Survey of teaching personnel in the Canton of Aargau – the results are explosive!

Survey of teaching personnel in the Canton of Aargau – the results are explosive!

Press release committee “Yes to a good education – No to Curriculum 21”

Until now, the teachers of the Canton of Aargau have been unable to voice their opinion on the reforms announced for Curriculum 21. There had never been a debate with those affected. Apart from a short consultation, the “Aargauischer  Lehrerinnen- und Lehrerverband” (Aargau Teachers’ Association, alv), intend on speaking for all of the teaching personnel, didn’t facilitate a broader discussion. Instead, alv entered a cooperation with the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (BKS) and tried to bring all teaching personnel into line. This process can be observed in other cantons as well.
Alv also tries to prevent a critical discussion in its “Schulblatt” (school paper). Although the vote about our education initiative doesn’t take place until 12 February 2017, the BKS holds so-called “informational events” in order to achieve the homogenisation of opinions. As a committee working in a direct democracy, we wanted to counter this highly questionable practice.
For that very reason, we initiated - among other activities – a teacher survey. For it’s the teaching personnel that is confronted with those issues on a daily basis and has to work with the new Curriculum that cements reforms, but still has to implement it into their daily work.
The email addresses for the teaching personnel were legally acquired by internet search. While it is tedious work, it provides autonomous access to the canton’s teachers.
The survey’s results are sensational! More than 1,200 teachers (out of 6,000) participated in the anonymous survey. However, it’s to be noted that a lot of them were probably intimidated by alv and BKS in order to keep them from answering the survey. Both of those cooperations reacted to our request rather quickly and warned to participate in our survey.
The evaluation of the results was done externally by a survey tool that was developed by an eastern Swiss student of the ETH Zurich. It’s successfully run from a Swiss based server.
The results can be summarised as follows (see diagrammes):

  1. Are you in favour of two foreign languages (early French or English early) being taught in primary school?
    Results: 52.4 % of teachers were against two foreign languages being taught in primary school, with only 35.5 % being in favour.
  2.  Instead of teaching subjects like chemistry, physics, history and geography separately in secondary school, do you prefer having those subjects combined into subjects called “Spaces, Times, Societies” and “Nature and Technology”?
    Results: Only 27.8 % are in favour of those subjects being combined, while 58.3 % of teachers are against it.
  3. Do you agree with the main point of Curriculum 21, “self-organised learning” that largely leaves the selection of the subject matter and the chosen process (keyword “learning landscapes”) up to the students?
    Results: The majority of teaching staff, 66.5 %, reject “self-organised learning”. Only 21.3 % are in favour of it.
  4. Do you agree that the teacher is vital for the class’ learning success and plays an integral part when transferring knowledge to their students?
    Results: 88.8 % of teaching personnel agree that the teacher is a vital part to the class’ success and has to play an active role. Only 5.5% are not in favour of the teacher having an active role.
  5. Would you like to continue to plan with age group learning objectives in the future?
    Results: 67.3 % of the teaching personnel is in favour of annual goals, while only 13.7 % of teachers were against it.

Except for question 1, all other questions focus on central elements of Curriculum 21. In voting for the initiative “Yes to a good education – No to Curriculum 21”, Curriculum 21 couldn’t be put into effect.
With our new proposal for a paragraph to be signed into law, we demand separately taught subjects (and only one foreign language taught in primary school!) and precise annual goals instead of learning cycles. In vital papers concerning Curriculum 21, written and approved by the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK), “self-organised learning is propagated and the teacher is downgraded to a mere “learning coach”.
In summary, the majority of teachers in the Canton of Aargau is supportive of our initiative’s essential parts and takes a stand against Curriculum 21.
For the initiative’s committee

René Roca, Oberrohrdorf

(Translation Current Concerns)

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