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06 December 2012  
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Education News from Around the World

  Learning and Teaching 
 
  • UK educators tout the benefits of outdoor learning
    School trips and outdoor learning opportunities have steadily declined, due in part to curriculum pressures, shrinking budgets and reluctant parents. During a recent roundtable on the subject, educators in the United Kingdom advocated for outdoor learning, citing benefits such as learning physical skills, self-confidence, developing relationships and taking risks. The Guardian (London)/Teacher Network Blog (03 Dec.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
 
  • Some schools in China launch literacy initiative
    Some Chinese schools have announced a new literacy initiative that officials say is needed to help curb the effects of students' technology habits. Now, schools have established standards for reading and writing in Chinese characters. "We want more schools and cities to join so we can promote our own language and culture and solve major problems in Chinese education," said Xu Dingbin, chief of the Wuhan Education Bureau. China Daily (Beijing)/Xinhua (03 Dec.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Philosophy club at England school gets students thinking
    A philosophy club at a school in Sussex, England, is encouraging 8- and 9-year-old students to reflect on difficult questions and exchange ideas. During recent club meetings, the Mind Explorers discussed whether they should eat pigs if the animals could talk and whether society has benefited more from the invention of the wheel or the box. The club has grown in popularity and encourages students to engage in critical thinking independent of the school curriculum. The Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model) (05 Dec.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News

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  Professional Leadership 
  • England's teachers oppose salary reforms
    Officials in England have announced changes to the way teachers are paid. Among the reforms, which have drawn opposition from teachers, is a plan to freeze the pay of struggling teachers, while those who excel are granted raises. Headteachers also would get more discretion over teachers' raises -- effectively ending national control over teachers' pay that has been in place since the 1920s. The Independent (London) (05 Dec.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  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 Japan.

  • Should Japan reform English education?
    A recent survey of parents in Japan found that almost 90% of those polled believe that English education should be improved. At issue, they say, is that English lessons offer few opportunities to speak the language and focus too little on practical skills. The survey also found that a majority of parents place a priority on their children being globally competitive. The Japan Daily Press (04 Dec.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • More students are engaged in service learning in Japan
    In Japan, a growing number of college students are engaging in service learning experiences, in which they use what they have learned in the classroom in the real-world -- and vice versa. Supporters say the experiences help students develop social skills and encourage civic engagement locally and globally. New Straits Times (Malaysia) (28 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Reform and Research 
  • When should Australia introduce sex education?
    A recent study finds that high-school students in Australia would prefer to learn about sex-education topics, such as pregnancy, in primary school. However, a separate study of primary-school teachers finds they are uncomfortable introducing such topics to Year 5 and 6 students. "Across the board they wanted information much, much earlier than they were getting it," said researcher Bernadette Duffy. "I think that they should be at least being taught about [puberty] in grade 3 and 4. Some of them wanted information so they knew what was being talked about when they got to high school." The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) (04 Dec.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
 
  • Reforms would alter language of instruction in Spain
    Regional languages no longer may be the primary languages of instruction under a proposal introduced this week in Spain that emphasises teaching in Spanish. Under the proposal, if parents want their children to be taught in Spanish, they must be offered that option -- even if it means that private classes must be offered. Opponents say they plan to protest the reforms later this month. The Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model) (05 Dec.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  ASCD News 
  • Field notes -- Shifting from textbooks to digital portals
    "Wouldn't it be nice to not have to rely on textbooks that still regard Pluto as a planet because there are still three more years until the astronomy class is eligible for a new textbook?" asks assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction Christopher J. Pellettieri. In his district, the solution was to ditch "the dinosaur that is the standard 400- to 600-page, three- to five-pound textbook" and give students access to digital portals. In his ASCD Express article, Pellettieri explains how this type of program works. Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • "It began with my 4th grade teacher, Ms. Carter ..."
    The ASCD Annual Conference is more than an opportunity to hear from the biggest names in education, it's also a chance for educators to expand professional networks and build meaningful, lasting connections. Get to know ASCD conference attendee and assistant principal Torian White in a brief clip (9th from the left) on ASCD's Annual Conference Video page. You'll hear White share the experience that sparked his interest in education and learn about his personal take on how to reach and inspire students.
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  SmartQuote 
Why always 'not yet'? Do flowers in spring say 'not yet'?"
--Norman Douglas,
British writer


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