 1991, was automatically abolished, as it not legally possible to have two different education laws in place.
But the application or enforcement of LOE will be GRADUAL. As regards Primary education:
The 1st cycle regulated by LOE will start in the academic course 2007-2008.
The 2nd cycle regulated by LOE will start in the academic course 2008-2009, and
The 3rd cycle regulated by LOE will start in the academic course 2009-2010.
This Calendar for the gradual implantation of the new education system is established in Royal Decree 806/2006, of 30th June 2006.
The implementation of LOE in three steps along three consecutive years, implies that the old and new Systems, will coexist for a short while. The need for this coexistence of the new and old systems is explicitly mentioned in the transitory provision (disposición transitoria) made in Royal Decree 1513/2006 which establishes the new basic curriculum for Primary Education.
According to this transitory provision, Royal Decree 1006/1991 will regulate the second cycle for another academic course, and it will regulate the third cycle for another two academic courses, until the beginning of the course that starts in September 2009. The first cycle on the other hand will be regulated by the new curriculum established by R.D. 1513/2006 of 7th December.
The FL Curriculum comprises:
The Objectives for the area
Contents, which may be divided into Conceptual, Procedural and Attitudinal Contents
Evaluation Criteria and Procedures
As well as other aspects such as Attention to Diversity and use of Information and communication technologies.
We will now focus on some of the features (points) of the new curriculum which will start to be implemented in the next academic year 2007-2008.
The structure of Primary Education remains the same, consisting of six years divided into three cycles of two years each one.
In the new Curriculum there are 14 Objectives for the Primary Education Stage. The old Curriculum had 11. LOE therefore establishes 3 more than LOGSE. The three new objectives are related to * valuing animals and pets, * adopting non-violent and non-sexist attitudes and * behaviour aimed at prevention of traffic accidents.
As regards the different Areas of knowledge for the stage., there some changes: One is the addition of a 7th Area in the third cycle: Education for good citizenship, human rights and equality of the sexes.
Also in the 3rd cycle the optional introduction of a second FL.
An important thing to point out is that, like its predecessor RD 1006/1991, the new basic national curriculum is OPEN and FLEXIBLE. Schools are given pedagogical and organisational autonomy in order to adjust to the particular reality of the school. Article 4 of RD 1513/2006 states that the schools will complete and develop the curriculum for Primary Education, and that this concretion will be part of the PEC or School’ s Educational Project.
Evaluation remains to be continuous (or on-going) and global
One of the most outstanding innovations of the new curriculum is the establishment of BASIC COMPETENCES or SKILLS. The new curriculum establishes 8 competences. They are he following:
1. Communicative competence (in the mother tongue as well as other languages)
2. Numeracy, or Mathematical competence
3. Environmental competence
4. Computer Literacy, or Competence in Information and communication technologies
5. Social and Citizen Competence
6. Cultural and Artistic competence
7. Competence in Learning to Learn
8. Personal Autonomy and Iniciative
These eight competeces are cross-curricular, which means that teachers of all areas are responsible for the development of these 8 competences in the students. However, some subjects lend themselves better to some of the competences, and in fact, Royal Decree 1513 makes – in Annex 1— an outline of how the different areas can contribute to the development of the 8 cross-curricular competences. In the case of English, our Area contributes very strongly to the development of Competence number 1 (di cual es) and number 4 and 7 (di cuales son). The FL area also contributes to development of Competence number 5, number 6 and number 8 (dí cuales son).
But as I mentioned previously, the application or enforcement of LOE will be GRADUAL. It will be carried out in three years according to the Calendar established in Royal Decree 806/2006, of 30th June 2006:
The 1st cycle will start in the academic course 2007-2008. The 2nd cycle will start in the academic course 2008-2009, and the 3rd cycle will start in the academic course 2009-2010.
Under our previous Education Law, LOGSE, the FL started to be taught in the 2nd cycle, so it was compulsory (obligatoria) in 4 of the 6 years: 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th. However, in our Autonomous Community, Madrid, English was taught in most schools in the 1st cycle of Primary Education, and sometimes even in Infant Education ????
The new Education Law, LOE, makes the study of a FL compulsory from year 1 of Primary Education.
We will now focus on the second part of the topic:
Aspects to be reflected in the School’s Educational Project and the School’s Curricular Project.
The FL Area cannot be considered as independent from the Educational Process carried out in Primary Education. It is an Area fully integrated in this process and it contributes to the whole education development of students through the achievement of a series of objectives and the promotion of certain capacities (capabilities) and attitudes which are vital for a child’s adequate socialisation and personal evolution.
To guarantee the coherence of the educational process in a given school, the whole school community must agree on a series of decisions taken in common. These decisions are reflected in three documents that every school must produce. They are:
The School Educational Project (known by its initials in Spanish, “PEC”)
The School Curricular Project (…………, PCC)
The School General Program (…………. PGC Programación general de centro)
We will start with the School Educational Project.
This document specifies the decisions taken by the whole educational community about its basic educational options and the general organisation of the school. Typical aspects reflected in the PEC are the following:
A) Who we are, or the specific signs of identity of the school. This includes, for example, the ethnic makeup of the neighbourhood, the types of industries and services in the area, socio-cultural and socio-economic level of families, etc.
B) What we want: This includes, for example, the school’s basic aims and specification of objectives for the different cycles.
C) How we are organised: This includes decisions concerning, for example, collaborative work among the teaching staff, timetables, criteria for students’ promotion form one level to the next, etc.
The School Educational Project is approved by the School Council (consejo escolar) where all the members of the school community are represented.
Designing the S E P (PEC) is a dynamic process in the sense that it must be revised to make sure it really reflects the signs of identity of the school. The revisions made by the School Council every year must be included in the School General Programming, which must be sent to the Educational Administration.
The School Curricular Project
The aims that are defined in the School Educational Project will gradually take shape in each stage through the
agreements that are reached in the corresponding School Curricular Project. For example, a school
which teaches students aged 3-12, will have a single Educational Project for the whole school and 2 Curricular
Projects: one for students aged 3-6 (Pre-primary) and the other for the rest (Primary), although both must be drafted
together, making sure that their principles are mutually coherent. On the other hand, the whole staff of the school is
responsible for the approval of the Curricular Projects for each stage. Once the Curricular Project has been
established, and within the framework of the agreements made in it by the teaching staff of the stage, the Classroom
programme will be drafted. At this third level in this process, the decisions made for the cycle will be adapted to each
specific group of students.
The SOURCES FOR THE ELABORATION OF THE CURRICULAR PROJECT are the following:
• The Educational Project
• The context analysis
• The basic curriculum prescribed by the Administration
• The experience derived from the school educational practice.
The Curricular Project takes into account, among other things, the following :
– the Stage objectives and cycle objectives for each of the Areas or subjects
– Decisions concerning How to Teach (Didactic Strategies).
– Methological principles used
– criteria for the grouping of students
– organisation of space and time
– criteria for the selection of didactic material
– Decisions regarding evaluation, such as what should be evaluated and how
– Criteria for promotion of students from one level to the next.
At the beginning of each academic course, the teaching staff elaborate, at least, the basic aspects of the following elements of the Curricular Project:
• The cycle objectives
• Distribution of contents for each cycle
• Curricular material and didactic resources to be used
• Procedures to evaluate the progress
• Criteria for evaluation and promotion
• Organization and functioning of tutorship.
other aspects included in the Curricular Project which are also important are, for example:
• Adjustments for students with special learning needs.
• Procedures to evaluate teaching performance.
• Incorporating elements developed during the preceding academic year and / or introducing
modifications derived from the evaluation carried out.
In essence, The School Curricular Project contains two types of decisions:
– General aspects and criteria referred to the whole stage, from 1st year of PE to 6th year of PE
– More specific decisions concerning the different Areas and cycles within Primary Education.
To end this essay, I would like to stress the fact that we have an open and flexible curriculum, with different levels of concretion. The first level of concretion corresponds to the government and is expressed (made explicit) in the national basic curriculum, which in turn is adapted by each of the Autonomous communities that have competence in Education matters. The next level of concretion corresponds to the schools and is reflected in the School Curricular Project. The next level of concretion corresponds to the teacher and it is materialised in the Annual Programming. This openness and flexibility was first established by LOGSE in 1991, and it is also one of the features of our new education law, LOE, which has also established an open and flexible curriculum with the same levels of concretion.
Real Decreto 1006/1991
Real Decreto 1344/1991 comprobad que es correcto (1334/1991?)
Real Decreto 1513/2006