An investigation into the problems of curriculum planning and development in geography with special reference to the curriculum of the secondary schools of Portugal
This study aims to investigate problems of curriculum planning and development in geography, with special reference to the curriculum of Portuguese secondary schools. It identifies the theoretical and practical influences which affect curriculum planning and development and gives some suggestions and a rationale that can be employed to overcome these problems. The theoretical bases of curriculum planning and development in general and of curriculum planning and development in geography are examined first. Following this theoretical backg round, the evolution of geographical education over the past 150 years is indicated in order to contribute to an awareness of curriculum change in the past. In order to obtain evidence of the present main problems concerning geographical education and to collect opinions on how to improve it, questionnaires were sent to geography teachers in secondary schools. Questionnaires were also sent to 9th year and 12th year students respectively, (approximately 15 and 18 year old) to ascertain their views about geography and its teaching. To discover how the process of curriculum planning takes place at school level, interviews were undertaken with the heads of geography departments of eight secondary schools which differ in several aspects, e.g. in location, in type, in size, in number of geography teachers and their qualifications and in the availability of teaching resources, among others. In orderto find out how the process of curriculum planning has evolved since the revolution of April 25th 1974 interviews were conducted with curriculum planners. Lastly, strategies and conditions needed for curriculum development in geography are put forward. The essential conclusions of this investigation are that in orderto improvethe delivery of the geography curriculum in Portugal it will be necessary: first, to develop the links between the central, regional and school authorities; secondly, to raise the level of qualifications of teachers of geography; and thirdly, to increase the resources available to schools' geography departments. Consequently the quality of delivery of the curriculum will depend on teachers having expertise in schoolbased curriculum development. The possible ways of extending this study are also discussed in the final chapter.