Collaboration between teachers' associations on the curriculum design of Essential Learning in Portugal

Sílvia de Almeida, Joana Viana, Natália Barcelos, Maria do Céu Roldão, Helena Peralta

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The invitation extended in 2016 by the Portuguese Ministry of Education to the teachers’ associations (TAs) to participate in the process of defining the Essential Learning (EL) was unprecedented.
In this chapter, we intend to explore the dynamics of interaction between TAs in the same subject area and identify the activities performed and the outputs produced by the TAs during the process. The study’s methodology consisted of a social network analysis, which allowed us to detect the structure of social relationships and interaction patterns and represent them graphically. We prepared a network analysis questionnaire applied to the eighteen TAs that participated in the elaboration of the EL. The application of focus groups confirmed the answers. For the graphical representation, we used Gephi 0.9.2. The results show that collaboration in the elaboration of the EL occurred mainly within the teams of the various associations, which shows that the teachers (that comprise the TAs) still have few habits of collaboration with each other, particularly regarding curricu lum design. While drafting the EL, TAs used a variety of curriculum reference documents produced in Portugal over the course of thirty years – this was also an inhibiting factor for collaboration. Looking at the activities developed by the TAs, it was clear that there was little discussion on pedagogical practices, the theoretical literature on the subject and on curriculum/curriculum design, as well as a scarcity of pedagogical products.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurriculum autonomy policies
Subtitle of host publicationinternational trends, tensions and transformations
EditorsSílvia de Almeida, Francisco Sousa, Maria Figueiredo
Place of PublicationLisbon
PublisherCICS.NOVA - Interdisciplinary Centre of Social Sciences, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, NOVA University Lisbon
Number of pages35
ISBN (Print)978-989-97344-6-3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Collaboration
  • Essential learning
  • Curriculum autonomy policies
  • Curriculum design
  • Teachers’ associations


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