DH F3 Through the framework of existing subjects

Changes through the framework of existing subjects

Teachers can add new topics to their lessons. In Poland, for example, teachers and school heads said in interviews that they can change about 10% of the time for a subject without messing up the main curriculum. However, there is the risk of being checked by school boards and superintendents if they make such changes. This risk makes teachers more likely to stick to the formal way of adding new topics, as there could be concerns from students, parents, or surprise checks by authorities.

Not all countries allow teachers to add new topics. In Austria, for example, the curriculum is very detailed in regard to what needs to be taught and how lessons should be organised, so there is little room for change.

In Greece, even though the curriculum says teachers have some freedom to change how they teach and add new topics, teachers usually stick closely to the school textbooks. There is not much freedom in choosing textbooks, even though there were proposals for new textbooks in 2023 to give teachers more choice.

It is easier to add new topics at lower levels of education, where there’s more freedom and the curriculum isn’t as packed. In many countries, the early years of primary school have less subject separation, making it easier to add new topics. In the first grades of primary school, subjects are often not clearly separated. This also makes it easier to add new topics, and allows for a more mixed and interdisciplinary approach. The lack of strict subject boundaries gives teachers more flexibility to add different topics, such as bioeconomy, to the curriculum.

In preschool settings, it is also relatively easy to add new topics when they fit with the areas outlined in the curriculum. For example, in Germany the curriculum might include areas like “nature and cultural environments”, while in Austria there might be a focus on “nature and technology”. Bioeconomy, for example, fits into these areas, giving teachers the chance to easily add it to the learning experience.