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Around the world: Education reforms in South Asia, Singapore, Sierra Leone and Ireland

23 October 2014

Minnesota Public Radio posts a column by Nsikan Akpan connecting Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize to a discussion of successes and failures in expanding educational opportunities for girls and for the poor around the world, mainly in South Asia. (But the United States gets an F: “No Child Left Behind has not worked. In fact, it’s failed.” Read it here. What do you think?

My last post linked to an article about Finland; another country often raised as an ideal system is Singapore. Cathie Norris and Elliot Soloway post a dialogue on THE Journal about education in Singapore. The page is a bit of a promotion for their newsletter, but the information they provide is interesting and worth looking in to: “Singapore’s MasterPlan 3 explicitly states that pedagogy must move from direct instruction, with its focus on content testing, to inquiry-based ….” Read it here.

Probably the view of Africa by most Americans imagines it as disconnected and isolated from the modern world, and the portrayal of the Ebola crisis isn’t helping change that view. This article might: Silicon Republic reports on schools in Sierra Leone using various forms of distance learning to keep children learning if they attend schools closed due to the outbreak of the deadly virus. Read it here.

One of the things that stuck with me from the presentations at our Broward Global Education Symposium in March was the importance of students learning the so-called “soft skills” of teamwork, empathy, and grit, along with the Common Core standards and technology skills. Here’s an article from the Irish Times about a movement at primary schools in Ireland to help students develop those “soft” skills. To supplement this piece, here is an article from the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development about how to set up collaborative learning in your classroom.

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