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Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

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Spain:Early Childhood Education and Care

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Spain:Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care

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Spain:Assessment in Primary Education

Spain:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Spain:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Vocational Lower Secondary Education: Basic Vocational Training cycles

Spain:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Higher Education

Spain:Types of Higher Education Institutions

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Spain:Bachelor

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Spain:Distribution of Responsibilities

Spain:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Spain:Main Providers

Spain:Main Types of Provision

Spain:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Spain:Teachers and Education Staff

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Management and Other Education Staff

Spain:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Spain:Management Staff for Higher Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Quality Assurance

Spain:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Educational Support and Guidance

Spain:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Spain:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Spain:Mobility and Internationalisation

Spain:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Mobility in Higher Education

Spain:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Spain:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Spain:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:National Reforms in School Education

Spain:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Spain:National Reforms in Higher Education

Spain:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Spain:European Perspective

Spain:Legislation

Spain:Institutions

Spain:Bibliography

Spain:Glossary

Curriculum of compulsory secondary education

Compulsory secondary education is divided into two cycles: the first one comprises three years and the second one only one. The second cycle corresponds to the 4th year and has a preparatory and guiding nature for either general or vocational education.

Curriculum refers to the regulation of the elements influencing the teaching and learning processes for each type of provision. It comprises the following elements:

  • objectives of each type of provision and educational stage
  • skills, or students’ abilities to implement the contents of each type of provision and educational stage in an integrated manner, in order to achieve a correct execution of activities and effective complex problem solving
  • contents, that is, the set of knowledge, abilities, skills and attitudes which contribute to the achievement of the objectives of each type of provision and educational stage as well as to the acquisition of the skills
  • teaching methodology, comprising the description of teaching practices as well as the organisation of teachers’ work
  • assessable learning standards and outcomes
  • criteria to assess the degree of acquisition of the skills and the achievement of the objectives of each type of provision and educational stage.

(2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education).

The curriculum for compulsory secondary education establishes the same key skills as in primary education:

  • linguistic communication
  • mathematical and basic skills in science and technology
  • digital.
  • learning to learn
  • social and civic
  • sense of initiative and entrepreneurship
  • cultural awareness and expression.

(In line with the Recommendation 2006/962/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006).

For skills to be efficiently acquired and effectively integrated into the curriculum, integrated learning activities that would allow students to move towards the acquisition of more than one skill at a time, as many of them overlap and interlock, must be designed. There is not a one-to-one relationship between the teaching of certain areas or subjects and the development of some specific skills. Each area or subject contributes to the development of different skills and each skill is in turn acquired through work in the various areas or subjects.

The development of the linguistic communication skill, the mathematical skill and basic skills in science and technology must be strengthened in compulsory secondary education.

In order to ensure common training for all students, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport to design a basic curriculum that guarantees that certificates are official and valid throughout the country. The education authorities complete the curriculum for their respective regions. For more information, see Administration and governance at central and/or regional level.

Education institutions also play an active role, developing and completing the curriculum in order to adapt it to their context and pupils.  In addition, each teacher draws up the teaching plan for each class group. For more information, see Administration and governance at local and/or institutional level.

Organisation of the first cycle of compulsory secondary education (1st, 2nd and 3rd year)

The Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education organises compulsory secondary education into subjects, which are in turn divided into three sets: core subjects, specific subjects and subjects that are freely structured by the Autonomous Communities.

Compulsory secondary education: Organisation of the first cycle (1st, 2nd and 3rd year)
Core subjects
1st and 2nd year
Biology and Geology (1st year)
Physics and Chemistry (2nd year)
Geography and History (1st and 2nd year)
Spanish Language and Literature (1st and 2nd year)
Mathematics (1st and 2nd year)
First Foreign Language (1st and 2nd year)
3rd year
Biology and Geology
Physics and Chemistry
Geography and History
Spanish Language and Literature
Mathematics1
First Foreign Language

Specific subjects

studied every year

  • Physical Education
  • Religion or Ethical Values (to be chosen by parents or tutors)

Students take at least one:

  • Classical Culture
  • Plastic, Visual and Audiovisual Education
  • Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Business Activity
  • Music
  • Second Foreign Language
  • Technology
  • Religion or Ethical Values
Subjects that are freely structured by the Autonomous Communities
Co-Official Language and Literature, which has the same status as the area of Spanish Language and Literature.
Subject areas from the set of specific subjects that have not been taken by the student or subject areas to be determined by the education authorities of the Autonomous Communities.

1 Students can choose between Mathematics for the Academic Subjects or Mathematics for the Applied Subjects.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education.

The minimum number of teaching hours corresponding to the set of core subjects, calculated globally for the first cycle of compulsory secondary education, cannot be less than 50% of the total number of teaching hours generally established by each education authority for the first cycle.

Organisation of the second cycle of compulsory secondary educatio (4th year)

The second cycle of compulsory secondary education also organises subjects into three sets. Due to the preparatory nature of this year, students can choose one of the following options:

  1. academic subjects as an introduction to Bachillerato
  2. applied subjects as an introduction to vocational training.

Compulsory secondary education: Organisation of the second cycle (4th year). Academic subjects as an introduction to Bachillerato

Core subjects

All students have to take them:

  • Geography and History
  • Spanish Language and Literature
  • Mathematics for the Academic Subjects
  • First Foreign Language

Students take at least two of the following options:

  • Biology and Geology
  • Economics
  • Physics and Chemistry
  • Latin
Specific subjects
  • Physical Education
  • Religion or Ethical Values (to be chosen by parents or tutors)

Students take at least one: 

  • Performing Arts and Dance
  • Scientific Culture
  • Classical Culture
  • Plastic, Visual and Audiovisual Education
  • Philosophy
  • Music
  • Second Foreign Language
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Religion or Ethical Values
Subjects that are freely structured by the Autonomous Communities
Co-Official Language and Literature, which has the same status as the area of Spanish Language and Literature.
Subject areas from the set of specific subjects that have not been taken by the student or subject areas to be determined by the education authorities of the Autonomous Communities.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education.

Compulsory secondary education: Organisation of the second cycle (4th year). Applied subjects as an introduction to vocational training
Core subjects

All students have to take them:

  • Geography and History
  • Spanish Language and Literature
  • Mathematics for the Applied Subjects
  • First Foreign Language

Students take at least two of the following options:

  • Science Applied to Professional Activity
  • Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Business Activity
  • Technology
Specific subjects
  • Physical Education
  • Religion or Ethical Values (to be chosen by parents or tutors)

Students take at least one: 

  • Performing Arts and Dance
  • Scientific Culture
  • Classical Culture
  • Plastic, Visual and Audiovisual Education
  • Philosophy
  • Music
  • Second Foreign Language
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Religion or Ethical Values
Subjects that are freely structured by the Autonomous Communities
Co-Official Language and Literature, which has the same status as the area of Spanish Language and Literature.
Subject areas from the set of specific subjects that have not been taken by the student or subject areas to be determined by the education authorities of the Autonomous Communities.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education.

The education authorities and, where appropriate, educational institutions may establish pathways in order to help students choose among the different options within core subjects.

The minimum number of teaching hours corresponding to the set of core subjects is established in the same way as in the first cycle of the stage.

Teaching hours per subject in compulsory secondary education (percentage of the total numer of hours of compulsory education). 2015

Language, Writing and Literature
16
Mathematics
12
Natural Sciencies
8
Social Studies
11
Second Language
11
Physical Education and Health
7
Arts
7
Technology
5
Other subjects
3
Compulsory options chosen by the student
18

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of Education at a Glance 2015.

Regarding the linguistic models organising the teaching of the official languages in the different regions, it is the education authorities that establish them. For more information, see Population: demographic situation, languages and religions.

In any case, the 10% of the total amount of hours these Autonomous Communities may use in order to organise provision of the co-official languages may not deduct more than 50 hours from an area in the first three years nor more than 20 hours in the 4th year.

They may also authorise the teaching of some of the subjects of the curriculum in a foreign language, without modifying the basic aspects of their curricula. In this case, they have to guarantee that students learn the basic terminology of the relevant subject in both languages. 

Teaching methods and materials

Teaching methods

The teaching methodology is the set of strategies, procedures and actions consciously and thoughtfully organised and planned by teachers with the aim of making student learning and the attainment of the stated objectives possible. It comprises the description of teaching practices as well as the organisation of teachers’ work.

(2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education).

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport establishes in the Education Act the general principles which must guide the teaching practice in compulsory secondary education: 

  • it is organised according to the principles of common education and attention to diversity
  • measures regarding attention to diversity seek to meet the specific educational needs of pupils and that all students achieve the basic skills and objectives of compulsory secondary education. In no case whatsoever shall they cause discrimination to prevent them from achieving those objectives and the relevant qualification
  • work on reading comprehension, oral and written expression, audiovisual communication, information and communication technologies (ICT) and values education is included in all the subjects since they are considered cross-curricular. These aspects may be treated more specifically in some of the subjects.

The education authorities formulate a series of methodological principles which are valid for all the subjects of the stage. Regarding ICT, they are responsible for providing schools with the necessary infrastructure to ensure their implementation in the educational processes. In Spain, in the 2014/15 school year, access to the Internet is guaranteed in 99.9% of schools. In addition, the average number of computers per group is 6.4.

According to the pedagogic principles described above and within their pedagogic autonomy, schools may define the teaching methods to be used in the classroom. They also decide on curricular materials and didactic resources.

Each teacher has the freedom to make his or her own methodological decisions, which must respect those agreed upon at a school level and with what has been established by the corresponding education authorities.

Materials

The edition and adoption of textbooks and teaching materials do not require the previous authorisation of the education authorities. In all cases, they must:

  • be adapted to the scientific rigour adequate for the pupils’ age group and to the approved curriculum set by the Autonomous Community
  • reflect and promote the respect to the constitutional principles, values, freedoms, rights and obligations that are found in current educational legislation and in the Act on Comprehensive Protection Measures Against Gender-Based Violence to which all educational activities must conform.

The supervision of textbooks and other curricular materials constitutes a part of the ordinary process in the inspection that the Education Authority carries out over the totality of the elements that integrate the teaching and learning process. 

The selection of textbooks follows a series of directives in all educational institutions. They are the following:

  • Pedagogic Commission for Coordination in each educational institution: it prepares a report on all the textbooks that they consider the most appropriate, which is supervised by the School Council of the educational institution and by the Teachers’ Assembly
  • teachers take the final decision on the textbooks to be used
  • if the School Council does not agree with the teachers’ choice of textbooks, it may provide its own suggestions to the Teachers’ Assembly so that they may also be considered. 

Families are expected to purchase the textbooks and school materials. However, there are certain municipal and/or autonomic financial aids for the purchasing of these textbooks and materials aimed at schooled students in public education centres. For more information, see Early Childhood and School Education Funding.

Finally, pupils’ homework outside school hours is not regulated in any official document; it is up to each teacher to organise it.