Skills in Geography and Economics Reflected in Austria’s Newly Developed Key Concepts and Competencies for the 2023/24 Curriculum
Keywords:Skills, Areas Of Competence; Learning Goals; GeographyAnd Economics; Mixed-Method Design
The Austrian school subject Geography and Economics is taught throughout lower secondary level (grades 5 to 8). Following three subject-related didactic paradigm shifts since 1962, it has developed into an integrated, sociallyoriented subject in the social sciences tradition, and focuses on the person acting spatially and economically in social contexts. The central research question is: How can the goal of the subject of Geography and Economics, which is to enable young people to act in the "society-economy-politics-environment" framework, be pursued and supported at curricular level? In a Vienna-wide study (n = 527), assessments made of Geography and Economics teachers in respect of their teaching of the subject were collected in a triangulation design, using a questionnaire with open and closed questions. The evaluation of their responses used a mixed methodology of inductive category formation within the framework of qualitative content analysis (Mayring, 2000), as well as variance analyses and significance tests. At the centre of their teaching, teachers place the acquisition of knowledge, the human being acting in spatial, societal and economic contexts and man–environment systems, or precisely described skills; statistical correlations between teachers’ years of service and level of education become apparent. The perception of the degree of integration of the two areas of Geography and Economics depends, among other things, on the teachers’ attitude towards the economy. While the teachers’ assessment of Geography and Economics as an integrated or combined subject is appropriate, the integration in the classroom could be further developed. For the new 2023/24 curriculum, integrated competenceoriented learning objectives and integrated key concepts were generated on the empirical basis of our results, and on the basis of subject-related didactic considerations and principles. This should further deepen the integration of geography and economics perspectives and how their integration is achieved in the classroom.