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10 January 2013  
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Education News from Around the World

  Learning and Teaching 
  • Is Finland's education achievement overrated?
    Finland is regarded internationally as a leader in education, but a new analysis finds its reputation may be exaggerated, says Tom Loveless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Results from PISA exams have been cited in news of Finland's success, but results of the recent Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study find that Finland and the US are closer in achievement. Loveless says the exams measure different types of maths achievement, with PISA focused more on real-world applications for maths. Education Week (premium article access compliments of (09 Jan.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Khan Academy continues to grow more popular
    The Khan Academy, which offers free online lessons on various topics, has grown increasingly popular among students and teachers worldwide, with 7 million students now reportedly using its resources each month. The goal is for students to learn about specific topics using the online videos, then work collaboratively and creatively in the classroom with the help of their teachers. Critics, however, say the approach is likely to work only for motivated students. ABC News (03 Jan.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • UK educators examine benefits of vertical teaching
    In this blog post by Emma Drury, an educator and Guardian Teacher Network contributing editor, educators in the United Kingdom examine the benefits of vertical teaching and how it can be implemented in other schools. Vertical teaching, in which mixed-age students are taught together, can lead to the advancement of younger students and benefit older students, who act as peer mentors, Drury suggests. Former headteacher Peter Barnard says the adoption of vertical teaching should include proper training, and schools should work to involve parents and avoid copying other schools' programmes. The Guardian (London)/Teacher Network blog (08 Jan.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Professional Leadership 
  • Gaza seeks to train Hebrew-language teachers
    Plans in Gaza to introduce Hebrew studies in high schools have created the need for additional classroom teachers. Now, the country's flagship university, Islamic University in Gaza City, has 19 students enroled in new Hebrew-language courses intended to produce qualified teachers. Ninth-grade students in 16 Gaza schools already are taking Hebrew courses, and there are plans under way to expand the language programme. National Public Radio/The Associated Press (09 Jan.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • UK educator offers guide to developing staff wellbeing
    Nigel Gann, a school governor, education consultant and school wellbeing consultant in the United Kingdom, in this commentary writes about the need to focus on the wellbeing of school staff. Among his suggestions are to focus on the full spectrum of staff when seeking to boost morale, consider the effect of staff morale on student achievement and measure staff wellbeing objectively. The Guardian (London) (04 Jan.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Regional Spotlight 
ASCD Worldwide Edition SmartBrief highlights education practices and policies in specific regions to give readers more in-depth insight into that country or region's education system. This edition focuses on Australia.

  • Australia struggles with new type of achievement gap
    In Australia, a recent study found that struggling students are improving at a higher rate than top students when teachers use data to inform teaching methods. The study examined students' performance in reading comprehension, maths and critical thinking, and researchers found that high-achieving students were not performing to the best of their abilities. Officials say that could become an issue in the country, where the government has established a goal of becoming an international leader in education. The Age (Melbourne, Australia) (10 Jan.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Australia could introduce business lessons in primary school
    Officials in Australia are considering a proposal to teach primary-school students the basics of economics and business. However, principals in the country say they are concerned the addition of more subjects could detract from other subjects already in place. Supporters say they believe the lessons in economics and business are essential to teaching students financial literacy. ABC (Australia) (09 Jan.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Reform and Research 
  • Is the rise of academies in England ill-advised?
    A recent report finds that, in some cases, academy schools in England could be using secretive methods to select students that are driving an uptick in social segregation. Amid the continued growth in the number of academies, the Academies Commission suggests that admissions data be made more widely available. "In the interests of demonstrating fairness and accessibility, the commission believes that each academy should publish comprehensive data, including socio-economic data, about who applies to it and who is admitted," the report states. BBC (10 Jan.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  ASCD News 
  • Confidence through connectedness
    "How do we enable educators to be confident in their profession? It all begins with a tweet," writes Tom Whitby. In a new ASCD EDge post, Whitby blogs about the importance of confidence -- the confidence to delve deeply into one's profession and to use technology to connect with one another. "The number of connected educators available today offers a virtual cornucopia of knowledge in almost any subject imaginable to those who are connected," he emphasises. Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Tap into solutions to today's most pressing education issues
    If you're ready to take on new standards implementation, explore thoughtful technology integration, and build your leadership skills, don't miss the professional learning event of the year. The fast-approaching ASCD 2013 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show is coming to Chicago on 16 March to 18 March, and the early bird deadline -- your chance to save [US] $100 on registration -- is 16 Jan. Read our press release to learn more.
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--Jean de la Fontaine,
French writer and poet

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