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19 February 2013  
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Education News from Around the World

  Learning and Teaching 
  • How one teacher in England encourages abstract learning
    Sian Carter, an English lead practitioner at The Mountbatten School in Hampshire, England, uses innovative techniques to prepare her students to perform well on exams. In her classroom, rap music, dance and graffiti are teaching tools. "I hadn't just taught language analysis," she writes. "By making students learn and complete tasks in a totally different, abstract, way students learnt to think in an abstract way." The Guardian (London)/Teacher Network blog (18 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Is International Baccalaureate worth the work?
    Students and teachers at St. Clare's School in Oxford, UK, describe the International Baccalaureate Program as challenging, as they grow as students and develop relationships. Throughout the courses, students learn to take risks, work collaboratively in groups and communicate their ideas. "Being willing to voice your opinions and participate may be intimidating at first. The benefit is that you're forced to challenge what you think," teacher Sarah Jinks said. The Independent (London) (14 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Professional Leadership 
  • Education workers in England plan strike over job losses
    Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union in England have supported a plan to go on strike following news that Education Secretary Michael Gove intends to cut 1,000 jobs -- about 25% of the department. Opponents, however, say the cuts are politically motivated and are a precursor to cuts across other government agencies. The Independent (London) (18 Feb.) 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 India.

  • Indian state seeks to provide Wi-Fi Internet for schools
    Work soon will be under way in Kerala, India, to provide free Wi-Fi to all government and government-aided schools in the state, as well as some private schools. Officials say they are waiting for funding approval before launching the project and intend to have appropriate safeguards in place to protect students from potentially harmful content. The Times of India (18 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Do contractual teachers harm achievement in India?
    In this commentary, V.K. Madhavan, who has worked in the nonprofit sector for two decades, writes about the criticism of schools' reliance on para-teachers in certain parts of the country. Such teachers -- also known as contractual teachers -- are opposed by the teachers union and others over complaints they do not benefit students, he writes. Data, however, show there may not be a difference in student achievement in schools with para-teachers, he notes. Wall Street Journal (India) (18 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Technology makes teachers, testing more accessible in India
    In Tamil Nadu, India, a growing number of schools have adopted online testing, in which students access exams and receive feedback digitally. In addition, one secondary-school biology teacher said he has been text-messaging questions to students to test their proficiency. Other teachers say they are using technology to answer students' questions and provide additional support to them during exam time. The Times of India (17 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Poetry Mentor Texts shows you how to leverage students' natural love of poetry to strengthen reading as well as writing. Each chapter features 5 mentor poems that focus on student-friendly forms such as the list poem, acrostic poem, and poem for two voices. Student samples and mini-lessons help translate the ideas into your classroom. Click here now to preview the entire book!

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  Reform and Research 
  • Should schools in Canada adopt a 4-day week?
    A school board in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is considering whether to reduce the school week to four days in order to add a day each week for teachers' professional development and help cut transportation costs and other expenses. Under the proposal, students still would receive the same number of instructional hours. If approved, the board would join neighbouring schools that also have adopted innovative schedules, such as year-round schooling. National Post (Canada) (18 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Should England invest in stronger Wi-Fi for schools?
    Fully accessible Wi-Fi Internet is necessary for schools to successfully adopt digital learning, says Valerie Thompson of the E-Learning Foundation -- a feat accomplished by only about one quarter of schools in England, surveys show. A spokeswoman for the Education Department said all new schools meet the "highest standards for wireless access," while headteachers at existing schools are tasked with determining the extent of Wi-Fi access on their campuses. BBC (19 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASCD News 
  • Read between the lines of your favourite ASCD books
    The ASCD Talks with an Author interview series aims to connect educators with the insights and discussions most relevant to you. In these talks, authors explore the most provocative aspects of their books and share insights about their work. Recent interviews feature Eleanor Dougherty, author of "Assignments Matter," as well as Yvette Jackson and Veronica McDermott, authors of "Aim High, Achieve More." Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Take advantage of all that ASCD has to offer
    Join ASCD to access our many professional-development products, resources and events and become a member of our community. ASCD membership plans come in print/online and online-only format, and range from student to premium. All members receive access to our online library; Educational Leadership, our flagship publication; and the Education Update and ASCD Express newsletters. We also offer member books, member prices on resources and meetings, the Policy Priorities newsletter, and more. Join today. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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