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Teacher´s guide

Panoramic view of the Port
Panoramic view of the Port

The main purpose of an educational guide is to help organise the learning activities to be carried out around a specific educational pathway. In addition, it is also a teaching resource, as it aims to encourage learning among students and helps to get the most out of a visit, making certain elements more accessible (landscapes, institutions, cities, etc.). For this reason, a guide is not just a collection of possible activities. It is the result of a detailed analysis of the issues offered by the environment, a reflection of the characteristics of those people at whom the activities are aimed and an organised and respectful proposal with specific educational criteria.

We understand that including educational pathways into curriculum-based projects in schools is an excellent way of achieving contextualised, educational proposals, which in addition, help to set up a close relationship between schools and other institutions, ensuring that both benefit from this contact. Furthermore, an educational guide is an excellent way of decentralising curriculum content in that it helps to place this content in context, adapting it to the physical and organisational features of each area or region.

In our opinion, a guide is a resource that globalises curriculum content. We are all aware that very often teaching content is organised into disciplines or branches of knowledge that systematize learning, arranging it and classifying it into specific patterns, as if this were the only possible way of organising what students can learn. However, since the end of the past century, many authors have questioned this way of organising content and have looked for alternative ways of setting out meaningful relationships between the content of different sciences.

The organisation of content into disciplines certainly provides a broken and unconnected idea of reality and does not respect natural human learning methods. However, educational pathways allow a global approach to learning content organised around a point of interest, which in this case is the Port of Santander.

Finally, we hope that this guided visit of the Port of Santander is not an isolated activity, without any connection to the ordinary curriculum in schools, so we have put a lot of effort into creating a guide that links to this stage of primary education, so that the port visit can be linked to other curriculum elements for this stage.

Panoramic view of the Port
Panoramic view of the Port

The initial aim was to introduce in detail the Port of Santander. Following a number of visits to the port, a report was written to help determine the content that would form part of the guide’s basic structure.

Information was requested from the Port of Santander in terms of its experience relating to school visits. As a result of the report that was sent, we came to the conclusion that there was great interest in the Port of Santander amongst towns from the region surrounding Santander and even from towns in other autonomous regions. This information was even more significant when we considered that the Port of Santander has not advertised at all during the past few years to attract school visits.

The information collected on the Port of Santander’s experience was subsequently added to with other, similar experiences from the main Spanish ports, paying special attention to those ports where school visits had taken place or were taking place at this time with the support of educational guides. The material that was kindly sent to us by those in charge of the school programmes at other Spanish ports was very useful in the planning stage of our guide.

When writing the guide however, we previously had to decide which students it was going to be aimed at. Despite the fact that the Port of Santander offered and offers many educational possibilities for students of all ages, in the end we decided that a suitable group was students between 8 and 10 years, i.e. the second stage of primary education (3rd and 4th years). The criteria we followed for this choice were essentially based on the obligatory curriculum set out for different stages and years in the Educational Reform, on teaching practice in schools and on a number of bibliographic resources we consulted. Other materials (such as the previously mentioned materials provided by other Spanish ports) and certain articles and books on the topic also contributed greatly. An example is the plan that appears in the article by Valverde Ortega, J. A. (1995): "La ciudad como objetivo curricular específico" (The city as specific curriculum-based study). The author carries out a comparative analysis of concepts, content and facts in the curriculum relating to primary education. The author concludes that city environment content in the second stage (primary education) area of Knowledge of the Natural, Social and Cultural Environment is specified in the following way:

Blocks Possible city-based content
1. Human body
Food habits
In the city
2. Landscape Urban landscape
3. The physical environment No content
4. Living beings In the surrounding area
5. Materials & their properties No content
6. The city & human activities All content could be related to the urban environment
7. Machines & apparatus In the city
8. Social organisation In the city
9. Means, communication & transport In the city
10. Historical change & recent history No content
11. Lifestyles & historic landscapes In the city

"La ciudad como objetivo curricular específico" (The city as specific curriculum-based study)
Author: José Ángel Valverde
Article published in:
DIDÁCTICA DE LAS CIENCIAS SOCIALES, GEOGRAFÍA E HISTÓRIA, no.3 (January 1995), pages 34-46. This content of this article confirms that we were correct to choose the second stage of primary education as the group at which to aim an educational guide on the Port of Santander. This does not mean however that certain ideas in this guide cannot be adapted and used with students in other educational stages or years.

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