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Is there a place for young people in the geography curriculum? Analysis of the aims and contents of the Finnish comprehensive school curricula

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Author(s): Sirpa Tani

Journal: Nordidactica : Journal of Humanities and Social Science Education
ISSN 2000-9879

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 26;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: GEOGRAPHY | CHILDREN’S GEOGRAPHIES | GEOGRAPHIES OF YOUNG PEOPLE | CURRICULUM | FINLAND

ABSTRACT
Geography is one of the school subjects in which children and young people’s own experiences and views on the world can be easily taken into account. In the last decade, interest has been growing in the geographies of children and young people in contemporary cultural geography, and therefore, these issues seem even more central than before. In this article, which is based on the situation in Finland, changes in the status and contents of the national curricula for comprehensive school will be explained. A closer analysis will be made of the child-centred approaches of the geography curricula published in 1970, 1985, 1994 and 2004. The results of the analysis show how children and young people’s experiences are taken into account in principle, but most often only in the overall aims of the subject. The specified contents of teaching in curricular texts include just a few mentions of child-centred approaches. The same omission has also been reflected in school textbooks, which have a powerful position in guiding teacher’s choices in their practices of teaching. Based on these findings, it will be argued how in the future curriculum renewal process, more emphasis should be put on the geographies of children and young people.
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