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15 November 2012  
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Education News from Around the World

  Learning and Teaching 
  • Swedish school blurs gender lines
    A preschool in Sweden does not address students using the pronouns "him" or "her," instead calling them "friends" or using a gender-neutral term. Students also are not encouraged to embrace traditional gender roles, such as girls playing with dolls. Despite its popularity among teachers and parents, the method has drawn some criticism from those who say the school is seeking to reverse traditional gender roles. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (13 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • England could pen new chapter for handwriting lessons
    In response to the rise in texting among students, officials in England are proposing a draft secondary-school curriculum that reintroduces an emphasis on handwriting instruction. The draft standards would require students to be able to write accurate business and personal letters by hand and in upper grades "increase the range of their writing" and use "accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar." The Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model) (14 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Schools in Israel adopt literacy-focused teaching method
    Schools in Israel have adopted a teaching method pioneered in the US in which they focus on teaching reading and writing to improve literacy. In such classrooms, teachers promote reading by stocking classroom libraries and dividing material by reading level. Students are assigned to a particular level. "We believe that children will learn to read by reading and by discussing and writing about a text," said Shanna Schwartz, who coaches teachers in the instructional method. The Jerusalem Post (free registration) (13 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Professional Leadership 
  • Should Britain hire headteachers without teaching experience?
    In this article, journalist Nick Morrison considers whether headteachers in Britain must have been teachers first to be effective. While some say headteachers should have the industry experience that comes from being a classroom teacher, others disagree. They say that headteachers can gain such knowledge through classroom observations and time. They say it is important that school leadership teams include someone with teaching experience -- but it does not have to be the head. The Guardian (London) (12 Nov.) 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 Ontario, Canada.

  • Middle-school transition in Ontario harms students' scores
    A recent study of schools in Ontario, Canada, found that students who switch schools after primary school and enrol in a middle school perform worse than their peers who remain in the same school. The study, from the C.D. Howe Institute in Ontario, based the findings on students' achievement on the Education Quality and Accountability Office exams in years 9 and 10. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (tiered subscription model) (14 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Ontario school offers teens with ASD a "safe" place
    Educators at Streetsville Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, credit a programme that gives students with autism spectrum disorders, a "safe" space with its inclusion success. Called Room 150, the programme uses a series of interconnected rooms that offer students space to socialize, find a quiet place to complete class assignments and calm down when something overwhelms them. Students in the programme are expected to complete the same coursework and pass the same standardised tests as their peers. The Toronto Star (12 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Traditional history instruction doesn't work. "Why Won't You Just Tell Us the Answer?" shows teachers how to move beyond just lectures and textbooks toward a more question-centered approach that fosters historical thinking and leaves a lasting impact. Includes 6 sample American history units. Preview the entire book online!

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  Reform and Research 
  • Why foreign-language education should be a priority in Australia
    Australia must move beyond rhetoric and policymaking to ensure that more students are learning foreign languages in school, associate professor Ken Cruickshank writes in this opinion article. "In Australia, only 12 per cent of students take a language in year 12 compared with 50 per cent in the US and Britain. In the rest of the world, language study is the norm," he writes. Among other things, Cruickshank suggests the government provide funding for language education, while also improving training and accreditation for teachers. The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) (12 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASCD News 
  • Eight questions for 2012 Emerging Leader Daina Lieberman
    Get to know Daina Lieberman -- her education philosophy, how she hopes to positively influence education, and what a day in her life looks like -- in a recent Inservice post. Here, Lieberman answers eight questions that offer insight into her life as an educator and an Emerging Leader, among those are, "What's the craziest thing a student has ever said to you?" and "Why did you become an educator?" Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Teaching flash fiction: A novel in six words
    Can a story only six words long be complete -- and compelling? In a recent blog post, ASCD EDge community member Ryan Thomas shares an example that suggests it most certainly can be. More importantly, he writes, there's a lesson in all this that you can take and apply toward a classroom activity, an activity that will teach students the "rhetorical power of a strong, economical sentence/story/paragraph." Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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--Marie Curie,
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