Learning Change

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Archive for the ‘Educational system’ Category

Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?

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Finnish Lessons is a first-hand, comprehensive account of how Finland built a world-class education system during the past three decades. The author, Pasi Sahlber,  traces the evolution of education policies in Finland and highlights how they differ from the United States and other industrialized countries. He shows how, rather than relying on competition, choice, and external testing of students, education reforms in Finland focus on professionalizing teachers’ work, developing instructional leadership in schools, and enhancing trust in teachers and schools. This book details the complexity of educational change and encourages educators and policymakers to develop effective solutions for their own districts and schools. It is now time to break down the ideology of exceptionalism in the United States and other Anglo-American nations, if we are to develop reforms that will truly inspire our students, especially those who struggle the most.

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Read also:

Finland’s Success Is No Miracle

Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful?

Kindergarten and Finnish Lessons

The Children Must Play

26 Amazing Facts About Finland’s Unorthodox Education System

The Finland Phenomenon

Read also some previous posts:

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success

Finland – Slow and Steady Reform for Consistently High Results

Written by learningchange

02/04/2012 at 13:00

Goldman Sachs foray into Higher Education – A Predatory Pursuit of Students and Revenues

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Just as the subprime mortgage bubble was giving way to a bust that would help trigger a devastating financial crisis, Goldman Sachs, a firm that had been at the center of Wall Street’s rampant mortgage speculation, found its way to a new area of explosive growth: In claiming what would eventually become a 41 percent stake in Education Management Corp., Goldman secured itself a means of tapping into the boom in for-profit higher education. The federal government was boosting aid to college students nationwide, just as a declining economy prompted millions of Americans to seek refuge in higher education, leading to dramatically expanding enrollments at many institutions.

But unlike in the mortgage markets, where some unwise or unlucky investor got saddled with the bad loans after the festivities ended and home prices fell, this new market in higher education boasted seemingly unlimited growth potential at virtually zero risk. The burden of college loan repayment falls entirely on students’ backs, shielding corporations from the consequences of default. The colleges essentially receive all their revenues upfront, primarily through federal government loans and grants for tuition, regardless of whether students are able to gain employment and pay back their loans.

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Written by learningchange

14/10/2011 at 14:17

Desescolarizarse para aprender

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Estos últimos meses a lo largo de todo Chile ha quedado de manifiesto un generalizado descontento por parte de todos los actores sociales, quienes han salido innumerables veces a protestar y manifestarse exigiendo una educación de calidad, laica y gratuita. Pero seamos realistas ¿Para qué queremos una educación de calidad?, ¿Para ser domesticados con mayor calidad? Querámoslo o no, la educación siempre ha sido un arma de domesticación del Estado, es decir, siempre ha sido un medio por el cual una sociedad legitima y reproduce el modelo social imperante. Primero, hay que aclarar que no existe algo como “escuela pública”, lo que hay es escuela estatal. Y la escuela estatal tiene la finalidad de educar para su sistema. Es autoritaria, represora, memorista, discriminativa, individualista; es decir instruye y educa para construir un tipo de persona, la misma que necesita para mantener este sistema social caótico y deshumanizado; perpetuar el capitalismo, mantener las clases sociales y todas sus formas de represión.

Es así como surge la real necesidad de crear y construir nuestro propio espacio y nuestra propia enseñanza, desligándonos de toda institucionalidad y siendo un ente autónomo, el cual lleva por nombre “Escuelitas Libres”. Las escuelitas libres han existido y existirán en muchas partes del mundo, a lo largo de nuestro país existen muchos proyectos populares que siguen ese lineamiento. A diferencia de la educación tradicional, en las escuelitas libres se trata de crear un espacio de libertad, en donde las personas se vayan construyendo sobre los valores que nacen al ser uno. Ser consciente, comprender, crítico y obrar adecuadamente, este es su objetivo. Construir un mundo más humano y más libre por medio de vivir y aprender a vivir en libertad es su fin. Practicar la igualdad, la solidaridad, el apoyo mutuo, el respeto y la justicia; estos son sus hechos. Todo esto se intenta llevar a cabo sin que entre en juego la autoridad, los premios, los castigos o exámenes, donde se trabaja de forma vivencial y experimental, es decir, donde el aprendizaje se ve como un proceso colectivo y crítico.

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Written by learningchange

09/10/2011 at 15:33

Education: Our True Homeland Security

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Today’s students see education as a means to an end, the end being a respectable job with decent pay and benefits. And who can blame them? With the national unemployment rate at 9.1 percent (a percentage that doesn’t include part-timers seeking full-time employment and those unemployed who have simply given up looking for jobs), students are understandably worried about career prospects. Many college students are also worried about paying back their student loans; operating under such financial pressure, a focus on salary and the possibility of pay raises and promotions is hardly surprising.

How about stimulating and facilitating a lifelong pursuit of fresh ideas and innovative solutions to national and global challenges? There are, of course, sound and practical reasons for such a pursuit, such as maintaining our economic competitiveness. A critical and learned citizenry, after all, is the very foundation for an active, informed and humane democratic process: one that both celebrates and safeguards our constitutional rights and liberties. Homeland security, indeed.

Written by learningchange

12/09/2011 at 08:50

All-round education for life – a “truly outstanding school” in one of the highest performing education systems in the world

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Hong Kong-China is one of the leading performers in the OECD PISA survey. It’s in the top 4 for reading, mathematics and science along with Shanghai-China, Korea and Finland, (while the UK’s results are in line with the OECD average – some way behind). I wanted to explore for myself what a high-performing school in Hong Kong is like. I was directed to St Paul’s Convent School in Causeway Bay which has achieved the highest value-added results in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination for the past 10 years and was described as “truly an outstanding school, excelling in all four domains of school work” in its Comprehensive Review report.

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Written by learningchange

30/06/2011 at 12:40

Youth in Revolt

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One great irony of the youth-led revolt in the Arab world is that the two shining successes, Tunisia and Egypt, were previously stellar examples of neoliberal policy.

Another factor in youth protest in the West, beyond the systemic lack of work, is the question of access to and quality of higher education. Coy writes, “In the most-developed nations, the job market has split between high-paying jobs that many workers aren’t qualified for and low-paying jobs that they can’t live on.” More funding and opportunities for higher education might address the gap, but government policy in Europe and North America points in the opposite direction. Political elites are imposing austerity and neoliberal reforms to make the young, like working people, pay for a crisis they did not cause. The rich get bailouts designed to rescue the value of stocks and bonds, and youth get much higher tuition fees for an education that is declining in quality as budget cuts take a bite.

Written by learningchange

10/06/2011 at 22:18

Interactive teaching methods engage students – Lectures obsolete

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The students learned more than twice as much in the new “interactive” classes than they did in the lectures by the tenured prof with more than 30 years of experience, according to a report on the experiment to be published in the journal Science on Friday. The study, which has prompted UBC to completely revamp its giant first-year physics classes, suggests that academics have a lot to learn about effective teaching. Wieman says it is “high time” to abandon long lectures and PowerPoint presentations in favour of more lively, stimulating interactive classes.

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Written by learningchange

26/05/2011 at 11:46

Invisible Learning – Toward a new ecology of education

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“The proposed invisible learning concept is the result of several years of research and work to integrate diverse perspectives on a new paradigm of learning and human capital development that is especially relevant in the context of the 21st century. This view takes into account the impact of technological advances and changes in formal, non-formal, and informal education, in addition to the ‘fuzzy’ metaspaces in between. Within this approach, we explore a panorama of options for future development of education that is relevant today. Invisible Learning does not propose a theory, but rather establishes a metatheory capable of integrating different ideas and perspectives. This has been described as a protoparadigm, which is still in the ‘beta’ stage of construction.”

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Written by learningchange

16/05/2011 at 11:24

Blended Learning: The Best of Both Worlds

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This 28-page US report examines today’s digital and online offerings for public school students in Colorado, and discusses the importance of implementing a shift to a blended model of learning that combines face to face, online and digital learning. The purpose of this paper is to share where our state is today in terms of its digital and online offerings for public school students, discuss why a shift to a blended model of learning that combines face to face, online and digital learning, is an important next move for Colorado, and provide policy direction and innovative ideas to consider as the leaders of our state grapple with how to expand student access to quality online and digital learning. The first part of the paper provides an overview of the current environment in Colorado for digital learning: how many students currently utilize online learning at some capacity, the options that exist, the quality of current online offerings, and some of the strengths and challenges of Colorado’s current system for delivering content to students online. The second section identifies emergent opportunities for Colorado in the areas of blended and online learning. The final section presents policy recommendations and identifies next steps for our state to move our public schools further into the digital age.

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Written by learningchange

13/03/2011 at 18:11

The Pitfalls of Putting Economists in Charge of Education

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The Pitfalls of Putting Economists in Charge Of Education

The issue of our day is: How do we measure teacher effectiveness? Most of the studies by economists warn that there is a significant margin of error in “value-added assessment” (VAA) or “value-added modeling” (VAM). The basic idea of VAA is that teacher quality can be measured by the test-score gains of their students. Proponents of VAA see it as the best way to identify teachers who should get merit pay and teachers who should be fired. Critics say that the method is too flawed to use for high-stakes purposes such as these.

The bulk of studies warn about the inaccuracy and instability of these measures, but the Gates Foundation recently released a study called “Measures of Effective Teaching” that supports the use of VAA and VAM. As is customary for the Gates Foundation, it hired an impressive list of economists at institutions across the nation to give the gloss of authority to its work. Among its key findings was this one: “Teachers with high value-added on state tests tend to promote deeper conceptual understanding as well.” Ah, said the proponents of measuring teacher quality by the rise and fall of student test scores, this study vindicates these methods and effectively counters all those cautionary warnings.

Written by learningchange

18/01/2011 at 13:01

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