Evaluation of a Cross-Thematic Curricular Innovation: Teachers Attitudes and the Flexible Zone (FZ)

By Eleni Karatzia-Stavlioti and Stamatis Alahiotis.

Published by The Learner Collection

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A curriculum reform took place in Greece, in 2003, introducing the cross-thematic approach to learning (Alahiotis&Karatzia-Stavlioti,2006); on the basis of this new curriculum, educational material for all subjects has been produced and gradually introduced in schools. One of the main relative innovations in the Cross-Thematic Curriculum (CTC) is the Flexible Zone (FZ), a time zone of 2-4 teaching periods within which pupils and teachers are free to materialize projects and activities with themes of their interest using participatory and cooperative methodologies. In order to evaluate the pedagogic effectiveness of the FZ, an empirical research has been designed and applied. Considering that the teachers beliefs and attitudes towards this innovation could be a very important input for the assessment of the FZ effectiveness, we formatted and validated a Likert type attitude measurement tool, followed by item analysis (ANOVA), as well as other statistical analysis based on relevant questionnaire data. Statistical analysis of 101 random sample teacher questionnaires, shows that the majority of the participant had favorable attitudes towards the FZ, with the Attitude Scale Scores (ASS) ranging in the upper quartile of the normal distribution (mean 82,9±6,09, expected mean= 48). Sample characteristics such as gender, years of experience, type of in-service training, years of the FZ implementation etc., were found to be statistically significant and may be used to draw conclusions on the most effective ways of curriculum innovation dissemination and in-service training; issues that could be useful and to a certain extent informative on the effectiveness of other educational innovations. The general results, apart from the fact that they are indicative of the teachers’ positive stance, are already being used for a further, larger and deeper investigation of the theme of the FZ assessment through, for example, evaluating the students’ attitudes towards this curriculum change.

Keywords: Evaluation, Curriculum Innovation, Flexible Zone, Cross-Thematic Approach, Teachers' Attitudes

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp.267-276. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 577.937KB).

Eleni Karatzia-Stavlioti

Assistant Professor, Department of Primary Education, Fuculty of Sociology and Educational Policy, University of Patras, Patras, Achaia, Greece

Eleni Karatzia-Stavlioti is Assistant Professor in the Department of Elementary Education, University of Patras, teaching “Educational Evaluation, Effectiveness and Quality in Education”. She is also former Counselor of the Hellenic Pedagogical Institute (HPI) and vice-President of the HPI Department of Quality in Education.

Prof. Stamatis Alahiotis

Professor of Genetics, Department of Biology, University of Patras, Patras, Achaia, Greece

Stamatis Alahiotis is Professor of Genetics in the Department of Biology, University of Patras. He is former Rector of the University of Patras, Head of the Biology Department, President of the HPI and President of the HPI Quality in Education Department.


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