Hamas might start teaching Hebrew to Gaza high-school students | Should schools in England teach sex education? | Thai students prefer to study the Chinese language
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26 April 2012
ASCD Worldwide Edition SmartBrief
An ASCD SmartBrief supplement for international members
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Learning and Teaching
Do students in England need more assessments?
In England, Education Secretary Michal Gove recently advocated for an expansion of internal assessments in schools. He said students should be tested each year -- rather than only at 11 and 16 -- to help them avoid "drifting". The push for additional assessments comes as the country is considering how to improve achievement among students, which has declined in some areas. The Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model) (24 Apr.)
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Hamas might start teaching Hebrew to Gaza high-school students
Hamas government officials have indicated they would like to start teaching modern Hebrew to Palestinian students in the the Gaza Strip. The proposal has created a potential rift between Palestinian political factions. Many Palestinians already use Hebrew, and the deputy minister of education, Muhammad Abu Zeid, said, "There shouldn't be any opposition to teaching Hebrew ..." International Business Times (23 Apr.)
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Should schools in England teach sex education?
If schools can improve students' academic achievement, students will be less likely to engage in "risky behaviour", according to England's education secretary, Michael Gove. He recently suggested that schools should focus less on teaching life skills, such as sex education, and more on character education and academics. "There is a direct correlation between how well students are doing overall academically and their propensity to fall into risky behaviour," Gove said. The Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model) (24 Apr.)
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Other News
Professional Leadership
Head teacher helps drive improvements at school in England
New head teacher Mike Eatwell is credited with helping create improvements at the St Matthias and Dr Bell's Primary School, which recently received satisfactory ratings from the government in pupil achievement, quality of teaching, among other areas. "Positive leadership and management ensure that the school's clear vision for improvement is becoming a reality," inspector Mo Roberts said. ThisIsBristol.co.uk (U.K.) (25 Apr.)
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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 New Zealand.
Spotlight on Afghanistan
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 Afghanistan.

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Girls school in Afghan mountains defies Taliban
An effort by two literate brothers to quietly teach math, reading and writing to female relatives in the mountain village of Spina, Afghanistan, has evolved into an underground school serving dozens of girls in defiance of a Taliban edict. The school is part of a shadow education system in a country where 2 million girls don't attend school, and those that do can face threats. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (24 Apr.)
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Afghanistan's new history textbooks focus on positive
New history textbooks to be distributed in Afghanistan will not include information about controversial events in the country's recent history, including the past four decades of war. Officials say they decided to focus on the positive aspects of the country's history to help avoid additional problems in society, but critics argue that the Education Ministry is attempting to rewrite history. Institute for War & Peace Reporting (20 Apr.)
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The Buzz
Math Exchanges shows K-3 teachers how to foster rich discussions in small groups and help students construct new meaning and understanding as they establish themselves as mathematicians. Includes hands-on activities, an extensive appendix with reproducibles, and a chapter focused on kindergarten. Preview the entire book online!
 
Reform and Research
Proposal would ban packed lunches in England
A celebrity in England has suggested the government prohibit students from bringing packed lunches from home in an effort to improve health. Under his proposal, healthy school meals would be provided for all students through a programme called Let's Do Lunch, in which companies would provide 1 billion in exchange for promotional opportunities. The proposal comes as some leaders are concerned that some students could lose access to free school meals. BBC (25 Apr.)
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Use of X-rays on immigrant children questioned in the UK
In the United Kingdom, Education Secretary Michael Gove is questioning the UK Border Agency's policy of using X-rays to establish children's ages, saying the practice could needlessly expose youth to radiation. The practice, reintroduced in March, is used in cases where the ages of people claiming to be children are disputed. Gove said he is seeking to find a balance between protecting the integrity of the country's borders and safeguarding children. BBC (24 Apr.)
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Educating Indian girls out of early marriage
"100% genuine girls. Young. Innocent. And available," begins the introductory message to the website of The Girl Store, a unique campaign to prevent girls in India from being being sold into marriage or sex slavery by purchasing supplies for school. Donors can buy items uniforms for $27 apiece, as well as items such as workbooks, backpacks and pencil sets. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)/India Real Time blog (24 Apr.)
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ASCD News
International educators urged to attend free Whole Child Virtual Conference
ASCD invites educators from around the globe to participate in this year's free Whole Child Virtual Conference, held from 3 May to 11 May 2012. This year's theme is "Moving from Implementation to Sustainability to Culture". During the conference, ASCD will host two international sessions, which will run for an Australasian time zone and a European time zone and will bring together experts from each region to discuss health, education, policy and a whole child approach to education around the world. Read on.

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ASCD announces the 2012 Summer Conference in St. Louis
ASCD will present its 2012 Summer Conference in St. Louis from 1 July to 3 July. This conference's more than 140 sessions will focus on the theme "Revolutionizing the Way We Teach and Learn" and will be directed by leading education experts. This year's conference will feature exciting sessions presented by leading experts on research-based, classroom-proven approaches from around the world. Learn more and register now.
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SmartQuote
There is nothing deep down inside us except what we have put there ourselves.
Richard Rorty,
American philosopher
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