Online ISSN : 2432-096X
Print ISSN : 0286-4886
ISSN-L : 0286-4886
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The Position of Competence in German Geographical Education: Geography Curriculum Comparison between the Federal States of Germany
Hiroaki SAKAUE
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2017 Volume 72 Issue 4 Pages 209-222


Since the "PISA shock" in 2000, in which a decline in academic achievement became apparent, education in Germany has undergone reforms. Among these reforms is the introduction of competence based framework into curriculum design. Under these circumstances, the German Society of Geography proposed "Educational Standards in Geography", thereby changing the curriculum of German federal states from learning content based to competence based in nature.

This study aims to clarify the reform trends and characteristics of the revised geography curricula of German states after the PISA shock, from the viewpoint of the competence-based framework. It focuses on the geography curriculum for gymnasium, and then analyzes and compares the curriculum among 16 German states.

The results of the analysis showed that 1) Educational Standards in Geography plays a significant role in guiding the geography curriculum of federal states; 2) gymnasium geography is designed as an independent course in most states' curricula; 3) however, there is a correlation among social studies subjects utilizing the competence-based framework; and 4) most geography curricula contain cross-curricular and action competence as well as subject-specific competence.

Based on these results, the following matters must be considered for geography education in Japan. The first point concerns the ways to incorporate cross-curricula design and action competence into the curriculum, fashioning geography as among the significant areas of social studies, in particular, and school education, in general. The second is to employ new learning methods such a "problem-based learning" and "active learning", in order to provide students learning opportunities to use their competence they have acquired in geography lessons.

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