Learning About the European Union in Times of Crisis: Portuguese Textbooks’ Normative Visions of European Citizenship

  • Filipe Piedade University of Porto, Portugal Centre for Research and Intervention in Education (CIIE) Contemporary History Institute of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the Nova University of Lisbon (IHC-FCSH)
  • Norberto Ribeiro University of Porto, Portugal Faculty of Psychology and Education Centre for Research and Intervention in Education (CIIE)
  • Manuel Loff Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto, Contemporary History Institute of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the Nova University of Lisbon. http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5958-650X
  • Tiago Neves University of Porto, Portugal Faculty of Psychology and Education Centre for Research and Intervention in Education (CIIE) http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4309-5906
  • Isabel Menezes University of Porto, Portugal Faculty of Psychology and Education Centre for Research and Intervention in Education (CIIE) http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9063-3773

Abstract

Purpose: To investigate how EU related contents are represented in Portuguese upper secondary school textbooks of History and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

Design/methodology/approach: The study performs a textbook analysis on two History textbooks and three EFL textbooks to explore if and how EU related topics are addressed. The methodological approach was mainly qualitative, based on a content analysis of the textbooks, but also includes some quantitative data (e.g., number of paragraphs) to determine the importance given to European topics in each of the selected school subjects.

Findings: EFL textbooks have a residual approach to EU topics that is mainly focused in students’ mobility. History textbooks, while containing a significant amount of information about the EU, present it mainly in a non-confrontational perspective and do not prioritize the development of students’ critical thinking about the EU. Our data also points to a predominance of national level citizenship related content, with European citizenship being briefly and normatively presented to the students.

Research limitations/implications: EFL is attended by almost 100% of students in the academic track of secondary education, but History is a curricular subject only available to 25-30% of the students; as such, our findings refer to a specific group.

Practical implications: Textbooks should include more information about the actual problems and challenges of the EU to foster the development of students’ critical thinking about the EU.

Author Biographies

Filipe Piedade, University of Porto, Portugal Centre for Research and Intervention in Education (CIIE) Contemporary History Institute of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the Nova University of Lisbon (IHC-FCSH)

Filipe Piedade: Phd student at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the Porto University. Phd fellow of the Centre for Research and Intervention in Education (CIIE) and Integrated Researcher of the Contemporary History Institute of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the Nova University of Lisbon (IHC-FCSH). His research is financed by national funding by the FCT - Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation, under the a Doctoral scholarship (BD/123619/2016).

Norberto Ribeiro, University of Porto, Portugal Faculty of Psychology and Education Centre for Research and Intervention in Education (CIIE)

PhD in Educational Sciences from the University of Porto. He has been actively involved in research since 2006, both in national and international projects (funded by the FCT and the European Commission). His research focuses on citizenship education and youth civic and political participation, publishing in the last years several papers on these topics. He has published in journals such as the Journal of Youth Studies, Urban Education, and Journal of Political Science Education. Currently, he is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Porto, and holds a grant (SFRH/BPD/112289/2015) from the Portuguese national funding agency for science, research and technology (FCT).

Manuel Loff, Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto, Contemporary History Institute of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the Nova University of Lisbon.

PhD in History and Civilization (European Univeristy Institute, Florence), Professor at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto, Researcher at the Contemporary History Institute of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the Nova University of Lisbon.

Tiago Neves, University of Porto, Portugal Faculty of Psychology and Education Centre for Research and Intervention in Education (CIIE)

Professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the Porto University, Full member of the Centre for Research and Intervention in Education (CIIE).

Isabel Menezes, University of Porto, Portugal Faculty of Psychology and Education Centre for Research and Intervention in Education (CIIE)

Full Professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the Porto University, member of the Centre for Research and Intervention in Education (CIIE).

Published
2018-08-20