The Romanian education goals are: personal development, training the personality, as well as achieving specific knowledge and the sum of values necessary for the integration in the society and the professional development.
A school day:
- The classes start at 8 am and end at 2 pm. For primary education classes end at 12.
- Each class is 50 minutes followed by a 10 minutes break.
- A special break is destined for a school snack. From 9,50 to 10,10 pupils have 20 minutes to take ”a bite of freedom”.
- Also at primary level after-school classes are often organized. Those classes are organized at parents’ request and last two hours.
Core curriculum and content’s approach for first grade subjects
Romanian curriculum ilustrates general concern for descentalization and free adaptation to educational needs, aptitudes and aspiration of different categories of pupils and for community needs to be reflected in educational process.
Schoool curriculum is a component of National Curriculum and it is elaborated according to the principle of using pupils centred activities though objectives role and competence role. This idea determines educational content of a subject for one school year. The curriculum ilustrates the concern for unity and intractions between its components.
The integrate aproach in curriculum intends to bring school closer to real life by applying theoretical knowledge in comon practice and the replacement of the abstract with concrete facts. The focus is on forming key competences, values and atitudes with transversal character and tranferable, useful for pupils’ personal and social development. Integrated teaching does not target one subject but a thematic unity, common to many subjects. One subject helps another subject to be better understood and accomplished, also helps to transfer knowledge from one field to another. Using integrated teaching activities, teachers allow pupls to be creative, to manifest freely and create a challenging and diverse enviroment for bulding their personality. This new curriculum has a different structure that allows one single layout for preparatory year, first grade and second grade, with the intention of a better view of progress and continuity in pupils’ skills and contents. Curriculum’s presentation’s form facilitates a permanent conectivity with previous and following years of study, ensuring the vertical and horizontal coherence including school’s study level.
First grade pupils benefit from a curriculum that values learning experiences accomplished before the age of seven years, including school’s preparatory year. The content is approached in a concentric and progressive way, with elements being resumed and added methodically, piece by piece. While the preparatory school year is an accommodation year for the tiny student, first grade in the first year of proper integration in school environment that brings with it something new: the marks.
In language and communication, in the first three school’s years the accent is on the ability to communicate in written and oral form. Pupils must learn how to communicate in concrete situations, so they will be able to react in similar real or simulated experiences. During this school year pupils pass from realizing the signification of a short message on familiar topics to understanding a message on accessible topics and describing familiar events by simple messages. They learn the dialog line as a punctuation used for asking questions and giving answers next to the point mark and question mark. Also, transcripts are necessary for accomplishing reading skills and writing skills and imaginative writing (under the form of texts with 3-5 sentences), starting from a live experience. For language and communication seven classes are made every week.
An open and friendly work environment with games and funny energizer- games is important to be continued from the preparatory year. Toys can and must remain first grade’s pupils’ friends, even more if they were made in visual arts and practical abilities classes. Toys can be used in creating communication contexts necessary in achieving communication skills.
In Math and environment exploration- a new thing is the addition with numbers from 0 to 100 with pass over order and reading the clock with half hours. All the other new elements in the curriculum are natural developments of key competences of the preparatory year. Everything is gradually introduced, using counting and intuitive support in contexts of environment exploration from pupils’ common experience. The items starts from first grade pupil’s tangible horizon and may contain collecting, reading and writing data, from measurements made using meters, liters, hours, days, money with values between 0 and 100. As strategy-didactic games prevails, ensuring pupils’ active individual or group involvement.
We can say that new school curriculum is a step forward in teaching, by ensuring proper links between different subjects’ content.
Mihaela Salatiuan – teacher for primary education
Secondary education’s specific in Romanian schools
Following the transformations already implemented in primary education, the national curriculum of lower secondary education is in an important process of transformations. In primary education Romanian schools already adopted a core curriculum that encourage tras and inter curricular approaches. Also, we can say that an entire five years course was implemented and a specific infrastructure consisting in school textbooks, digital components and evaluation was created. In lower secondary education starting with the school year 2017-2018 the curriculum will change in order to follow the directions implemented in primary education. Romanian schools will have a new curriculum conceived in such a way that innovation and creativity will be encouraged. The content will be divided into four areas of study: math and science, language and communication, people and society arts and technologies. These areas are not new, but different subjects will be included. Pupils will study as a subject social education. In the fifth grade they will develop their critical thinking and study children’s rights, in the sixth grade they will study intercultural education, in the seventh grade: democratic citizenship education and in the eighth grade: economical and financial education. Also ICT classes will be included starting from the fifth grade up to the eighth grade. The new curriculum will change teaching methods from classic school books to pedagogical training. The content will cover 75% of classes but the teacher will still have time to innovate, to make experiments and solve common tasks. The global way to manage teaching will change. Teachers will have to include optional subjects with trans curricular content during all four years of lower secondary education. Also the number of optional classes will change. The fifth and the sixth grade can have a maximum of 3 optional classes per week and the seventh and the eighth grade will have a maximum of four optional classes per week. This new teaching frame plan is conceived starting from the goal of preparing pupils for a decent integration in the society.
So far, only the general plan was approved and published into official gazette. According to our governments’ documents we have to wait for the first of September in order to find out the detailed content of the curriculum.
In high school the implementation of a new frame plan will start only after a complete four-year cycle of transformation in lower secondary education implementation.
Regarding the evaluation, the most important evaluation is the trans-curricular evaluation for pupils in the sixth grade. This evaluation is a new initiative for Romanian schools and will be maintained by the new educational law.
For the third consecutive year pupils give an evaluation in Math, Biology and Physics in a 60 minutes exam and another one in Language and communication involving Romanian and English. This evaluation’s results are special codes on which teachers are drawing individual learning plans. In Math and sciences the test is generous in tasks, containing five items for every subject. The tasks have different degree of difficulty, starting from simple to difficult. Considering the large range of items, we can say that this evaluation is relevant to test pupils’ abilities in general knowledge but are not relevant for one subject’s details.
Another important evaluation will be the evaluation for pupils in the eighth grade after they finish lower secondary education cycle. This evaluation will also be maintained but the curriculum will change and the tasks will respect the new curriculum.
If we analyze the project regarding the next four years of teaching in Romanian lower secondary education, we can say that trans curricular teaching is a major concern. That direction of teaching will be followed by optional curriculum that have to maintain this direction according to the law and by introducing new subjects with social character, designed to ensure the transfer from theoretical training to real life.
Diana Rafa – teacher