Learning materials used in schools guide the children and youth’s understanding of the world. They provide a foundation for teaching and often direct the focus of learning towards certain themes. For this reason, it is important to be aware of the content and presentation of the learning materials.
Researchers have looked at the content of study books and other learning materials and discovered that the values and emphases of the Finnish national core curriculum are not necessarily clearly visible in the learning materials.
Pia Mikander from the University of Helsinki has discovered that the idea of Western supremacy is still reflected in study books. References are found in both texts and pictures. Even though often unintentional, they show that the study contents are not necessarily designed on the basis of the values in the national core curriculum.
Fortunately, there are numerous good examples of study materials that challenge the prevalent societal power structures, promote human rights and encourage a more sustainable lifestyle.
The Global Education Network of Finnish CSOs has created a handy check-list for learning material producers to help them make a match between the study books and the emphases of the national core curriculum. A need for a check-list was first realized when CSOs were asked to comment on study book manuscripts in which they found similar problematic issues occurring frequently.
There is a hope that the check-list would find a wider distribution among everyone working with learning materials, including school teachers, study book authors, CSOs and global educators. And not only in Finnish context!
- Update Learning Materials! Towards Active Citizenship (pdf)
- More information: Sanna Rekola, firstname.lastname@example.org
(This blog has been published in Finnish in January 2018 and translated by Heidi Saarinen.)